Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | August 29, 2011

Qi Gong(chi kung) is Energy Work

The Tai Chi Player operates on the concept that there is a life force coursing through him/her, and that it can be cultivated. This life energy is called qi(chi). A person has the ability to transform or alchemize what is called jing, or essences such as food and water, saliva, hormonal secretions, air, into chi. The chi flows through the body, and when it flows freely, we are healthy. There is an added alchemy that can take place, in which chi, through advanced and disciplined practice, becomes shen, or spirit. This advanced alchemy cannot be forced, but happens in time, through the practice of qi gong, meditation, and tai chi. It is akin to spiritual development, enlightenment, and a powerful inner strength.

The tai chi forms themselves, practiced slowly, are a type of chi kung. And there are many set qi gong forms that one can learn. One of the basic and nicest sets is the Eight Pieces of Brocade(You can see this on my YouTube channel for free–just click on the linkup top for my youtube channel). Other sets I have practiced are the Tai Chi Breathing exercises I learned rom Master Leungh Shum, Wuji qi gong, and the chan ssu chin silk reeling exercises. All are designed to open the joints and promote the cultivation of and free flow of chi.

In taoist meditation, while there are several different ways to meditate, the primary focus of taoist meditation is on the dan tien, or energy center located in the center of the body a bit below the navel. One imagines the jing simmering, then steaming, the steam rising up the back channel, condensing at the palate, and circulating back down the front channel back to the dan tien.

There are also two important visiualizations. The microcosmic orbit described above, and the macrocosmic orbit, visualizing chi moving through the entire body(chi knows its own path but you can visualize the paths). Dan tien rotation is good practice also to cultivate chi. Imagine an orb in the dan tien rotating vertically, back down front and up again in a circular motion. Sideways rotation is also good, as if you are using a hula hoop.

Once you are familiar with traditional forms, I encourage you to be spontaneous and creative. Start in a posture like horse stance and raise your palms. Feel for the energy, then allow yourself to be moved as opposed to moving. Do you discern the difference? Keep trying. It’s fun and good.

Finally, it is important to note that in taoist and tai chi practice, the player can take in universal chi and earth chi. These sources of chi are infinite. Simplest(but not so easy) way to do it is in standing meditation, seated in your stance, arms in front of your body very rounded, and palms, instead of each pointing to the crows nest(divot below your collar bone), slightly pointed up for universal chi, or down for earth chi. It is amazing what a difference just a subtly change makes.



  1. Qigong is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation.

  2. […] March 3rd, 2012 in General […]

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