Qi Gong (pronounced chee-gong) is a Chinese energy cultivation practice with roots in Daoist beliefs and traditions. Qi Gong works with the principle of “xing ming shuang xiu” – meaning “the spirit and body are equally refined and cultivated.” Integrating dynamic and static movements, deep breathing and visualisation techniques, Qi Gong is designed to bring the qi, or life force, into the body and encourage it to flow without blockage. The practices are highly beneficial to the organs and meridians, which in Chinese medicine are believed to reflect our physical, mental and emotional states. Active movements in Qi Gong, sometimes known as “Daoist yoga” tend to be slow, circular, repetitive, graceful and flowing – like wind and water. They loosen the joints, strengthen the tendons and muscles, improve circulation, and relax the nervous system.
Meditative and breathing practices work strongly with intention and visualisation, and are perceived as ways to “enter tranquility” or rujin. Complementing Daoist ideas such as naturalism, humility, and effortless action (wuwei), Qi Gong practices ultimately work toward creating greater balance and harmony, and an overall sense of health, vitality and wellbeing.
In Qi Gong, there is a stronger emphasis on soft, round, circular movements that are similar to wind and water rather than the straight extension and linear design of yoga. Joint spaces remain relaxed, and the movements are often repetitive, slow and rhythmic. There is less focus on complex bodily positions, and more attention given to how the mind directs the vital energy, or qi, through intention. Intention is central to the practice of Qi Gong, and often helpful when visualising a process such as the elimination of stagnant, diseased qi, and the replacement of it with healthy, vibrant qi. For example, one might inhale pure, healthy qi to an area of the body that feels weak, and exhale out the waste, imagining it becomes compost as it returns to the earth.
Though Laura's first love was yoga, immediately after she was introduced to Qi Gong on her Chinese Medicine degree course, she knew it would compliment and transform her acupuncture practice. While standing in the Qi Gong version of tadasana (mountain pose) – a pose characterised by a wider stance, bent knees, softer chest, and more circular shape to the arms (wuji stance) – she began to feel a sense of centredness and calm that was markedly different than any other meditative practice she'd ever done.
Currently Laura studies qigong with Bruce Frantzis (Dragon and Tiger Series) and has drawn influence from the teachings of Guy Burgs, Mimi Kuo-Deemer, The College of Integrated Chinese Medicine and from her teachers on a trip in 2019 to Shanghai and Linhai in China.
" I feel so full of clean energy, ready to face the day."