Just what is Qi Gong?
I'm frequently asked specifically how I came to be an acupuncturist and to research Chinese Medicine as an occupation. The easy response is: I wanted to find out more about Qi. Qi (often spelled Chi-pronounced Chee) indicates power and Gong recommends study, so therefore, Qi Gong is the “study of power”.
Exactly what is Qi?
Qi is the energy that stimulates our body, gains nutrients from food for sustenance, permits us to move and also take a breath, and also buoys our spirit. I have a BA in Philosophy, with a concentration in Eastern Thought – particularly Zen, Buddhist and Hindu practices. But he was mostly Taoism (the Chinese Philosophy on how to live in tune with Nature) that sparked my interest.
In 1991, I bought the book, The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity, by Daniel Reid This became a seminal book in my life and a turning point where I not only studied these philosophies, but I began to live them. I began to practice Tai Chi Chuan, and performing energy-based meditations. As my studies became practice, I began to realize that the basis of the whole system – from the meridians in acupuncture, herbs and massage used in Chinese Medicine, to the more esoteric spiritual practices – was based on this idea called Qi.
Three types of Qi Gong
There are three types of Qi Gong: medical, martial and spiritual.
The medical can be used as exercises to prevent disease and promote longevity, or for specific exercises to treat diseases, almost like the way we might see a physical therapist here in the west.
Tai Chi Chuan is a Qi Gong practice that is a martial art; we have punches, kicks and postures that can all be used for both offensive or defensive applications.
The spiritual Qi Gong is a system to tap into our potential and raise our consciousness and even obtain enlightenment.
After practicing the spiritual and martial Qi Gong, I decided I wanted to learn more about this Qi works in the body, and in 1997 moved to San Diego, California, to begin studying Chinese Medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. It was here that I really began to learn about this wonder called Qi.
The mind and body are connected
To the Chinese, we are not a body that has energy – we are energy that has a body ! It is interesting that western medicine is based on Newtonian Physics which looks at the body like a machine, but Chinese medicine is based more on Quantum Physics that states that when matter is broken down to its smallest components (Quanta) all that is there is energy . Only now is western medicine starting to understand that the mind and body are connected, but that philosophy is an under fact in Chinese medicine.
With Qi Gong exercises, we can not only work on the body for health, but work on calming and centering the mind, releasing stored negative energy and tapping into the deepest parts of our psyche and spirit. When our energy is abundant we will have more health, feel better, be happier and be able to help others. Is it any wonder I was so interested in finding out more about Qi? If everything is energy, that makes Qi Gong one of the most important practices we can embark on to plug in, recharge and energize our lives! It is my personal belief we should all have a practice to help us tap into our authentic selves and Qi Gong can be a tool to open the door to miraculous wonders.