“Chi kung” or “Qi gong” is a general term used in reference to different practices – some moving, some static, some meditative/contemplative – but all involving the accumulation, movement, and storage of “qi”. That then leads to the question as to what is chi?
That would be the part where one stumbles a bit. Qi is the energy, in its varying forms and qualities, that permeates the world of nature, including one’s own body and the universe itself. There is “heaven qi”, “earth qi”, etc. The chi that we are concerned with, that is said to flow throughout the human body, can be thought of as a sort of bioelectric energy. Some may think that the existence of qi is a load of poppycock – or a lie, falsehood meant to deceive the weak-minded and ignorant.
Now…I can only speak to the truth of my experience not to any universal truth. I have had the experience of an awareness of a flow through parts of my body after and/or while performing some exercise or a Taiji Chuan set (which can be described as moving Chi Kung, though it is so much more than that). Often the experience of chi would translate into a heating and/or vibrating of the extremities – often the hands, the feet, the arms and the legs also; or a felt heating up of the belly-button area. The sensations I felt were very pleasant, and calming of one’s spirit – i.e. a distinct lessening of one’s normal state of low-level anxiety, if not outright disappearance of such anxiety and tension.
I cannot speak with any authority on the existence of chi, but my experience would convince me that there is something to it and that increasing the flow of stagnant chi and clearing energy blocks and gathering chi from nature and the universe can provide numerous benefits.
I will go into more detail about these benefits and different styles/types of Chi Kung in a future post.