Energy Exercise—A Branch of Chinese Medicine

By Frank Simons

In this lecture you will learn how the basic theories of traditional Chinese medicine and tai chi are grounded in the philosophy of balance and harmony. Qigong and tai chi are practices that manipulate the qi energy and physical body to regulate that balance in daily life, in particular, your health. Health, in Chinese medicine, is the continuous, free, uninterrupted, balanced, and harmonious flow of qi throughout all parts of the body. Illness is defined as an imbalance of qi—either a blockage or an excess. Qigong is a branch of Chinese medicine dealing with the manipulation of the flow of qi. Along with tai chi it is considered an essential exercise tool, often specifically prescribed by a doctor to complement other treatments.

Video Presentation
Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong, Part 7, Energy Exercise — A Branch of Chinese Medicine
Thu, July 14, 5:30pm
Meditation Center
Callejón Blanco 4
Free, donations accepted

Qi is the Chinese word translated as “spirit breath” or “life force,” similar to the 19th century European notion of elan vital, an insubstantial energy that permeates and circulates throughout the human body and gives it life and health. Circulation is the key. Qi does not just lie inert or ooze about randomly. Healthy qi is always moving through the head and vital organs, out into the extremities and back again through specific channels, known as meridians, in much the same way as blood circulates through veins and arteries. Disease and illness arise when the flow of qi is disrupted, such as by suppressed emotions, poor diet, inactive lifestyle, stress, injury, or surgery. In addition, qi is interrupted by what are known as the “six evils:” heat, cold, dampness, wind, dryness, and fire. Qi disruption creates situations in which qi is deficient in one part while excessive in another part of the body. The particular combinations or progressions of this imbalance are what lead to disease, illness, chronic pain, aging, and eventually death.

Traditional Chinese medicine is sometimes called “the mother.” Like every mother, it gave life to tai chi and qigong. And, like most mothers, Chinese medicine tells us, “stand up straight,” because qi circulates best when the body is in alignment. Finally, mom says to us, “Don’t just sit around inside all day; go outside and play.” Moving the body is essential to moving the qi, and qi that is circulating is healthy qi. Qi is not only a human or even an animal quality. Everything in the world has energy: plants, animals, even rocks. Qi is all around us, circulating in the air, vibrating in the colors we see and raining down on us from above. In fact, the Chinese word for “weather” is tien qi or “heavenly energy.”

The course is led by David-Dorian Ross, the founder and CEO of Taijifit. He has a BA in human movement studies from San Francisco State University and has trained in China with championship martial arts coaches. Ross is the host of the PBS series “T’ai Chi: Health and Happiness” and the author of five books on health and wellness, including Exercising the Soul.

There will be an opportunity for discussion following the video. Presentations of the Center are offered without charge. Donations are gratefully accepted.

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