Qigong - The inner working of Enegy Systems
There are many Eastern Cultures that traditionally used energy within the body to heal one self and others. Energy is within us and all around us. The human body contains a vital life force also called Prana, qi (pronounced “chee”)/Chi, or Kundalini. Vitality is a crucial part of living a healthy life.  Qigong (“chee-gong”) is an ancient Chinese health method that combines graceful movements with mental concentration and breathing to increase and balance a person’s vital energy. Qi translates to energy or life force. Gong refers to cultivation which can be defined as practice, skill, mastery and gongfu. Gonfu like Martial Arts is an achievement through great effort.  Qigong is the practice of interconnections between man, nature and the Universe. Qigong utilizes physical movements as mindful meditation to promote the flow and absorption of energy within the human body. This health method engages the individuals to take more responsibility for their own health care and achieve benefits for their body, mind, and spirit. Qigong is not just a physical exercise system or a healing technique; it is a way of being. Balance is the key to harmony and connection with all things in the Universe.  This practice increases peace of mind, heart, and spirit. Along with healing self, energy can be used to heal others. Meditation increases the internal chi and absorption of external energies which then can be directed to help others. There are numerous ways that can be used to increase one's internal life force. In Qigong there are three main DanTian energy centers that store and transmit qi through the body. There are also 12 main meridians with numerous tributaries. The main 12 meridians correspond to twelve main organs in the body. The energy is balanced with Yin and Yang.  These three centers are called the Three DanTians. The Three DanTians are strategically positioned along the Taiji Pole in order to facilitate maximum energy transference. The ultimate goal of energy work is a complete transformation of the body's Jing, Chi (Qi), and Shen. Jing, Chi (Qi), and Shen are the three fundamental energies necessary for human life also referred to as the "Three Treasures of Man." In order to accomplish transformation, gather and transform Jing into Chi (Qi) in the Lower Dantian. Once Chi is formed it is transformed into Shen in the Middle Dantian. Next, is the transformation of Shen into Wuji (the absolute openness of infinite space) in the Upper Dantian. Lastly Wuji is merged into Dao (divine energy).  These three Dantians are connected to outer forces known as Heaven, Earth, and Man. Jing is considered the reproductive essence, therefore the most Yin (passive, creative, feminine) and is linked with Earth Chi. Jing can be associated with heat gathered in the Lower Dantian. Qi (Chi) is related to atmospheric energy or Heaven and Earth blended energies. Once Jing is converted to Chi in the The Middle Dantian it is associated with vibration.  The transformation of Chi to Shen (Spirit) in the Upper Dantian is associated with light, and therefore considered the most Yang (Sun, Sky, Male) of the three. The Taiji Pole connects the three energy centers and allows flow of various life-force energies. A more elaborate description of the three Main Energy Centers of the Qigong system are as follows: The Lower Dantian is the Energy most familiar to martial artists and meditators because it is the first place on which they are trained to focus their concentration. This is the center of physical strength and the source of stamina. In Japanese it is called the “hara” located in the lower abdomen, in the center of the triangle formed by drawing a line between the navel, (lower back), and perineum. These three points form a pyramid facing downward. This configuration allows the Lower Dantian to gather the energy from the Earth. The Lower Dantian is the major storage area for the various types of Kidney energies. The Kidney energies are linked to the prenatal energies and provide the foundation for all other types of energy (like Jing, Chi, Yin, and Yang) in the body. Jing is connected to the first level of Wei Qi (Aura). This level of Protective Chi circulates outside the body.  The Lower Dantian acts as a reservoir for heat and energy. The Kidneys control the Water element in the body. With focused concentration and meditation, the Jing in the Lower Dantian is refined and transformed to produce Chi energy. When water becomes heated it steams. The steam is the cultivated Chi. The Heart is the primary organ related to the Middle DanTian. The Lungs and the Thymus Gland are also important to the Middle DanTian. The collection of Chi (Qi) represents the body's reservoir for mental and emotional vibrations and energy. The process of changing Chi to Shen is basically kinesthetic energy transforming into spiritual consciousness. The Middle DanTian is connected to the second level of Wei Qi around the outside of the body. The Postnatal energies called Zong Qi in the Middle DanTian nourish the Heart and the Lungs.  Traditional Chinese believed that the Kidneys assist the Lungs during the breathing cycles. Shen is housed in the Middle DanTian to control all functions of the Yin organs. The Heart is literally referred to as emotions and feelings. The Spirit is affected by all emotions and feelings. Chronic stages of negative emotions drain energy. In the article “Psychoneuro Immunology” by Dr. Candace Pert the brain and white blood cells contain the same neurotransmitters and biochemicals that constitute consciousness awareness, which are created by white blood cells. The brain, abdomen, and the blood have their own consciousness and nervous systems. The ancient Chinese believed that consciousness is contained throughout the body via the Shen, which resides in the Blood. The Upper Dantian collects the Chi of Heaven and represents the spiritual aspect of man and his connection to the divine. It is connected to the third field of Wei Qi. Spiritual intuition and psychic perception increase with the flow of Shen. The body’s senses stay in communication with the Heart and the Shen. The material foundation for the Shen is the Jing and Qi. Jing-Shen is translated by the Chinese as mind or consciousness. A practitioner connects the Yang Chi of Heaven which is made of energy from celestial bodies such as the sun, moon, planets, and stars. The Upper DanTain is located in the center of the Brain where the Pineal, Pituitary, Thalamus and Hypothalamus Gland are found. Healing another person may consist of absorbing universal and environmental energies into the Upper Dantian through the top of the head, Third Eye, and the center of the forehead.  The healer then directs these energies to the individual through either the Third Eye of the center of the forehead points. Shen can enter and exit the body from the Upper Dantian by the three points by your Third Eye, or top of the head. In Yogic or Reiki terms, Shen energy would consist of channeling internal and external chi through your Crown and Third Eye Chakras. The three energy centers in the body that connect to the meridians to balance Yin and Yang need to be maintained by Qigong exercises, meditation, positive life style choices and healthy dietary habits. Ancient healing systems should not be overlooked or taken for granted with Western Medical sciences. A drug can only pacify symptoms of a disease or illness, but your spirit can actually cure it!
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