Qi Gong – What is it, and how do you say it? | TheUnion.com

Qi Gong – What is it, and how do you say it?

Trish Gerloff
Submitted to The Union

Qi Gong is the "art of effortless movement." Imagine how you feel when you take a walk through a beautiful forest with a river coursing gently through it. You may experience a sense of freshness, of wonder and delight, and rejuvenation as you connect with nature and re-connect with yourself. Qi Gong often brings these same sensations.

Qi gong is an ancient Chinese healing art which mirrors the movements of nature.

By practicing the simple flowing movements of qi gong, you get the experience in your body of flowing with life as you let go of tension. It's all about slowing down, tuning within, and breathing deeply.

Qi gong is pronounced 'chee gung,' and is sometimes called Chi Kung. Qi is energy. It's the animating force behind all the functions of our body and mind, the power behind our very breath. Qi gong translates as "skilled use of one's life force energy." That means, with practice, you develop a deeper awareness of your internal energy. We place trust in the inner wisdom of the body and the innate capacity of the body to heal itself.

Qi gong is a great practice for those of you interested in improving and maintaining your state of well-being so that you can age gracefully. The practice works by enhancing the smooth flow of energy through the acupuncture meridians, which are the body's energy pathways. This smoothly flowing energy nourishes your organs, muscles and tendons, and your brain, restoring balance to the body, mind, and emotions. As you build a reserve of energy, you feel more healthy and vibrant.

Qi gong is a relative to tai chi and the benefits are similar. Tai chi involves a set sequence of movements progressing down a line, requiring some memorization. Qi gong routines include stretches to release tension, and flowing movements which are calming to the nervous system. They are done in place and require no memorization. Both are beautiful practices that benefit you by developing strength, suppleness, and balance. When looking on, the movements of qi gong may seem too simple or graceful to be doing anything yet it develops strength, flexibility, and balance. With better balance, the chance of falling is reduced.

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There are more than 3,500 different forms of Qi Gong and a variety of forms are offered in Nevada County. Vibrant Life Qi Gong works with an integrative form of Qi Gong which includes working with the five elements – metal, water, wood, fire, and earth. Each element corresponds to a set of internal organs and different principles, such as enjoyment, relaxation, and centeredness. So, we're back to that walk through the forest! Qi gong helps bring the sensations that you love out in nature into your body to rejuvenate and refresh you.

Trish Gerloff, PT owns Vibrant Life Qi Gong and is a certified Qi Gong instructor and physical therapist. The next "Intro to Qi Gong Workshop" will be from 4 to 5 p.m. March 9 at Grass Valley Yoga. Ongoing classes are offered. RSVP to http://www.VibrantLifeQiGong.com, Trish@VibrantLifeQiGong.com, 530-575-0884.

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