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Qigong (or chi kung) translates as “energy exercise”. As such, there are qigongs from many cultures such as yoga or Bioenergetics. In China, Qigongs are generally organized by outcome sought – Health, Healing Others, Spiritual Development and Martial Abilities. Different Qigongs can include holding postures, moving in specific patterns, breathing exercises, mudras (hand postures), making sounds, sexual exercises, and meditation techniques. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of types of Qigong.
In my classes I present the Qigong exercises that I’ve found most useful over my years of practice. We also do stretching, range of motion, balance, breath and coordination drills. My goals for the class are that my students gain both an improvement in balance and range of motion, and improved energy and overall health. Look also for a reduction of stress and increased ability to be in the present.

In terms of Western medicine, the movements will strengthen your legs, lubricate your joints, increase your flexibility and the strength of your sinews, slow and deepen your breathing, improve circulation and stimulate the immune system. Many of the movements are also designed to stimulate your body’s acupuncture meridians and massage your internal organs thereby improving your overall health.

Qigong is an excellent method for reducing stress, and since many diseases originally arise due to stress, practice improves our health in this way as well. Through the practice of Qigong, one develops greater sensitivity to oneself which naturally leads to making healthier choices that keep one in harmony.

Tuning into our subtle sensations requires a stilling of the mind. This concentration begins in the mundane focus required to master a new series of movements and develops into a finer kind of awareness including all aspects of our experience. This form of moving meditation is very beneficial because it is not very different from our every day life – the gap between being able to keep a still mind in sitting meditation and being able to focus at work or driving in traffic can be difficult to bridge, whereas the calmness of concentration which comes from Qigong practice naturally flows into all aspects of life.

Fundamental Approach As we in the West learn from the traditions of the East, our first step should be to remove the hype. There is a lot of hype in Qigong, as there is in Yoga, Martial Arts and Eastern spiritual traditions. In order to stay grounded in our practice, I recommend that you follow the advice of the Chinese saying, ” Don’t seek to walk in the footsteps of the masters, seek what they sought.” To unpack that, if you imagine yourself as the originator of a Chi Kung system, what kind of evidence of benefit would you need to know that you were on the right track? On what level would the evidence show up – physical, emotional, mental or spiritual? How soon would you need this evidence – after an hour of practice, three weeks, a year?

The movements and exercises I present reflect my answers to these questions. They produce an almost instantaneous change in my experience physically, emotionally and mentally. They create a state of consciousness that for me is conducive to living a spiritually connected life. But be aware that there are many other styles of Qigong, and many claim to produce extraordinary results. This class represents my best research to date.