This blog post was first published in December 2013. It has been updated with tidbits of how to connect with this element and it’s associations, and enhanced with another reflective video at the end. Water is the first of the … Continue reading
“To study and at times practice what one has learned, is that not a pleasure?” -Confucius
Qi (pronounced CH-EE) is the Chinese word for “life force or life energy”. It is the inherent power that flows through all living things, including inanimate objects like mountains and rocks. For humans, having healthy Qi involves having an abundance of vitality but also having the Qi flow smoothly and unimpeded through ones body.
Gong is translated as “work”, but not with a solely negative connotation as modern society often uses the duality of “work vs play”. Gong here relates to the benefits gained through continuous practice; I like to say “the pleasure of focused attention”.
So Qi Gong means working with life energy, learning how to control the flow of qi in body, mind, and spirit to improve health and wellbeing.
My earliest exposure to the practice of Qi Gong was from my father. I was living in Honduras, so I was in middle school. I’m not sure what prompted him to teach me some of these ancient Chinese techniques, but I clearly remember the core lessons: horse stance, the importance of both feet feeling stable and connected to the ground, resting the tip of the tongue on the top palate to connect the body’s energy line from tailbone to head, and correct posture for proper flow of Qi. I remember liking the lessons even then.
It is no surprise, looking back now, that I have made Chinese medicine my practice and my life, of which Qi Gong and the understanding of Qi is a bit part of. That was over 20 years ago and I’m still practicing the basics, as well as having learned a lot of other fun Qi Gong exercises that I look forward to sharing in class.
Reflection from student in the spring 2015 series: “I really am glad i was able to get a nice foundation in the Qi Gong. It was such a nice way to fully shift out of the work day. Sometimes I stay in work mode, so I really noticed the difference from how I felt when walking in vs. leaving. I taught it to my mom this weekend and hope to do some videos for her so she can remember.”