By Rosemary Mc Donough, Sifu & Certified Qi Gong Instructor and licensed Acupuncturist.
The practice of Qi Gong strengthens the body, calms the mind and elevates the spirit. The Chinese word “Qi” can be interpreted as the ‘force’ which moves oxygen and blood throughout the body. The circulation of Qi is the key to our energetic health. Another popular way of defining Qi is to liken it to ‘energy’. The word “Gong” means manipulation or work with intention. Thus, the practice of Qi Gong can be understood as energy work.
One might ask, ‘Why would we want to work with energy or Qi?’ The answer is simply, ‘Because our total health and well-being depends upon the strong, smooth flow of Qi within our bodies’.
Qi Gong is a holistic means of cultivating high quality and smooth-flowing Qi; thus ensuring a balanced body, mind and spirit. When Qi is flowing as it should, we radiate positive energy and enjoy complete health on all levels. Qi Gong’s use of proper posture, breathing techniques and specific movements along with visualization, intention and meditation encourages Qi to circulate smoothly throughout our bodies via pathways known as meridians. The role of the meridians is to regulate the flow of Qi and transport it throughout the body and to each of the organs. However, when a meridian is blocked, we experience a cessation or a lessening in the flow of Qi which causes Qi to pool and stagnate. Stagnant Qi (like stagnant water) acts as breeding grounds for disease. Low quality Qi such as this further weakens the system and in this unbalanced state we become prone to pain, disease and may experience accidents, mood disorders and disharmonious relations.
The dedicated practice of Qi Gong can remove energetic blocks and rectify illness. It can regulate the immune system and help regain one’s vitality. Qi Gong lowers stress levels and teaches us how to relax (as relaxation is a skill) and to keep the Qi flowing. For those in good health, Qi Gong is used as a way to maintain this balance and ensure longevity. As “energy awareness” gains momentum, more physicians, nurses, counselors and therapists of all kinds are using Qi Gong as an effective means of coping with the overwhelming challenges that accompany their vocations. The purifying and strengthening effects of Qi Gong has made it a therapy of choice for what has become known as “healer burnout.”
The path to wellness is full of adventure and self realization. If we are committed to our health, we succeed in making changes, both practical and perceptual. Should we feel such a journey is in any way daunting, we may find it helpful to remember that the most dramatic of outward transformations always begins in a very subtle way, with an energetic shift from within.
Qi Gong helps cultivate the gentle, inner peace and strength required to achieve this energetic change in course. Such energetic shifts have far reaching effects, extending to both our physical bodies and our life experiences.
Sifu Rosemary is a certified senior Qi Gong instructor and acupuncturist in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. You can reach her by calling (819) 681-8228.