"A Self-Healing Practice with a Good Journey" An Introduction to Qigong by Kathleen Sakovitz

What does the word Qigong mean?

The word Qi (chi) in Chinese means air, breath, vital energy, spirit, related to oxygen and mental activity. Qi energy is the vital energy or life force that is in all the universe. In all we do on earth, there is life with energy. With our qi is good or balanced, we feel healthy mentally, physically and spiritually, improving focus with calm mind and body.


Qi is associated with our lungs, as we breathe external energy from the air, which combines in the bloodstream with internal energy released by digestion from food and water. Qi energy controls the function of all parts of body.


The word Gong in Chinese means energy practice, workout, or skill; it also means achievement. With longtime practice, you will start to feel Qi.


When we put the two words together, Qigong means vital energy practice or energy workout.


Where does Qigong come from?

Qigong is a traditional, natural energy healing exercise practiced by the Chinese for many centuries for health, healing, recovery from injury and disease prevention. Qigong is a holistic practice of mind, body and spirit, in line with Traditional Chinese Medicine theory.


What are some benefits of Qigong?

Qigong promotes positive mental energy. which improves physical energy. Qigong strengthens the immune system, so that internal healing improves. Qigong improves inner and outer strength, inner peace and awareness, balance, strength, and flexibility. It improves heart function. It reduces stress and helps harmonize mind, body, emotion, intuition and spirit. The regular practice of Qigong prevents illness/disease and promotes longevity.


Who can benefit from Qigong?

There are no restrictions for practicing Qigong. It is for all ages. It is for those with and without health problems. Movements are slow, gentle and circular, in harmony with nature. The practice of Qigong involves life-long commitment, serious learning, coordination and balance training. It is a workout for mind, body, emotion and spirit. It involves breath training and it is a natural tranquilizer.


What is it about Qigong that enables healing?

In Qigong, the flow of qi energy promotes the removal of blockages in the body’s energy channels.


Our meridians and acupuncture points are energy pathways correlating to internal organs, used in healing. The deep breathing and whole body movements of Qigong enable the flow of energy; self-massage activates the meridian system to relieve and prevent illness. The movement of energy accelerates the whole body’s healing process, leading to longevity and well-being. The deep slow breathing of Qigong practice improves chemical balance.


What does a Qigong practice look like?

In our Qigong/Taichi classes, we use Therapeutic Qi Gong (self-healing exercise), a 36-step form that is easy to practice. It is divided into six groups, focusing on different muscles, joints, whole body movements, meridians, and circulation. There is a balance of stillness and motion, some of it meditative. There are hundreds of forms in Qigong, each with different purposes and benefits. It is recommended that Qigong be practiced regularly—daily if possible or 3-5 times each week. Group practice is beneficial, as there is a special, strong energy in the group.

How is Tai Chi (taiji) related to Qigong?

Qigong, the Mother of Tai Chi, has been practiced for over 4,000 years. Tai Chi movements, exercises, philosophy are drawn from Qigong. Tai means “big”; Ji means “extreme.” Over 400 years ago the Yang family started Tai Chi Chuan forms, also called the internal form of martial art, to build strong qi, vital energy, good health and immune function. Tai chi is harder, and may take longer to learn in order to benefit in healing. "Heart is quiet, mind present, breath natural".


What is your own experience of Qigong and Tai Chi?


I am grateful to Dr. Kuhn, from China, who is a Master of the traditional ways of Qi Gong and Tai Chi. I began learning from her in 1995, and became certified with Dr. Kuhn, through the Chinese Board ,in Qi Gong Instructor Training I and II, and Tai Chi I and II.


With my own regular practice of Qigong /Tai Chi training and teaching for more than 25 years, I have had wonderful healing benefits. I have experienced physical, mental and spiritual healing after injuries and during very challenging times in my life. I am grateful for the value of regular practice, which improves health, energy flow, and vital energy force. It improves my life, focus, happiness and mood. I continue to learn. It is a lifetime practice. I love sharing with others in my teaching. I am grateful that students of Qigong / Tai Chi have shared with me their energy healing after an injury or illness, through the regular practice of Qigong / Tai Chi.


Qigong / Tai Chi is a self-healing practice with a good journey!


Join us on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, from 8:45-9:45, in person (Tuesdays) and on Zoom.

Visit https://www.openspiritcenter.org/open-spirit-live-stream for the link to live stream the class.