In traditional Chinese culture, qì or ch’i ( qì, also known as gi in Korean culture, ki in Japanese culture and Prana in Indian culture) is an active principle forming part of any living thing.Qi literally translates as “breath”, “air”, or “gas”, and figuratively as “material energy“, “life force”, or “energy flow”.
Put simply, chi (qi) is that which gives life. In terms of the body, chi is that which differentiates a corpse from a live human being.
To use a Biblical reference, it is that which God breathed into the dust to produce Adam. Chi is also the basis of acupuncture.
A strong life force makes a human being totally alive, alert and present while a weak force results in sluggishness and fatigue. You can increase and develop your chi to overcome illness, become more vibrant and enhance mental capacity.
The concept of a life force is found in most of the ancient cultures of the world. In India, it is called prana; in China, chi; in Japan, ki; for Native Americans, the Great Spirit. For all these cultures and others as well, the idea of life force is or was central to their forms of medicine and healing.
Both Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture are based on balancing and enhancing chi to bring the body into a state of health.
Energy can be increased in a human being. Consequently, the development of chi can make an ill person robust or a weak person vibrant. More chi can enhance mental capacity too.
The concept of chi also extends beyond the physical body, to the subtle energies that activate all human functions, including emotions and thought. Unbalanced chi causes your emotions to become agitated and distressed. Balanced chi causes your emotions to become smooth and more satisfying.
From the perspective of thought, when your mental chi becomes more refined it enhances your creativity at all levels–art, business, relationships, child rearing, etc.
Spiritual chi makes it more possible for us to personally enter into higher states of consciousness, which lie at the heart of religious experience.
Qigong, tai chi and other form of Taoist martial and healing arts, help you to develop subtle chi-energy, not as an idea but rather lead you to directly feel and experience what this is in your body.
To maintain pain-free, optimal health, chi or energy should circulate throughout your entire body, without disruption, in a smooth, powerful fashion.
The classic Chinese medical phrase is teng jr bu tong. If the circulation of your chi is blocked (bu tong), you have pain and disease (teng). Conversely, if your chi or life force energy in your acupuncture meridian lines if fully connected and circulating without blockages (tong), you have neither pain nor disease (bu tong) – tong jr bu teng.
Making your chi tong i is the most basic goal of Chinese medicine and most apparent with tai chi, qigong and acupunture. Balancing out and connecting your chi so that it has no blockages will both get rid of the pain of disease and make you feel a whole lot better.
In China and Japan, most of the arts – not just the martial ones – are expressions of the qi energy flow. It’s how the painters and calligraphers make their brushes sweep over the paper, how dancers move their bodies, how musicians make their instruments resonate and singers reach out with their voices. It is also essential in such healing methods as acupuncture, qigong, and reiki.
Qi Energy Exercises
The qi energy can be awakened and increased by exercises. It’s not even difficult. You need to be persistent, but the method and the exercises are easy as pie. Still, they quickly lead to significant results. That I can assure you, not only from my own experience, but also that of the many aikido students I’ve had through the years.
Qi is a life energy flow that should run smoothly through your body and out of it. Therefore, it needs to be treated similarly to how a flow of any substance is optimized in nature. There are five basic conditions that need to be corrected and then perfected: posture, relaxation, breathing, extension and the center. To the extent they’re all adjusted, your qi will flow all by itself.
So, I’ve collected and developed a set of exercises for each of the five basic conditions. They’re all in my book, but several of them can also be found on this website. Check the menu below.
Belly breathing qi energy exercise.
Remember this: although the exercises are quite simple and can be done by anyone without previous training of any kind, you need to be persistent. You can feel a change already the first time you try the exercises, but the effect will not be lasting without repetition. Try to do them – or at least some of them – daily. You don’t need to work on them for long. A few minutes should suffice, as long as you get back to them the next day, or at least a few times a week. If you don’t, your body qucikly goes back to its old habits, and your qi energy flow may decrease.
But don’t take my word for it. Try the qi energy exercises you find on this website, and if you find them rewarding – repeat them. Quicker than you imagined, you’ll get your qi flowing, and if you’re persistent it will increase.
It’s so easy, simply because it’s so natural. It’s what your body and your mind want, so they’ll be very quick to adapt. Try it out:
Worldwide Life Energy
The idea of a life energy is present in many of the world’s cultures and ancient traditions. It’s often linked to breath – as in the Chinese concept of qi energy, the Indian prana, the Greek pneuma, the Hebrewruach, and our word spirit, from the Latin spiritus – also used in the word inspiration.
Maybe it could simply be explained as a symbolic way of celebrating the joy of being alive: the breath of life, without which we quickly perish.
This breath of life can be stimulated to increase. Thereby it rises to something far more than the mere consumption of oxygen, and extends way beyond the reach of our bodies. You will definitely feel the difference.
You don’t have to believe in qi energy to try it. Keep an open but also critical mind, and make your decision afterwards.
Life is a wondrous mystery. What brightens it up is precious, whether it can be seen in a microscope or not. And you know what Hamlet said to his doubting friend:
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”