Qi Gong Basics Part 1

Qi Gong is a Chinese way to health, fitness, beautiful skin and hair, weight loss, longevity, a calm mind and high energy.

Do you think it is possible to achieve all this while standing still? It is, when you stand in a very special way. In this article I would like to introduce you to the art of Qi Gong. You will be able to learn this exercise [not that you do much moving!] and if you practice it patiently each day, in time you will be rewarded with improved health and fitness. As you continue to practise your body adjusts internally and externally. You feel better and you look better – and it makes no difference whether you are young or old, fit or unfit, overweight or underweight – you will look better but most importantly, you will feel better than when you began.

How can I be so confident? For over 30 years now I have included Qi Gong in my exercise program and I reap the rewards of all the above-named benefits. Not only that I have seen it transform others as well and I know it can benefit you too. I believe that incorporating Qi Gong into one’s life is a form of health insurance, because it helps your internal organs and your glands to function properly. So long as you also put good, fresh and natural fuel into body, your regular dose of Qi Gong will facilitate slowing the ageing process of your cells.

Breath and breathing are an integral and important part of Qi Gong training, much like it is in Yoga and Tai Ji Quan [which is an elaborate form of Qi Gong]. We take long, slow deep breaths, which calm the mind and connect mind and body – an essential part of the process. Slow, deep breathing coupled with specific postures and movements helps to oxygenate the cells, which in turn means the cells are better nourished with both blood and oxygen. This helps in removing toxins and replenishing cells with fresh blood, air and Qi.

So, what is Qi Gong?

Let us begin with defining these two oft-misunderstood terms. Qi, which is pronounced ‘chee’, as in ‘cheese’ and sometimes written as chi, is Chinese for the life force energy that permeates all living things, including Mother Earth. Gong means hard work or achievement through disciplined activity such as exercise. Qi Gong is a healing art using a series of gentle focused exercises for body and mind.

It is a well-known fact in China, that the regular and consistent practise of certain Qi Gong exercises has the potential to slow the ageing process. People of the Orient are well known for their youthful appearance into old age. While there are many and varied reasons for this, the Chinese have known for several thousand years that the best way to maintain one’s youthful looks and vigour is to take care of one’s Qi.

This is where Qi Gong comes in, as it is an excellent way to generate Qi and to keep it moving throughout the body. In traditional Chinese medicine [TCM] the continuous flow and movement of Qi through the meridians [energy pathways] of the body is what is considered essential in keeping the body healthy and warding off disease. Both Qi Gong and TCM operate from the quantum perspective that Qi controls or rules the body. Thus whatever is going on at the physical level is a direct reflection of what is going on with your Qi. It also tells a lot about your thoughts and beliefs, because what you think about yourself informs your Qi of what to do [or not do] with your body.

As a practitioner of TCM for over 20 years it is my opinion that the most effective way of maintaining health and vitality and warding off disease is by cultivating your Qi, and that the practice of Qi Gong is the most effective way to achieve that.

Qi Gong Exercises

There are a large variety of Qi Gong exercises, some have quite dynamic movements, others are static; some are meditations others visualisations; but they all have a basic foundation and that is what I am going to teach you here. If you master these two postures and can do them for around 20 minutes a day, you will begin to notice some of the abovementioned benefits. Before we begin the exercises we need to learn how to stand and breathe correctly, according to Qi Gong.


Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel; your arms by your sides with palms slightly facing the back; your head is upright and your chin tucked in a little so that the crown of your head is uppermost. Feel or imagine that a string connected to your crown point is supporting you from above.

Now allow your weight to rock forward slightly on to the ball of your foot – keep you heels on the ground. Then rock back so that more weight is on your heels with your toes still on the floor. Move back and forward a few times to get a sense of the different feelings, then find your centre – your weight should be neither too far forward nor too far back. This is your Qi Gong standing position.

