Vicki's Jumpstart Guide

What is Chi Kung (Qigong)?

Chi Kung, (also spelled Qigong), sometimes interpreted as “Inner Work” or “ Cultivating Life Force” is often described as an ancient Taoist system of gentle movements designed to enhance physical and spiritual health. Actually it is the name given to a myriad of different systems and exercises, both external/physical and internal/meditative, stemming from China, for the most part, and based on Taoist philosophy.

Ranging anywhere from guided meditation to gentle slow moving exercises, all the way to highly athletic, stamina building forms, Chi Kung is a generic name like Dance. Just as there are many types of dance (Ballet, Modern, Ballroom, Folk, and Tap, for example), there are many systems of Chi Kung (Tai Chi Chuan, Ba Gua, Iron Shirt, Wild Goose, and so on).

Just as each of those types of dance might be further broken down, (for example, modern dance would include the styles of artists like Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Pilabolous, etc.), so too each system of Qigong, like Tai Chi or Wild Goose, has in itself many different styles. In fact, "Chi Kung" ("Qi Gong") is a relatively recent name which emerged in China in the 50s as an umbrella to encompass all forms of exercise geared toward health and healing.

What these systems have in common is that they are all methods of cultivating chi, enhancing the practitioner’s ability to work with her or his own life force. As with other types of Oriental medicines like acupuncture or internal medicine, Chi Kung is a method with which to direct our energy to flow through areas where there is stagnation, and to create an internal balance.

Way of Joy Chi Kung is an integrative system of Qigong developed by Vicki Dello Joio.

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