Qi Gong: A Gentle Way to Soothe Stress

gi gong hands

Qi (pronounced CHEE) means your life force or energy. Gong means practice or exercise, so Qi Gong simply means practice to build up your energy.

Qi Gong can be done anywhere, anytime because the main thing is internal, not external. While the slow moving hands are often part of the practice, it is primarily about noticing your alignment, slowing your breathing, allowing your energy to ow easily throughout the body. It can be done lying down, sitting, standing or walking. It allows one to become more calm, centered, balanced and aligned with ease.

“Less is more” often applies to Qi Gong. Less thinking; relax the mind. Less push; relax the body. Instead of forcing the moves, allow them to come naturally as though a gentle wind blew your arms.

Centering is key. Pretend that a cord goes from the center of the earth, up through the ground, through your center and out through the top of your head into space. Align yourself with this cord, so that your head is lifted, spine is lengthened, pelvis relaxed and you feel balanced.

Some of the movements

  • Gathering Qi in 6 Directions and mixing in the body
  • Tree
  • Bird
  • Ball between hands
  • Rub the ball
  • Push up head
  • Hands to heaven and earth
  • Golden chicken standing on one leg
  • Moving rose petals across the lake
  • Push hands
  • Breast stroke swim
  • Bringing in heaven and earth with little circles
  • Hand breathing
  • Open heart
  • Closing
  • Song

While specific moves are part of many practices, once you can feel the basics, you can make up your own moves. Pay attention to your feet and how they feel on the earth. Slow your breathing with deep breaths so that your belly moves out with the in-breath. Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth just behind your front teeth to allow connection of an internal energy circuit. At the same time, relax the jaw and the rest of your muscles. Then, let your body move.

If you are out in nature, you may feel like a young tree with your roots deep and your trunk flexible. Notice how you would feel if the wind blew your limbs. Many Qi Gong practices come from observation in nature and mimicking the moves. Become one with the nature that surrounds you.

Energy from the sun feels one way and energy from the moon and stars feels differently. Try soaking in each and notice how you feel inside. Try a babbling brook and a deep still lake. e ocean with its rhythmic waves carries quite a unique energy. If you can not visit the place of your desire, you can imagine it and get into the ow of that area.

Feeling qi is a fun practice. You can start with feeling qi in nature, like a tree. Place your hands several inches from the tree and move in slowly toward the trunk. Notice when your hands start to feel something. It may feel like a gentle pressure or a tingling or something else. Notice where the change begins. at is part of the tree’s energy field.

Try feeling your own energy field. The easiest way I find is to hold your hands out in front of you, like you were holding a ball. As you breathe in, make the ball big and as you breath out, make it small. As your hands come slowly closer to one another notice any sensation. You are sensing your own energy field.

You can try this pressure on any other part of your body and just notice how it feels. If you gently press on this energy field as you do your movements, it may enhance your practice.

As you finish your practice, focus your energy into your lower abdomen, a couple of inches below your belly button. is is the storage area for qi.

Then rub your hands together and rub your face. Rub around your eyes, on either side of your nose, your ears, all over your head and neck. Put the heel of your hands over your ears and then thump gently with your fingers on the back of your head.

Next, put your palms together and use one hand to wipe up the inside of the other arm and down the back side. Do each move about 3 times.

Then, make an “X” across your chest by going from the right shoulder to the left hip and left shoulder to right hip.

You may want to sit down to wipe down the front side of your legs and up the back side. Then rub the bottom of your feet about 36 times.