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Chi exercises - Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Chi Neng

 Chi exercises - Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Chi Neng

The age old Meditative motion therapies like Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Chi Neng promote a long, healthy life and help you to bring your body and mind in the right kind of balance. 

The techniques are based on the Taoist Yin Yang philosophy and work with the universal life energy Chi, Ki or Prana. More and more people are getting extremely enthusiastic about these techniques and we are sure that before long it will become completely normal for Western people to go to our parks to practise their favourite Chi exercises. In this section we will give you a short introduction to these Meditation in motion exercises that are becoming more and more popular.

What are Chi, Ki, and Prana?

Chi, Ki, Prana are all names for the all-embracing life energy. This life energy is called "chi" in Chinese, "ki" in Japanese and in India they call it "prana" Chi is the energy through which we live, the energy through which things grow. It is in the air, in the earth and in ourselves. 

Chi is everywhere. Chi streams through our body and causes the recovery and the growth of all our body cells. Thus it promotes our health. The chi streams can be hindered by tension, by being too achievement oriented, by indifference, tiredness, pollution, stress, bad food, depression, etcetera. When there are blockades in the meridians through which the Chi streams in our body this can lead to health problems.

The Yin-Yang Philosophy

According to the Taoist Philosophy is everything, including lifeless things, can be divided into yin or yang. The terms "yin" and "yang" refer to antipoles that react to each other and that are present everywhere in the universe. Among other things yin stands for female, passive, negative, receptive, dark, night, cold and soft. 

Yang stands for male, positive, action, light, expansive, day, warm and hard. It is of prime importance to achieve a dynamic equilibrium (also called tao) between negative and positive energy, not only in their universal and cosmic meanings, but also in the fields of inner harmony, growth and health. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese ways of curing diseases are based on this principle. By means of Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Chi Neng we can bring yin and yang back in balance through which our inner energy (chi) is enlarged. These three disciplines look a lot like each other, but there are differences. Let us discuss them in detail.

Qi Gong

Qi Gong means "energy work" and is the art of using chi to support health and vitality. Qi stands for life energy and gong for discipline, practice, and stamina. Qi Gong is extremely diverse and consists among other things of soft techniques that are directed at breathing, meridians, pressure points, graceful movements, Meditation, self massages and other ways of working with energy. 

In general the movements are slow, graceful and steady; based on being relaxed and not on brute strength. Dynamic exercises promote the blood stream, the lymph system, and the quality and circulation of chi. "Polluted'' chi is carried away, fresh chi is taken in, blockades in the energy meridians are demolished and the distribution of chi in the various parts of the body is vastly improved. 

Qi Gong uses Meditation, breathing techniques and special movements. The exercises require total attention and awareness. Qi Gong is Meditation in motion.

Chi Neng

Chi Neng is a form of Qi Gong. It is Meditation in motion. Chi Neng has a highly Medical orientation and strengthens the life energy, it reduces stress, it improves people's emotional condition with the result that in all circumstances people remain strong and it stimulates the brain. As it strengthens the immune system Chi Neng prevents diseases and improves people's health. 

As a result of the rest and the relaxation that are experienced people learn to cope better with stress and people become more emotionally balanced. Chi Neng consists of a small amount of theory and a great deal of practical exercises. Chi Neng Qi Gong was developed thirty years ago by doctor Pang Ming and is a simpler form of Qi Gong. 

The advantage of Chi Neng is that the quantity of exercises is limited with the result that people can start practising it themselves without the need of many years of training. A daily exercise of 20 minutes already has positive effects. As a result of its excellent effects Ch Neng has been recognised by the Chinese government as the form of Qi Gong that heals the best. It was chosen out of a group of 11 different forms of Qi Gong.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi was derived from Qi Gong. About the year 1270 AD Chang San Feng, a great martial artist and practitioner of Qi Gong, combined his knowledge of Qi Gong with his knowledge of martial arts to be able to improve his health during his training sessions. 

He concentrated his basic principals into twelve basic exercises. Many styles of Tai Chi have developed from this basic system. Each movement has a symbolic meaning and a name of its own. When the movement is practised effortlessly, the chi is powerful and streams unhindered through the body. Tai Chi helps to stay fit and supple physically, spiritually and mentally. 

The exercises do not require great effort and are directed at practically all muscles, sinews, joints and ligaments. In general the movements are slow, graceful and steady. They are based on relaxation and not on brute strength. The difference between these exercises and the exercises of Gi Gong is formed by the link with martial arts.

How, when, and where to practice Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Chi Neng


The best thing is to practise Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Chi Neng at least twenty minutes a day, if possible in the open air. Sunrise and sundown are the best times because then yin and yang are most well-balanced. Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Chi Neng are disciplines that people cannot easily learn from the internet of from a book. The movements often consist of a number of positions and they must be carried out fluently and with full attention. 

The techniques and the philosophy offer enough material to keep you busy for the rest of your life. If you want to become good at these great forms of Meditation in motion we advise you to attend a course at a local school or with a local teacher. ABC-of-Meditation regularly organises introductory workshops in which people can get acquainted with the various movement therapies. 

These courses offer a good opportunity to find out whether you like this manner of Meditating. Look at our Workshops and Courses Section and see when and where a workshop will take place.

references :
Yin-Yang Philosophy : https://www.ancient.eu/Yin_and_Yang/

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