by Autumn Compton
Over the past few decades, the Western world has increasingly become aware of the concept of Qi (pronounced Chee), but many people still don’t know exactly what it is.
Qi is commonly translated as energy, or life force. It’s an active principle forming a part of any living thing, so it’s all around us, and within us. Qi Gong (pronounced gung, meaning accomplishment or skill cultivated through steady practice) is the ancient practice, rooted in Chinese Taoist culture, of working with this life force with awareness and skill.
Qi Gong consists of the integration of physical postures, gentle movements, self massage, tapping, focused breathing and intention to cultivate energy, awareness and vitality. There are different forms of Qi Gong that have evolved and been passed down through generations that vary from the soft internal Tai Chi to more vigorous external styles such as Kung Fu. Qi Gong can empower one to understand, live in balance with, and even harness the natural expression of energy around us and within us.
Cultivating a daily Qi Gong practice is an excellent way to take direct responsibility for one’s own health and well being. The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qi Gong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions. Western scientific research confirms that Qi Gong reduces hypertension and the incidence of falling in the aging population. One of the most important long-term effects of a consistent practice is that it reestablishes the body-mind connection, thereby empowering through self awareness.
Want to learn more?
Check out this link to the National Qi Gong Association’s website if you would like to read more medical studies about Qi Gong: http://nqa.org/resources/articles/
Join Autumn every Saturday at Yoga Center of Minneapolis, downtown location, for
Qi Gong – 9:30-10:30 am. Open to all levels – wear comfortable clothing you can move in.