I started my qi gong practice about three years ago. At the time, I had heard of tai chi and was somewhat familiar with the practices, but I had not explored qi gong.
I have been practicing yoga on and off for about eight years and teaching for four. Yoga changed my life, quite literally. I struggled with chronic back pain from surgery at age 14 and in 2008 my mom suggested
I try hot yoga. I practiced Bikram religiously throughout my last year or two of college in Chapel Hill and kept up with it when I moved home. I practiced this with the fusion rods in my spine and I am sure it is what kept me going for so long, before I had them surgically removed in 2011. I picked yoga back up in 2013 and attended a yoga teacher training in 2015.
Yoga started out for me as a way to reduce pain, exercise, and sweat. Hot yoga is all of those things. I dove into the mindfulness piece over the years, but I knew I needed to SLOW my brain a little bit more and SLOW my movements to tune into my body. As a relatively ambitious human being, I would go hard in yoga and in my teaching of yoga. I would not slow down and necessarily feel the energy flowing through my body at that specific point in time. I needed to find a way to make mindful movement meaningful instead of it just being “exercise” or “toning”. Qi gong did this for me and came to me at just the right time.
I rented a booth at a local church’s health fair for my new business, VIbesUP NC (partner of VibesUP). One of the vendors there was an energetic young woman named Carri. She seemed to have such a great Spirit about her and flowed with ease throughout her conversations with individuals. At her table she had some qi gong DVDs for sale.
DVDs right? I hadn’t purchased a DVD in about six or seven years, but something about this particular one called to me. It was a basic introduction to qi gong. The DVD I watched was by Jeff Primack. My husband Joel and I began our qi gong practice together. I was fascinated by how powerful the energy flowing through my hands and body could become when I was mindful and intentional about flowing movements and matching my breathing with the slowness.
Wiki definition of qi-gong:
Qigong (/ˈtʃiːˈɡɒŋ/), qi gong, chi kung, or chi gung (simplified Chinese: 气功; traditional Chinese: 氣功; pinyin: qìgōng; Wade–Giles: ch‘i kung; lit. 'life-energy cultivation') is a millennia-old system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy, and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed by the Chinese and throughout Asia as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (pronounced approximately as "chi"), translated as "life energy".
I wanted more of this “life force energy” flowing through my body. We joined an online qi gong community to get access to a library of videos, as there are all kinds of movements and practices depending on what result you would like to have in the body and mind. Joel and I would daily spend about 15 to 20 minutes practicing qi gong together and this post is a good reminder to myself that we need to get back to it, since it has fallen by the wayside during COVID!
I then met another woman locally who taught qi going. We practiced weekly for a while at her house. I LOVED how it made me feel to do it in person instead of online. Group qi gong was even more fun, with lots of people moving the energy at one time.
You can do qi gong in your PJs, sitting down, in a chair, or outside in the grass. There are not rules, per se. It is something that is accessible at all times. Soon I found myself moving through arm qi gong movements whenever I needed grounding. It can also be great post-operatively, as you can be as gentle with the body as you need to be.
I started a new challenge a little while ago to get myself recentered and I made a commitment to practice qi gong again daily. I felt called to write this piece and share my experience with how it changed my perception of the “energy body”, as it took the slowing down to feel and appreciate the incredible life force flowing through me.
One other funny side note is that qi gong brought me to kambo in an odd way. I purchased that DVD years ago and had not seen Carri since. When I was googling for a kambo practitioner in our area, Carri popped up! NO WAY!! I immediately called her and my kambo sister stepped up to take me through the kambo “Warrior Series”. I knew it was the Universe putting us back together so we could do some work for the collective! Aho!
Below are some of my favorite basic quick qi gong youtubes:
Jeffrey Chand (Communi Qi)
YoQi - Love her channel, lots of great yoga and qigong synergies