traditional Chinese movement exercises


How can Tai Chi & Qi Gong help you?


Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an ancient martial art literally translated as “Supreme Ultimate Force” which became popular in China due to its natural proactive health benefits. It was promoted through the country as a health regime which would help people maintain their mental, physical and energetic health, even through the elderly years.  

Tai chi is an internal martial art that combines philosophy, martial arts, well-being and self-awareness. Considered “moving meditation”, tai chi requires focus of the mind and body synchronized with slow, controlled movements. This low-impact exercise, practiced with relaxed muscles, improves natural posture alignment, balance, and internal energy.

It provides multiple health and physical benefits to a range of people from those with recovering health to those who are physically active already.

The traditional tai chi forms include over 80 moves that take approximately 20 to 30 minutes to perform.


Qi Gong

Qi Gong is an ancient practice which is over 5,000 years old and pre-dates both Tai Chi as well as TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). The concepts in Qi Gong provide one of the foundational concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Qi Gong is pronounced “chi kung” or “chee gong”. Qi translates to “Energy or Life Force” while Gong translates to “Work or Training”. The word, “Qi Gong” is used to refer to energy-related training or practice that originates from China. It is a broad term which covers many forms of exercise or movement meditation practices that involves Qi. 

A Qi Gong form is a series of coordinated and flowing movements which requires a person to focus on body posture, movements, breathing, and mental thoughts. Qi gong activates the naturally occurring physiological as well as psychological mechanisms of self-repair and health recovery. So far, there are over 75 forms identified in the ancient pictogram literature.  These ancient qi gong forms provide the origins to the thousands of qi gong forms practiced today.



The literal translation of Qi Gong is “energy work.” It is an Asian form of yoga that has been around for thousands of years. Much of it is performed while standing, though there are a number of seated sets as well. There are hundreds of systems of Qi Gong that have come from various lineages, and many of them focus on different fields. Many are health oriented, while a separate group comes through the martial arts lineages. 

These systems act to harness willpower, to focus, and to help practitioners channel their energy through their palms. There are also a number of systems from the temples and monasteries that are more focused on spiritual cultivation and depth of meditation. Some involve moving, and others are visualization based. Almost all of them involve specialized breathing, which is coordinated with the activity at hand.

The guiding principle of all these practices, however, is the coordination of the eyes with the body movements, the focus of the mind and the breath, especially for the moving practices. For the more passive, non-movement exercises, the vision is focused inward to explore the inner realms as the breath is guided to various inner chambers. 

– Yoga Journal 

Tai Chi (say “tie chee”) and Qi Gong (say “chee goong” or “chee gong”) are traditional Chinese movement exercises. They are based on two ideas:

  • Energy, called qi or chi, flows through the body along “energy pathways” called meridians. If the flow of chi is blocked or unbalanced at any point on a pathway, it is thought that you may become ill. You do tai chi and qi gong to increase energy (chi or qi) flow and improve health through gentle, graceful, repeated movements.
  • Nature, including the body, consists of opposing forces called yin and yang. Good health results when these forces are in balance. You do Tai Chi and Qi Gong movements in an attempt to help restore the body’s balance of yin and yang.

Tai Chi is a series of movements done either very slowly or quickly to help move the body’s chi. People use tai chi as a way to combine meditation and movement and to improve and maintain health.

Qi Gong involves different movements that may be done in different orders. Some common qi gong movements include raising and lowering the arms, moving the head from side to side, and gently rubbing the ears, feet, and hands.

– HealthLink BC

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