About Tai Chi & Qi Gong

 

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     Qi Gong and Tai Chi, healing exercises from China, are very gentle movements done with a connection between mind, body and breathing. They are gentle enough to be well suited for most people, even the very old and very young, and can be adapted to suit most physical limitations. These exercises are calming and focus on stress reduction, having the ability to improve sleep and lower blood pressure. They tone and strengthen all muscle areas of the body including the core, improving mobility and building flexibility and balance. Modern research has proven the health benefits claimed over the centuries for the remarkable healing exercises. They are an ideal exercise to learn at any age, offering the chance to continue improving skills into senior years and beyond.

Chinese healing exercises are unlike anything in the West. They involve “internal aspects” of breathing, quiet mind, and relaxed body, together with “external aspects”, special postures and movements. Early exercises were called Tao Yin, while today these exercises are called qi gong. Qi is the “energy” or vitality that gives us life. Gong is training or work. Qi gong exercises are the work we do to keep our energy vigorous and harmonious.

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The Chinese character Qi, seen here, is a combination of the rice radical with a representation of “cloud” or “vapor” below. Qi is the finest essence of matter, the vitality of the universe and our being.

There are many ways of understanding Qi Gong. Qi Gong can be divided into two types, static and dynamic, and can be spiritual, health or martial in emphasis. Hua Tuo, a famous physician and surgeon from the Han dynasty, developed Wu Qin Xi, the Five Animal Frolics. Here is a quote from Hua Tuo and a bas relief of one of the animal movements:

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“Exercise brings about good digestion, causing the qi and blood to circulate. It is like a door pivot never rotting. Therefore the ancient Sages engaged in tao yin by moving the head like a bear. Exercising the joints and twisting at the waist can slow the aging process. I have a method known as the five animal frolics (tiger, deer, monkey, bear, crane). It can be used to get rid of diseases, and it is beneficial for all stiffness of the joints or ankles. When the body feels ill, one should do the exercises. After perspiring the body will feel light and the stomach will feel hungry.”

Tai Chi, or more properly Tai Ji Quan, is an “internal” martial art which is widely practiced for its health benefits. There are literally thousands of different qi gong exercises and several major styles of Tai Chi, each with a multitude of different routines or "forms."

Chinese healing exercise is a way of life. You must practice regularly and maintain a balanced lifestyle. As Huang-fu Mi said:

“It is necessary to follow the disposition of the seasons and adapt to cold and heat, to balance joy and anger and be contented with what one is, to harmonize yin and yang and adjust the unyielding and tender. Thus, no evils can arise."

If you are interested in learning more about Qi Gong I recommend the following books:  

            

 If you are interested in learning more about Tai Chi (Tai Ji Quan) I recommend the following book:

If you are interested in learning about the Earth Energy Qi Gong for Women program as developed and taught by Tai Chi Master Tina Zhang, I recommend the following book:

 

 

 

  

 Page Created March 27, 2006.   Page Last Updated on 15 January, 2012             Send Mail