What is Chi?
Chi is the Chinese word for energy, in particular subtle life force energies. The perception of subtle energies was present in many of the ancient civilizations. They are called by different names but are the same in essence. For example in India it is known as prana. It is everywhere in nature: sun, stars, earth, air, trees, plants, rock, and water. Humans, animals and insects also have chi. There is constant exchange of chi in nature. Without chi there would be no life.
What is Chi Gong?
Chi Gong is a system of knowledge from ancient China on how to enhance the flow of chi in the human body. To enhance the flow of chi one works closely with the natural environment, emotions and consciousness. These include diet, exercise, connection to the earth chi through grounding, movement, sound, light and forms. Feelings of love, gratitude, joy, enthusiasm and kindness greatly enhance the chi flow. Visualization of color, images and concepts can also expand and increase the flow of chi. There are six traditions of Chi Gong: Taoist, Buddhist, Confusion, Medical, Wushu (Martial Art) and Indigenous. They belong to three categories: movement, awareness cultivation and combination of movement and awareness cultivation.
Chi & Health
Chi is essential to life. When there is abundant flow of chi there is radiance, and health. When chi flow diminishes, or becomes stagnant, aging and sickness takes over. When chi flow stops altogether, death takes over. Restoring and enhancing the flow of chi can restore health and reverse the aging process. In ancient China, Chi Gong was considered one of the medical practices along with acupuncture, and herbal medicine. It was given a very respected place. Over the thousands of years, even today, many people have regained their health by practicing Chi Gong.
Chi & Emotions
The seven emotions of joy, anger, fear, fright, obsessive thinking, sadness, and worry affect the chi flow to various energetic pathways related to different organs. Negative emotions and over-excitement can interfere with the flow of energy to the various organs. Equanimity and peaceful mind are helpful for the health of body.
Chi & Mind
Day to day thinking takes the brain wave to Beta state. In this state one loses energy. Quieting the mind through slow deep breathing slows the brain wave to Alpha. In the Alpha state, one gains energy. The feeling of gratitude quickly slows down the brain wave. Giving thanks is an effective way to keep the mind quiet and heart open.
Chi & Movement
Tai Chi Chuan, and hundreds of schools of Chi Gong utilize gentle movements to stimulate the flow of chi along the energy pathways. This enhanced flow of chi brings about a greater sense of wellbeing and expansion of awareness. One particular form of Chi Gong with 2000 years of history is Waidangong. Since 1976 when it was first taught publicly by Grand master Chang, Chih-Tung in Taiwan, over three million people in Southeast Asia have been trained. It is gentle yet powerful. The benefits of Waidangong can best be summarized by the words of Grand master Chang: “Practicing Waidangong is a way of cultivating one’s mind and pursuing the ultimate truth of Tao. In doing so, one has to do good deeds and behave discreetly. Waidangong is to activate the Chi inside one’s body and make it connected with the Chi of the outside world. In practicing Waidangong, one has to be peaceful and free of distracting ideas before one can activate the chi within one’s body. Once it is activated, it will flow through all parts of one’s body like electric currents and make one’s body tremble. “ On innate chi: “In old age, a man is as feeble as a flickering candle. At the age of sixty, he has more Ying than Yang in his body and his energy drains away day by day. If a person at this age could make use of the little Yang he still has to practice Waidangog., he would regain his health and even youth.”
“In practicing Waidangong, one has to count silently from one to nine, because Yang is born in one and consummated in nine. When Yang reaches nine it returns to one again. Moving in this cycle, Yang will gradually fill the whole body with chi.”
The counting is done with finger flexing.
1. Swanson, Claude, Ph.D., Life force, The Scientific Basis: Breakthrough physics of energy medicine, healing, chi and quantum consciousness, Poseidia Press, 2009. www.SynnchronizedUniverse.com.
2. Motoyama, Hiroshi, Measurements of Ki Energy, Diagnosis and Treatments, Human Science Press 1997. www.cihs.edu
3. Francomano, Clair A., Jonas, Wayne B., Proceedings: Measuring the Human Energy Field, State of the Science, Samueli Institute, 2002