Qi-Bytes- Qigong Through the Lens of Sports Science

Sarah Divine’s ten-week exploration of key aspects of White Tiger Qigong through the lens of sport & exercise science

My passion for Taoist Medical Qigong together with sport and exercise science led me to create this free weekly sports science investigation of White Tiger Qigong techniques, with topics such as how energy is enhanced by learning to truly relax, how to maintain fascial health and why this is important, how developing proprioception is essential for improving balance and stability, how you can measure your progress with key performance indicators and much more. Let me explain why this came about.

I have come to know that the gains from regularly practicing Qigong are multi-faceted and enduring. While we can categorize these into physical, physiological, psychological, emotional, and spiritual benefits, it would seem that progress in one area is inextricably linked to the cultivation of the other components.

Traditionally within Taoist Medical Qigong, understanding this unified interaction between the physical, mental, and emotional bodies require study of the relationship between the human condition and the intrinsic patterns of the natural world, primarily through the teachings of Lao Tzu, the I-Ching, and Classical Chinese Medicine (forerunner of what is now commonly known as Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM). Furthermore, within TCM theory, multilevel well-being is dependent on the free flow and cultivation of Qi (energy) in the body, so developing experiential knowledge of what Qi actually is, what it does, and what it can do is a key part of deriving benefits from Qigong. This means showing up consistently for practice and learning to observe locations, degrees, and qualities of Qi. 

Nevertheless, sport science does provide a useful and exciting reference point from which to observe results, understand and measure changes, and enable planning for future performance goals. Western sports science has begun to approach research into health, well-being, and performance from a more integrated perspective, including within the field of Qigong. Sport and exercise science helps us to understand: 

  • the workings of the human body during exercise, 
  • how different sports, movement modalities, training programs, environments, and nutrition affect performance,
  • and how physical activity contributes to health and performance, from the smallest physiological change to the net effects. 

Examining the mechanisms of ancient Qigong practices through the modern lens of sport & exercise science assists comprehension of the physical and physiological effects of the practices from anatomical, biomechanical, kinesiological, and exercise physiology perspectives. Additionally, we can study the impact of Qigong on the mind and emotional body from an exercise psychology perspective. We can even see crossovers between TCM explanations and current sports science thinking, albeit couched in different terms. This can not only assist one to have a more global understanding of how Qigong is good for you, but also in modifying one’s practice for specific performance targets. Applying these modern concepts to this age-old practice will give you a window into your future potential and help you to become a better version of yourself. 

Head to the Sport and Exercise Science Playlist on the White Tiger Qigong YouTube channel for more: 

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