About Chi Kung

Chi Kung (pronounced chee gung) or Qigong is a form of contemporary movement exercise which sets its roots deeply in an ancient Chinese health care system. Pictorial evidence reaches back as far as 4,000 years ago. It was originally known as Dao-Yin and has deep connections with Taoism, the philosophy of inner and outer true nature and honouring of the yin yang perpetual dance. There is much information on the Web for you to research should you so desire, the following is a culmination of 15 years of personal study and practice.

Chi/Qi: the primordial energy that creates life. Chi is found in the air, in our food and in our connections with the Earth and to Spirit. Chi animates all life forms, and without it we die.
Kung: means work with a skill, a cultivation process requiring time and effort.
Chi Kung: translated means 'energy cultivation work'.

The movements are designed to encourage the flow of this vital Chi around the body. Humans are a natural conduit for Chi which runs through invisible channels (meridians) in the body. Chi flow inspires the innately self healing processes to promote truly harmonious health with Chi naturally being gathered and stored at the energy reservoirs (Dan Tiens). The exercises can be adapted to be accessible to all, the young and old, able and less able. The idea is to find your Chi Kung, what works for you!

Chi Kung is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and can be used prescriptively. It's found at the root of Tai Chi and other martial arts like Kung Fu, also being associated with Taoist and Buddhist philosophies. Chi Kung allows an internal (nei dan) centred awareness helping you find your own true resource of power for creative and healing activities. Becoming more aware of your presence in the 'now' present moment gives a sense of expansion and potential, the very opposite expression of the pressured sense that time constraints can exert on us all.

Chi Kung movements

Or 'forms' are not as complex as Tai Chi and for some of us this is a relief! This gives you time to really get what is going on structurally as they are generally easy to follow and repeated. As you get to know them, eventually you no longer need to ‘think’ about what you are doing, co-ordination with the breath and the feeling of the Chi guides you and the movements can become effortless. They are designed to mobilize the joints, lengthen and release tight muscles and stimulate the nervous system. Also included are breathing exercises, static postures, balance and walking methods, tapping and shaking, sounding, meditation and visualization. These all combine to encourage a grounded calm body and a sparkling clear mind to place us is the optimum place for cultivating Chi.

What emerges is a graceful moving meditation, where your mind drops down a gear into the alpha rhythm range of aware relaxation, a place where natural self-healing occurs. This encourages a meditative state where stillness becomes a potent possibility. Standing meditations give time for the Chi created by the movement to settle where it needs to be in the system. Chi follows the mind too, so yielding to the neutral meditative state allows the wisdom of the Chi to be attracted to where it is necessary, or by adjusting your focus to a particular area or Chi pathway is the discipline encouraged here.

Some Chi Kung movements (forms) take their inspiration from observing how animals move, walk, observe their surroundings, moving with a purpose, fluidity and grace, yet with apparent minimum effort. Other Chi Kung movements resonate with TCM Five Element Theory and encourage Chi along meridian lines (energy channels) and around organs or specific areas of the body.

All Chi Kung forms and focussing postures cultivate your relationship with your Dan Tiens (centres of energy or 'elixir' fields). Movements begin from and return to the lower Dan Tien (at the belly) with the relationship between the Dan Tiens growing the more you cultivate your Chi. As the Chi refines it rises up to the middle Dan Tien at the heart level, encouraging us to be guided by our true heart sense, and then on to the upper Dan Tien at the brow, engaging with our spirit and conection to Source, the Tao. This is the protocol for exploring Internal Alchemy.

Elemental Chi Kung

Elemental Chi Kung is a progressive approach to Chi Kung that incorporates classic styles and philosophies with modern bodymind and energy concepts.

The approach explores body and Chi awareness as a way to deepen into our internal Chi flow through movement, stillness, meditation and breath. A creative space is sought to allow our essential nature to express itself and bring about transformation. The approach emphasizes the Five Elements as the foundations of Chi Kung.

At the centre of that elemental foundation is a connection to the Earth element. An exercise that promotes this and releases body tension is shaking. The simple natural vibrations produced (sound can be used too) clear tension in the muscles, organs and other structures enabling you to drop into your ‘WuChi’ posture more effectively. This is the stance of primal energy, a position which you grow from and return to, again and again, deeply resourcing.

The Five Element theory overview

Earth – supports your fundamental physical and energetic structure with corresponding body organs the stomach, spleen and pancreas. Colour yellow.
Metal: promotes lung, colon and skin health, alchemical processes, clarity and appropriate boundaries. Colour white.
Water: encourages a natural flow in movements and fortifies the kidneys and bladder, promoting bone and nerve health. Regulates the body's natural Chi levels. Images and the transformational qualities of Water are used as a metaphor for Taoist philosophies. Colour deep blue/black.
Wood: tonifies your liver and gall bladder to assist the detoxification process, to enable natural growth and creativity. Encourages a lengthening and strengthening of muscles and tendons. Colour green.
Fire: enhances creative expression, passion for life and joy, stimulating the heart and small intestine. Colour red.

Air is not traditionally part of TCM, but is an essential element to breathing, the rhythm and depth of which regulates the pace of many Chi Kung movements.

New Forest Chi Kung classes and workshops revolve around the seasons and elements, see the Class Times or Workshops pages.


One of the immediate benefits is of Chi Kung is stress relief. Regular practice has a cumulative effect, helping clear physical stagnations and old mind and body patterning. Your energy will increase, although initially there may be some much needed rest and recuperation, along with heightened immunity, all this can lead to a better quality of health in your life, keeping you vital for longer.
Stress is responsible for more than 75% of all illness and diseases today. Just 15-30 minutes of Chi Kung a day can help to reduce symptoms of stress and therefore manifestation of disease.

Conditions which respond well to Chi Kung

Arthritis, asthma and breathing disorders, back pain, balance issues, cancers, cerebral palsy, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, circulatory disorders, cysts, depression, digestive ailments, fibromyalgia, headaches and migraine, heart problems, high and low blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, kidney disorders, infertility, insomnia and other sleep problems, M.E. myofascial dysfunction, neuralgia and peripheral neuropathy, osteoporosis, Parkinsons, rheumatism, sciatica, shoulder problems, sinusitus, stress-related disorders, strokes and more!

The idea is to find your Chi Kung, what works for you as an accessible potent resource for the rest of your life.


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