Qi Gong 101: Mindfully increasing & harmonizing your subtle energy 

Dear  Integral Meditators,

Qi gong is a way of working mindfully with the subtle energy in your body. This week’s article reflects upon two fundamental questions: What is Qi Gong? And what are the different elements of qi gong practice? I have placed the answers in six parts or divisions. You’ll see links embedded in the article that will take you to some simple practices from my Qi gong blog.In the spirit of energy,


If you enjoy the article, then do check out my QG coaching and healing page. On the coaching page I share a little about my own personal journey with qi gong meditation!

Qi Gong 101: Mindfully increasing & harmonizing your subtle energy 

What is Qi Gong? Here are six different ways of answering this question, that together give an overview of the different aspects of qi gong practice.

1) Qi Gong is developing awareness of and circulating ‘qi’ or subtle energy.
All qi gong practices really focus around this basic point. They are all methods to improve the amount (quantity) of qi flowing through our body and mind, thus giving us more energy. Secondly, they improve the harmony and balance (quality) of the qi/energy flow. What is commonly referred to as ‘qi’ in qi gong is the subtle magnetic or bio-electrical energy that flows through the energy meridians in our body. The qi in our body is a part of a vast field of bio-electrical energy that pervades and infuses planet Earth. Other equivalent words for qi are vital energy, prajna, etheric force and “ki” (as in the Japanese word “re-ki” or “universal energy”).

What does Qi Gong practice consist of?

2) Standing
Qi gong practices teach us how to increase and harmonize the flow of energy through our body by adopting certain special standing positions. If you think about the sky and stars above you as being the positive pole of an electrical circuit and the Earth beneath you as being the negative pole, then your body is like the conductor of electrical energy between these two poles. Qi gong standing postures show how to tap into the energy of the universe simply by standing in an optimal manner.

3) Breathing
Qi gong practice teaches basic breathing techniques to develop and enhance the flow of qi around our bodies. At any given time, if you observe your breathing, you will find that it reflects the way in which your body and mind are feeling at that time. Qi gong breathing techniques focus on giving our breathing patterns eight fundamental qualities; Silent and fine, slow and deep, long and soft, continuous and even.

4) Smiling
This is such a fundamental part of qi gong that I tend to draw it out as an individual element. The expression on our face has a fundamental effect on the energy in our mind and body. By practicing a technique called the “inner smile” we can harness this form of qi or energy for many positive purposes in our life.

5) Movement
Qi gong promotes special types of gentle physical movement to help promote the flow of qi through the body. There is also a mechanical (in the positive sense of the word) aspect of qi gong movement that focuses on putting the joints of our body through their full range of movement on a regular basis. “A used door hinge never rusts” as the saying goes. Qi gong movement help us to exercise our joints and basic muscle groups in a way that helps to maintain them in a healthy, optimal state.

6) Practical philosophy
Qi gong is based around a great wealth of practical wisdom from the (mostly) Taoist tradition of health, primal psychology and spirituality. This provides a context and way of life that surrounds, infuses and informs the Qi gong practices outlined in points 1-5 above.

© Toby Ouvry 2018, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com

Integral Meditation Asia

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