Energy flow and you: understanding where your qi comes from

Energy Control plays a Vital role in

 

Often translated as “vital energy,” Qi (pronounced “chee”) broadly describes the energetic force that composes, connects and sustains all things in the universe. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its healing practices of Qigong and Tai Chi, redirecting and optimizing the flow of Qi opens us to our highest potential for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.  

According to TCM, all things, experiences, and beings are permeated with qi — which is essentially the invisible “glue” between mass and matter. It’s the energy that occupies the space in between, so it’s also paradoxically everything and nothing!

This vital life force energy is both individual and universal, equally shaping our unique personal experience and the collective experience of the human whole.

 

Balancing opposites: Yin and Yang

The terms Yin and Yang describe the seemingly opposing qualities of Qi. Yin is the branch of Qi that makes up our tangible world: it’s material, substantial, solid, moist, and cold. The substances that nourish and sustain us — likYin Yange food, water, and air  — are manifested forms of Yin’s energy.

Yang, on the other hand, is the branch of Qi that embodies immaterial energy that often works behind the scenes. Shapeless, it encompasses the subtlety of thoughts, feelings, and vital bodily fluids and functions. Yang is kinetic, hollow, dry, expansive, warm, and light. It animates us from within, powering inner processes such as contemplation, blood circulation, and nerve function.  

Yin and Yang are inseparable and in constant flux. Yin always contains a seed of yang and yang a seed of yin. Understanding the interplay of Yin and Yang, we can consciously harmonise their dynamic qualities to elevate our total health and experience of daily living.

Qi in the human body

As humans, our qi is derived from four primary sources.

  • Yvan Qi: also known as Parental Qi or the “innate vital substance,” this manifestation of qi is inherited from our parents at conception and stored in our kidneys. Throughout our lives, this innate qi is nourished by the essential substances we take into our body: food, water, and air.
  • Zong Qi: also known as Pectoral Qi, this manifestation of energy is stored in our chest and is a product the air we breathe.   
  • Ying Qi: also known as Nutritional Qi, this manifestation of energy uses fuel from the food we eat to circulate nutrients throughout the body via our bloodstream.
    Wei Qi: also known as Defensive Qi, this manifestation of energy uses fuel from the food we eat to defend the body against illnesses. Acting through the connective tissues, glands, sweat, and our abdominal and thoracic cavities, Defensive Qi is the Yang energy of Nutritional Qi.

How Qi functions in your body

  • Actuation: Qi provides the active energy needed for our bodies to grow, develop, and perform essential physiological functions. Qi drives our metabolism, circulation, and body fluid formation.

    Impact of Imbalance: growth and development are impeded, while the optimum
    functioning of our organs, meridians, circulatory system, and
    tissues are weakened. These broad reaching effects on our vital functions and
    substances can create a host of physical and mental issues and imbalances.
     
  • Warming: a source of heat, qi is responsible for regulating body temperature and creating conditions for our essential physiological functions to take place.  

    Impact of Imbalance: as body temperature lowers, we experience cold hands and
    feet, slowed physiological functions, and an intolerance to cooler environmental
    conditions. In the case of excess heat, we become prone to “hot” emotions, such
    as anger, jealousy, and greed.
  • Defending: akin to the immune system defined by Western medicine, Qi protects our bodies against the pathogens and environmental hazards that lead to acute illness and chronic disease.

    Impact of Imbalance: as our defenses are weakened and lowered, we are more
    vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other serious diseases.
  • Containment: Qi binds mass and matter and works to keep our organs and bodily fluids in the right place. It encourages our blood to flow within the vessels, regulates the secretion of sweat, saliva, and urine, and suspends our organs in their proper place. The function of Containment compliments the function of Actuation to create healthy circulatory, metabolic, and digestive systems.

          Impact of Imbalance: when the containing qualities of qi are deficient, we lose both
           our involuntary and voluntary control of bodily fluids (for example, haemorrhage,
           premature ejaculation, and urinary incontinence), in addition to the prolapse
           (sinking) and malfunctioning of our vital visceral organs.  

  • Transformation: possessing the energy of transformation, Qi works to transform food, water, and air into vital essences (for example, digestible food is transformed into blood and energy while indigestible food is excreted as waste).

    Impact of Imbalance: incomplete transformation of essential substances can lead
    us to experience low energy, inadequate nutrition, and a build-up of undigested
    food and waste. As with all other qi imbalances, a weakened capacity for
    transformation impacts our overall health and quality of life.

 

Thanh Van Snake

How to manage your Qi: Qigong


Balancing Qi is a focused practice of the mind and body. It’s a discipline that requires steady visualisation, intentional respiration, efficient movement, and the ability to direct your mind.

Managing Qi for optimum health and vitality is at the heart of Qigong, the Chinese science of human potential and development. Qigong has been refining its approach for over 5,000 years and offers time-honoured techniques to activate our natural physiological and psychological capacities for homeostasis, self-repair, healing, and recovery.   

You can learn all of this and more as a student of White Tiger Qigong. If you’d like to learn a little more about the benefits of Qigong, check out our blog here. Alternatively, if you’re interested in becoming a student of White Tiger, feel free to take a look into our teacher training sessions.

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3 Comments

  1. Tasting the Flavor of Depth | White Tiger Qigong on December 19, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    […] that we have to stop. That comes from energy building exercises when we feel tired to spending energy exercises when we feel an abundance of energy. This brings of balance of Yin and Yang. This is easy to […]

  2. […] Movements: I loved the movements of Emei Baguazhang, but I felt I was not learning or feeling the internal aspect of it. I felt there was much more to Baguazhang by instinct, but after two years of practice I found out my instinct was right. Once I learned Wudang Baguazhang I realized Emei Baguazhang was more like a dance and used in performance, as the movements were very flowery. I realize that this could have been due to who my teachers were although they were very well known in the martial arts/Qigong world. Wudang Baguazhang is not nearly as pretty by any means, but it is a whole lot more effective in terms of Qi development and if need be for self-defense. One major thing I did notice that differed in principles to each other is that Emei Baguazhang was a very flowery, flowing art and much more soft than Wudang Baguazhang.  Wudang Baguazhang had much more “fajing” or Qi release. Within the systems I studied, I found much more movements that contained both soft and hard, slow and fast within the Wudang Baguazhang style. Wudang Baguazhang has a principle of maximum twist in most of the movements while Emei seems to flow more like Yang Style Tai Chi. I felt a much greater benefit with Wudang Bagua although I cannot deny that it feels good to also practice Emei Baguazhang. See our article for more Qigong techniques for generating Qi energy. […]

  3. […] probably heard these phrases before — and like many Eastern medical and philosophical concepts, Qi energy has entered Western pop culture. On one hand, the draw to Qi is promising – it indicates our […]

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