Chi Kung: A Moving Meditation
~ By Patricia Kay Youngman ~
Meditation has proven itself to be helpful in dealing with chronic pain, as well as other problems, such as anxiety and depression. Jon Kabat-Zinn (“Full Catastrophe Living”), who works with people in pain has found that if people meditate, their medical interventions are four to ten times more effective. Because of this and other benefits of meditation, a daily meditation practice is a requirement for the people who attend his Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He promotes a sitting meditation or a body scan meditation, but there are also moving meditations such as Tai Chi, Yoga, Chi Kung and even just walking. These practices are meditations as long as a person is being mindful.
Chi Kung is the practice that I am most familiar with since I am a Associate Healing Tao Teacher in the lineage taught by Mantak Chia. Chi Kung is a vital Taoist practice. Taoism (pronounced Daoism) is rooted in nature and is a system of techniques that increase mental, physical and spiritual well being and can transform sexual energy into spiritual energy as well as physical health. Taoism emerged about 5,000 years ago from the rich shamanic culture that existed in China since the ice age (www.taoism.net). The Tao means “the Way” and it is rooted in nature. Taoism is the cradle of Chinese culture: art, philosophy, religion, ethics, and traditional Chinese medicine such as acupuncture and herbs. The “Tao Te Ching” comes from the teachings of Lao Tzu. Also, the “I Ching” is Taoist.
Much of Taoism is about Chi which means energy, breath, the primordial life force. Chi runs through the meridians which acupuncture (and acupressure) open. The Taoist practices cultivate, conserve and transform Chi into mental and physical health and higher states of consciousness. We lose Chi through frowning, negative emotions, looking, listening, talking, poor diet, ovulation, and ejaculation (which can be separated from orgasm). We gain Chi through smiling, relaxation, rest, good food, breathing, beauty, things that make us happy, Tai Chi, and Chi Kung.
Chi Kung goes back 4,000 years and the first forms were linked to ancient shamanic meditation and exercises. On the other hand, a Neolithic vessel that is 7,000 years old shows a priest shaman in postures that seem to be early Chi Kung. It could have originated as a form of “remedy dancing” for healing and health. The ancients realized that certain body movements and vocalizations were powerful. Primitive man, from trial and error, discovered that his breath could be manipulated for various purposes. For instance, they discovered the pain of a wound could be decreased by blowing into it with a shss sound (Kit, Wong Kiew, “Chi Kung for Health and Vitality”).
Chi means energy, breath, the primordial life force. Chi runs through the meridians which acupuncture (and acupressure) open. The Taoist practices cultivate, conserve and transform Chi into mental and physical health and higher states of consciousness. We lose Chi through frowning, negative emotions, looking, listening, talking, poor diet, ovulation, and ejaculation. We gain Chi through smiling, relaxation, rest, good food, breathing, beauty, things that make you happy, Tai Chi, and Chi Kung.
Chi Kung means the art of energy and Chi Kung consists of movements that collect and store Chi. With Chi Kung you can pull Chi into your body from the earth, nature, and even the Cosmos. Cultivation of Chi results in optimum health of body, mind, and spirit. It can cure disease, prevent illness, increase vitality, and promote longevity. Specifically, it is good for every system in the body: 1) Increasing bone density, 2) Decreasing high blood pressure and improving heart function, 3) Reducing pain and stress, 4) Decreasing anxiety and depression, and 5) Stimulating the immune system. It is even said to improve relationships.
Youtube on the internet is a good source of Chi Kung (also called Q Kung) movements. There are various Chi Kung teachers in the area and I can teach it too. Tai Chi is much more commonly practiced and taught even though Chi Kung is the Grandmother of Tai Chi. Personally, I find Chi Kung easier since it usually consists of short, discrete movements for various effects as opposed to a long series of Tai Chi movements.
Patricia Kay Youngson is an RN and has a Masters in Counseling, specializing in pain management. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: patriciak.com