Qi Gong : 气功
Qi Gong is an exercise practice involving the coordination of physical movements and stretches, respiration, mindfullness, and relaxation on a complete and whole-self level. It is difficult to assign one word to accurately and culturally translate the word Qi, however looking at the traditional character 氣 we can see where the simplified character obtained the multiple meanings of air, force, the action and evidence of steaming a pot of rice. In the traditional character the lower part 米 is a pictograph of rice which serves as the meaning, and the upper part 气 is a pictograph of steam rising which serves as the sound for the character. So from this we can deduce that culturally, the word Qi is vaporproduced when cooking rice, it is the force created when adding heat to food, it is the cultivated energy which births from heat, water and nutrients, it is both the kinestetic and potential energy of all forms of life. Gong 功 is definitely a lot easier to define, and is often said to equate to work, power and achievement. The left-side of the character 工 is a pictograph of a carpenter’s square signifying work and provides the sound of the character, while the right-side of the character 力 is a pictograph of a plow signifying a tool that requires power and skill to use. Together, and simply put, gong is the internal work and power we have as humans.
Now, what is Qi Gong? Oh right, it is the practice of cultivating the power; kinestetic and potential, into internal work for all beings. So, with bodily movements, stretches, flexion and relaxation along with the breath and mind, we can cultivate our own internal power. In layman’s terms, we can actually help our bodies heal, find balance, and achieve optimal physical and emotional health by practicing Qi Gong. Here are some photos of me guiding some friends who are new comers to Qi Gong. And look we are wearing normal clothes! (hint: anyone can do qi gong, any place, for any duration of time, even while at work and even while wearing work clothes)
Qi Gong is a great exercise for both preventive and prophylactic care. People in China practice Qi Gong everyday to help keep their bodies strong, active and fluid. People do Qi Gong while flying on an airplane in order to help their bodies’ circulation and internal clocks. People do Qi Gong to manage stress, hormone imbalances, anxiety, bad-temper, and so on. People do Qi Gong to help them build better relationships with their loved ones and the people in their day to day lives. People do Qi Gong to recover from long-term or chronic illnesses such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, addiction, PTSD, arthritis, obesity, etc. Qi Gong is a practice with endless possibility, and it all starts with some dedication to one’s body, even a few minutes out of the hustle and bustle of a 16 hour waking day, one can practice Qi Gong and engage actively in self-care and healing. One does not need to be really talented or extremely fit to do Qi Gong. One doesn’t have to wear special clothing or practice it in a special location. Well you get the picture, there is no reason not to do Qi Gong ; )