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8 Responses to “Qi Gong Basics Part 1”

  • sheilla shanes says:

    I teach yoga and chi gong to patients at Block Medical Center, in Evanston, Il. I have practiced LCUPCD with Master Gu at chicenter.com. I’d appreciate your recommendations, inorder to refer patients to different medical chi gong practices.

    Thank you,
    Sheilla Shanes

  • Mohan Ramnath says:

    Dear All,

    I am a newcomer to this science. I would like to know if any practitioner has achieved distinct results by way of curing ones’ illness, or improvement in mental strength or whatever.

  • Sally Yasukawa says:

    Yes many practitioners have achieved distinct results with the use of medical qi gong – mainly in China but also in the US, Australia and probably Europe.
    I can’t give you any specific details, although I saw many successful treatments when in China during the 1980’s. You need a high level practitioner to either teach you or to treat you, no just anyone who has some idea about Qi Gong. Consistent, diligent practice of Qi Gong exercises improves one’s physical, mental and emoitonal wellbeing. It is in fact a way of life, not just something neat to do because it is fashionable. If you want results from Qi Gong you need to commit to it for the long term, and you will get results.

  • jim says:

    Please e mail me I have inguinal hernia and intend to heal myself by practising qi

  • Sally Yasukawa says:

    Excellent. I hope you have good success. DO you know Qi Gong? You need a good teacher, you can’t learn this sort of healing from books. However, anything is better than nothing if it gets your Qi moving and strengthened.

  • Clinson says:

    There are many ways Tai Chi is taught. Most ppolee believe it to be for the old and weak. Nothing could be further from the truth.1. Everything you need in Tai Chi should be learned in your Tai Chi class. No, you should not have to learn additional Qi-Gong or Kung Fu. Even though some elements of Qi-Gong and Kung Fu are in Tai Chi they are different from Tai Chi.2. No requirements are necessary. You will start slowly with learning how to relax and how to stay relaxed when moving. If relaxation is done properly your body becomes heavy and you will build strength. The nice part about Tai Chi is it takes many years to learn so it will give your body time to grow into it and build the strength gradually at your own pace. Through relaxation also comes flexibility so you can do the low stances. But again this takes time.3. Real Tai Chi has to be learned with a teacher and even then there are few who truly understand what Tai Chi is. Most will relax to the point where the body so so relaxed there is not form/shape in the moves. Tai Chi is Yin and Yang (opposites). Hard and soft. Tension and relaxation. When you do your forms you will switch back and forth between the opposites. If you just do the moves you are doing either physical therapy and/or stretching exercise but you are not doing Tai Chi. There is a huge difference since if you are only doing the stretching exercise you will not get the full benefit of Tai Chi.Some ppolee will teach Yin and Yang as mystical forces pulling you this way and that. They will also teach that the internal part in Tai Chi is mysterious and make up some really bizarre stuff. That is wrong. There is nothing mystical about Yin and Yang or learning the internal part of Tai Chi. All comes all by itself when you are ready with practice as you come to understand the art. These are things you will not be able to learn from a video. At best you will learn the stretching exercise from the video but the real Tai Chi will undoubtedly escape you.I do know from personal experience that real Tai Chi will improve your health and build your strength and stamina.Chen Tai Chi practitioner

  • Sally Yasukawa says:

    All you say is true but you neglect to note that Tai Ji Quan is an elaborate form of Qi Gong. Each Movement in Tai Ji Quan is a Qi Gong exercise in itself. I love both Tai Ji Quan [which I have been doing since 1975 FYI] however, I find it more efficient to teach people Qi Gong because it takes less time to perfect and achieve benefits. These days many people do not have the time to devote to learning a long form of Tai Ji Quan or even a short version. Because I am a practitioner of Chinese Medicine my desire is to help people learn ways they can help their own health. Tai Ji QUan, which the best for that takes too long to learn then perfect in order to gain the benefits. I appreciate your comments and wish you every happiness in your life. Sally Yasukawa, Chinese MEdicine PRactitioner and Qi Gong Teacher and Healer.

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