In the world of chinese medicine, no word is more known or maybe even more used than “Qi” (pronounced “chee”). Qi, or life force, is the very foundation of Chinese Medicine and all understanding of the human mind, body, and spirit and it’s connection to the natural world is based on this invisible force. Qi can be understood as the creative or formative principle associated with life and all processes that characterize living entities. All animate forms in nature are manifestations of Qi. This force is that which enlivens the body and matter is just the formation of Qi. The analogy of a flowing river or the nature of air is often used to describe Qi – just as fresh air moves freely or rivers flow fluidly, so does healthy Qi and just as polluted air or water are constrictive, stagnant Qi feels stuck and heavy.
There are many different types of Qi. The two basic types are yuan (or source, congenital Qi) and the other is acquired Qi (from the food we eat and the air we breathe) – both are interdependent on one another. We are each born with a certain amount of congenital Qi from our parents that is based on genetics. Throughout life, we can conserve our congenital Qi by living a healthy lifestyle (i.e. eat healthy, exercise, self care) or we can choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle (i.e. drug use, smoking, being sedentary, eating a processed diet) which depletes or Qi. Thus, someone born with strong congenital Qi can disrupt it with poor life style choices and someone that might be born with weaker congenital Qi but takes care of themselves can bolster their life force with acquired Qi.
Acupuncture is a tried and true way to move, harness, and harmonize Qi. Coming in for your weekly or monthly treatments does wonders for your body’s energy flow and well-being but there are many exercises and breath work you can do in between! Here are a few examples of QiGong exercises you can do at home to get yourself centered and feeling food before the holidays and winter season!