Since Chi Kung (also spelt Qi Gong) is one of the 5 most typed key word on Meditation France, amongst others, we can wonder why so many people practice Chi Kung nowadays. I would say there are several reasons. According to my experience as a chi kung instructor, when I started teaching the techniques I had learnt for the last 15 years, lots of people (in France particularly) had no clue as to what chi kung was. When I explained what my occupation was to people who were asking, they were always surprised when I mentionned I was teaching chi kung. Their eyes were big with questioning. Now, chi kung is being taught everywhere, even in the smallest village!
Why has chi kung become so famous? First, I think that a lot of people turn their back to allopathic medicine as far as their health is concerned. They realize that this king of medicine is really limited to help prevent and maintain real health and well-being. They also realize that medicines supposed to heal their ills are unfortunatly causing other side effect ills. In the US, drugs side effects and medical treatments are the third cause of death after heart diseases and cancer (See China Study from Colin Campbell, page 16). So a lot of people are turning to other healing forms to maintain a good health or to regain it. They have understood that the present medical system cannot really take care of their health nor of their well-being in a daily manner, apart from urgency, broken limbs and other kind of situation where allopathic medicine is excellent.
Chi kung is a martial art aiming to manage energy inside the body (fast way to describe it!). It is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine principles (TCM) that have been existing for several thousand years. In fact, the expression Chi Kung can be translated as «conscious energy mastering, conscious energy control». And because of its principles, this art, this concept, act as an umbrella for all the other TCM arts: acupuncture, feng shui, taoist diet, chi nei tsang, herbology, taï Chi, moxibustion and taoist meditation. When practiced regularly and with its movements, breathings or meditation (or a combination of all these), chi kung optimizes health because the chi flows well, and consequently, the blood also. And when blood flows well in the body, health prevails. On all planes: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Such is the TCM concept.
So, what happens is that more and more people are attracted by this social phenomenon, which they hear about by word of mouth mainly, or other means. According to me, chi kung will be around for long, like yoga. What is particularly important with chi kung is that, as soon as people start to practice, they immediatly feel better, see their health improve and feel they are in control of their wellbeing. And they also realize that this tool has an impact on all of their human aspects, not only their physical aspect. They are actually entering the the taoist territory, whose ultimate goal is to find the Way (middle way or middle path). This tool ultimately aims for spiritual (not religious) wellbeing, but not without first passing through physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. This is done through varied practices. And, presently, lots of people are really looking to find and give a spiritual meaning to their lives, including their phycial lives. Mantak Chia has created a fantastic Taoist system with exercises and meditations that include all these aspects. It is a progressive system. First you go to kinder garten, then you go for a PhD!
So the persons who are practicing realize that chi kung is benefical in their life in several aspects: it balances out Yin and Yang, harmonizes and tonifies internal organs, calms down the nervous system, activates the energy flow in the meridians, enhances blood circulation, increases peristaltic movement, deepens the breath, calms down the heart, reduces stress drastically as well as anxiety, depression, tiredness and mood swings. One of its main principles is that it transforms stress, fear, anxiety, hatred or anger into vitality and energy (See Journal of Psychosomatic Research, vol. 33, pp. 197-206). Thus, when people realize that chi kung can do all that (and more if we carry on with more advanced practices like Kan and Li), they adopt without any difficulty such a practice and integrate it in their day-to-day life. As a result, they have more energy, more vitality, a stronger immune system and a better health generally speaking. And to that we can add higher awareness and consciousness, and also a meditative way of behaving.
I offer workshops including weight loss, medical and energizing chi kung exercises, as well as meditative and spiritual techniques. First of all, it is important to say that chi kung consists of the art and aptitude to direct chi. Let's be more precise! It is a method coming from TCM through which the practitioner does physical and mental exercises, bringing in his or her subjective initiative. To reach his or her goal, the practitioner must combine mental intention, postures and breathing so that the exercise has an effect on the whole organism. On one hand, chi kung autoregulates the organism's functional activities and maintains a dynamic balance. On the other hand, it allows the body to create a chi storing reaction by reducing chi consumption and by increasing its storing. Chi kung thus regulates Yin and Yang, brings energy in the meridians and other vessels, and it also allows external chi to be emitted. The weight loss, medical or energizing chi kungs taught in my workshops use the same principles and give the same results.
There are countless types of chi kung. In China, TCM specialists once knew, and still do, how to create varied breathing or physical exercises, massages, meditations, etc. for their patients. That is what they gave their patients in lieu of drugs. This is why thousands of varied chi kung exist now.
The type of chi kung I teach is a global and integrated method consisting of different approaches that I learnt with varied masters: Mantak Chia (I am a certified instructor of the Universal Tao System), Jerry Allan Johnson (Medical chi kung with Robert Young in Toronto) and Wang Yan (Weight loss chi kung).
My approach takes care of all human aspects: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. According to the principles of Taoïsm, these aspects are related and interdependant. I use meditation (Inner Smile, 6 Healing Sounds), ie. awareness of what is, physical exercises, massage, breathing and diet. I strongly emphasize the Inner Smile and the Iron Shirt (tree position and related postures) because they are, according to me, the basic principles for chi kung to be effecient, Inner smile being the attitude and Iron Shirt being the physical structure and strength. Without these 2 elements, we remain zombies, me included. I also emphasize the taoist diet because according to it, food becomes a medicine. And I do this in my workshops, in private consultation or on-line with my Personlized Energy Check-up. With the results coming from the answers given to 40 questions by the patien or the participant, I am able to give personalized recommendations corresponding to their organs needs in terms of food or chi kung exercises and meditations. This will help them to take care of the unbalances in terms of weight and health. I would qualify this approach as a customized chi kung: exercises and diet are personalized so that weak organs are strengthened and strong organs, supported.
In short, I would say that for me chi kung is a global tool (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), the spiritual aspect being for me the ultimate goal because it transcends all the others, which need to be dealt with first. I love teaching chi kung and I have spent years developping tools (DVDs, CD, e-books, posters, etc,) so that more and more people have access to chi kung, even if they are beginners. They will thus be able to practice chi kung anywhere, anytime all their life if they wish so. Anybody can practice chi kung and at any age!!
(See other meditations on my Medical and Energizing Chi Kung DVD, and on my TAO YIN DVD.)