What is Qi?
Qi (pronounced chē) can be interpreted many different ways depending on the context in which it is being used. It is incorporated in many aspects of Chinese Culture. For example, Qi as it is referred to in Chinese calligraphy, could be said to refer to the calligrapher’s intention, feelings, or insight at that moment which “the Qi” flowed from the artist into the characters to make them become “living”. This transfer of Qi then gives the characters themselves the ability to express emotion and touch the people who look at them at a different time or space.
In Feng Shui, Qi could mean the “atmosphere” created by the surrounding environment. This often includes the walls, the building, natural settings like rivers or mountains, roads, certain directions etc. For example, some rooms or natural settings (a lake for example) can make people feel peaceful once you walk into or near them.
In interpersonal relations, “QI” could mean the “feeling” created between or among people. In other words, it is how a person comes across, or presents themselves to others. For example, sometimes it is easy to feel the characteristics of the people around you. Are they coming across as healthy or diseased, honest or dishonest, humble or proud, and so on? “People” in this example can be replaced with other objects as well. A thousand year old tree, for instance, can bring about a sense of calm to people due to its age, or “experience”.
In traditional Chinese medicine, “Qi” refers to a “vital material” which has a deep influence on an individual’s energy, will, immune system, and mind and body health. For example, you are more susceptible to disease when you are exhausted, and when you are exhausted your “Qi” is weaker than usual. You might also become anxious easier when you under stress; this is due to the fact that stress causes instability in “Qi”.
What is Qi Gong?
There are ways to cultivate and improve “Qi flow” in your life. In sticking with the examples above, here are some ways to improve Qi.
- In calligraphy, you can cultivate your Qi through years of practice.
- In Feng Shui, you can change the Qi by changing the layout of a room. Even simple changes, like new paint colors, replacing pictures or art, can have an effect on the Qi of a room.
- In interpersonal relations, you can change your personal Qi through such activities as reading books, listening to music, taking a class, relaxing more often, and increasing life experiences, to name just a few.
- In traditional Chinese medicine, you can strength your Qi through regular exercise, life-style improvements, healthy eating, meditating, and practicing Qi Gong.
Every person is born to this earth possessing their own Qi. There are differences in Qi however, from person to person. Some peoples’ Qi might be stronger; others’ Qi might be weaker; some peoples’ Qi might be able to circulate smoother than others. The bottom line however, is that everyone has their own Qi found within.
So what makes Qi different from person to person? There are many factors that might explain this, but for sake of argument we will break these factors down between two major categories: “pre-heaven” and “post-heaven”. The term “pre-heaven” is used to describe the factors in play before you were born. For example, your Qi at birth will be affected by your parent’s age or their health status at conception, the environment or lifestyle your mother was living in, the food she was eating during pregnancy, as well as the gene pool from which you were born. “Post-heaven”, on the other hand, refers to factors after birth. For example, the food you eat, the environment or lifestyle you live in, accidents and injuries that have occurred, any trauma that has occurred, as well as any positive steps you have undertaken like meditation or the practice of Qi Gong.
The term “Qi Gong” usually refers to a systematic practice done to help one cultivate and strengthen their Qi. This “practice” helps to improve the circulation of Qi inside your body. There are different types of Qi Gong practice, or to be more accurate, one might say there are different levels of practice. Qi Gong practices for cultivating and moving Qi are done through breathing techniques, meditation practice, the use of imagination, or a guiding technique via body posture and movement. Usually these systems and practices are created from the experience and the understanding of the Qi. Some methods might have existed for thousands of years already, while some methods might have come about or have been slightly modified within just the past one hundred years.
Qi Gong Meditation Class - An overview
There are different stages of Qi Gong practices at Tai Chi Acupuncture & Wellness Center. The system of our Qi Gong practice is primarily based on Cheng Man Ching’s internal Tai Chi practice, but modified by C.K. Chen and Median Chen, based on their continuous quest for a deeper understanding of Dao philosophy and deeper experience of the Qi. At this moment, we offer basic Qi Gong Meditation Class at the Center. A brief class description is listed below:
The basic Qi Gong Meditation Class (12 sessions)
The goal of our basic Qi Gong Meditation Class is to help you relax the pathways for the Qi circulation, to enable the clearing and settling down of your mind, and to start cultivating and strengthening your Qi. It is a very general class for anyone who is interested in Qi Gong. It is also designed to benefit people who have a weakened body constitution or immune system, for those suffering from a chronic illness, or people living with high stress. In addition to learning the basic Qi Gong practice, we will also share some oriental philosophy in each session to help you understand more about the Dao, which is important for your Qi Gong practice in the future.