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Discovering Qigong, a Variation of T'ai Chi

Qigong (chee-gung) covers a lot of different types of movements and practices that involve using and feeling the body's energy. That can include being healed by someone else's energy, passively meditating in a way that unblocks and uses your energy better, and moving in a meditative way that unblocks your energy channels.

The whole point of Qigong is to work with your energy — that's the qi (chee) part, which is just another spelling of chi (the word you more commonly see in the West) — to get it to move better so you can feel better and be healthier.

Qigong has innumerable systems — health, medical, spiritual, and even combat-oriented systems — that advocate perhaps hundreds or even thousands of movements and even some passive and non-moving practices. And different teachers and different schools all find what they think are the best ways to accomplish the goal of tapping into the energy.

All of this information can be pretty bewildering to the beginning student! Where do you start? What, if anything, do you add to a T’ai Chi practice? Why should I add something? For now, realize the following about Qigong:

  • Qigong is an important element of a full T’ai Chi practice.

  • You can choose to do more, less, or none of the movements depending on your needs, time, and focus.

  • You may find that Qigong can help you perform better T’ai Chi.

Some people believe that T’ai Chi itself is a complex form of Qigong. Other purists disagree, believing they are separate and distinct mindful arts. But just as modern dance is an offshoot of ballet, both parts can be important if you want to fully delve into, explore, and learn the art.

With so many styles and movements to choose from, there is most certainly a Qigong style for everyone. All it takes is a willingness to explore.

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