My Inner Chi FAQ

  1. What is the difference between Tai Chi and Chi Kung (Qi Gong)?
  2. How is Yoga different than Tai Chi or Chi Kung (Qi Gong)?
  3. Do these routines have to be done every day?
  4. What is the difference between Chi Kung and Qi Gong?
  5. What is the best time of day to do the routines?
  6. Can anybody practice Chi Kung?
  7. I thought Tai Chi was a form of self-defense.
  8. Do you have to be in good physical shape?
  9. My balance is not very good.  Which practice would be best for me?
  10. I’ve heard that there are different ‘styles’ of Tai Chi.
  11. I recently had surgery. What is the best way to start back into a health program?
  12. I’m not very coordinated.  Will I be able to do these routines?
  13. Do you have to be spiritual to do these routines?
  14. My arthritis is getting pretty bad.  Which routine would be best for me?
  15. These routines are all low-impact.  How long will it take to feel their effect?

  1. What is the difference between Tai Chi and Chi Kung (Qi Gong)?
    There are many similarities between Tai chi and Chi Kung; the gentleness of the movements, the circulation of Chi and the amazing results in helping to heal illnesses.  The major difference is that Tai Chi was originally practiced as a martial art. In Tai Chi the force used is internal fighting with Chi, which needs to be trained and observed with deep awareness.  That is the reason why it is practiced slowly at the beginner level.  When you are totally aware of the circulation of Chi in your body, you will be able to move faster.

  2. How is Yoga different than Tai Chi or Chi Kung (Qi Gong)?
    Yoga and Tai Chi spring from two of the oldest traditions known by men: the Vedic tradition and Taoism.  In essence they are both techniques that guide you toward enlightenment. They both teach that energy is the essence of life.  Chinese call it Chi, Hindus call it Prana.  The cultivation of this energy makes the body a vehicle of transformation. Yoga physical practice is called Asana; Tai Chi practice is characterized by a sequence of movements which are always repeated in the same order, called forms. Both Yoga and Tai Chi can be practiced at a faster pace for more experienced practitioners.

  3. Do these routines have to be done every day?
    Chinese people always say a fisherman doesn’t go fishing one day and let the nets rest in the sand for two days, for the sun will destroy the nets.  The length of your practice is not that important but rather the constancy. It is like planting a seed; a constant supervision is required. If you want a real transformation or healing your practice should be enjoyed every day.

  4. What is the difference between Chi Kung and Qi Gong?
    It is the same activity. It is just a variation in the spelling.  Many years ago when this wonderful art was introduced to the western world it was written Chi Kung, then after years became known as Qi Gong. Qi or Chi is the vital energy; Gong or Kung is the artistry of mastering any activity in life.  It requires repetition and a deep introspection. In the old days it was called Nei Kung.

  5. What is the best time of day to practice?
    There is no right or wrong just proper or improper.  Traditionally it is practiced in the morning time when the sun rises.  In ancient cultures the observance of the sun was of basic importance.  They believed we have a miniature sun inside us and around 4.30 am it should rise in synchronicity with the rising of the sun to find the same balance that the earth has with the Yang, or energy of the sun. Other people need to balance with the moon (Yin energy) and need to practice during the night and especially with the Tai Chi sword during a full moon. As long as your practice benefits your health and doesn’t interfere with your natural cycles then any time of the day is proper.

  6. Can anybody practice Chi Kung?
    Certainly yes, Chi Kung is beneficial even for people who are bedridden.  There are many visualization or meditation techniques that don’t require any movements.  Some other exercises can be practiced in sitting position, such as Chair Yoga.

  7. I thought Tai Chi was a form of self-defense.
    Tai Chi is in fact a martial art and for some people it is the most sophisticated and difficult to master.  It is based on Wu Chi, a mysterious emptiness that is the origin of all force.  One’s opponent should feel that he is pushing air and feels pushed in a way that he can’t ever find his roots. The Tai Chi master has already emptied his heart there is no emotion to be found.  He confronts the enemy with no concept of defeat.  He is empty of anger, revenge, fear or pride.  There is no mind to be found, no concepts of good or evil, winning or losing nor life or death.  He is complete and has all his abilities.  He cannot be defeated because he is not competing.  He is dancing with the opponent’s force and redirecting it; he is playing.

  8. Do you have to be in good physical shape?
    There is no prerequisite to enjoy any of these practices.  You already have Chi.  If your Chi is weak it will make you strong to prevent disease.  If your Chi is too strong or fast it will calm you down.  If the chi is irregular it will balance you.  People are amazed when they rediscover their own Chi. It was there all the time and it’s been craving for attention through pain and discomfort.  If you give attention to your Chi your chronic problems will dissolve.

  9. My balance is not very good.  Which routine would be best for me?
    Tai Chi, Chi Kung and Yoga are excellent for balance. The question is where is your center? All these practices help you to find your center. When you are centered you are balanced and loose. Most people are centered in their heads, many others in their hearts.  Your real center is in your abdomen.  This center has been given to you by nature and needs to be rediscovered.  After you find the abdomen you find the breath which is constantly touching your diaphragm.  After that you find your spine.  Only then you can balance your life.

  10. I’ve heard that there are different ‘styles’ of Tai Chi.
    This is a subject that would require a book to fully explain, which will involve history, similarities and differences in the martial arts and philosophy. Tai Chi Chuan can be traced back to the thirteen century. Some authors attribute the creation of this art to Chang San Feng, a Taoist monk. The most recent forms of Tai Chi Chuan are classified in five different styles.  All names are based in the last names of the creators of the styles.  Chen is the oldest and the foundation of the others.  Yang is the most popular in the world.  There are two Wu styles.  One is popular in Shanghai, the other Wu is called Wu Hao.  Nobody can say one is better than the other.

  11. I recently had surgery.  What is the best way to start back into a health program?
    You should start as soon as possible with your doctor’s approval. Baby sitting something for too long is not recommended.  Sometimes after an operation the motor sensory part of your nervous system is in shock.  If you don’t start moving soon the system will develop permanent amnesia Then you will not recognize the abnormality of your movements as abnormal and you will move incorrectly and unhealthfully, possibly for the rest of your life. You should start cautiously with a gentle practice.

  12. I’m not very coordinated.  Will I be able to do these routines? 
    You don’t need to be coordinated, fast or strong to practice Chi Kung.  You just need to be relaxed and bring you mind to the present moment. Relaxation means that this present moment is more than enough, more that you expected.  It is neither physical nor mental.  It is your whole being in a state of peace.

  13. Do you have to be spiritual to do these routines?
    Spirituality in Taoism means that you put the best of your physical, emotional and mental energies in everything you do.  Cooking could be a spiritual experience if you put the best of all your energies into it.  If you go to the finest restaurant you can’t be sure of the energy in that food, the cook could be a criminal. Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Kung are philosophy in movement.

  14. My arthritis is getting pretty bad.  Which routine would be best for me?
    Chi Kung, Tai Chi and Chi Kung are all good depending on your limitations I would start with Chi Kung and Chair Yoga.  The worst thing for arthritis is the lack of movement.  Kindness toward yourself is the most important aspect of your practice.

  15. These routines are all low-impact.  How long will it take to feel their effect?
    All these routines are low impact and designed to reestablish balance and healing. The perception of your Chi should be experienced in your first session.  Millions of people in China wouldn’t wake up early in the morning if they don’t feel an incredible sensation of well being from practicing these routines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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