Qi Gong is a therapeutic form of movement, breathing exercises, a form of meditation, a treatment modality and a form of martial arts. Like T’ai Qi, it is steeped in the traditions of Chinese medicine, dating back to the 2nd century and gets its name from the vita; energy that defines being alive. It is a form of inner and outer cultivation practiced by Chinese physicians and is also used as a form of energy medicine, like acupuncture, that can be performed on a patient alone or during an acupuncture session.
Qi Gong movements are therapeutic and purposeful. Each form consists of many movements strung together with a therapeutic theme based on the five elements (fire, earth, metal, water, wood) and often incorporate themes from nature, reminding us that we are one with everything. Some movements are very graceful and slow-moving and others are stronger, faster and more cardiovascular in nature. All forms can be used to improve one’s physical fitness, energy, mood, flexibility, focus, sense of connection to others and to spirit. Some forms are short and can be performed in under fifteen minutes and others can be done for hours, depending on the practitioner’s purpose/ All forms can be modified to be more tonifying and soft, or amplified to be more energizing.
Ancient Chinese masters learned their Qi Gong forms from their masters who, in turn, passed it down to the next lineage holder. It is only with permission of one’s teacher, may a student teach others the forms. Qi Gong is practiced by millions of people around the world, old and young, with a common purpose – inner cultivation.