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Natural Awakenings

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day: Cultivate Your Vital Life Force Energy

On April 30, 2011, World Tai Chi & Qigong Day exhibitions and teach-ins in hundreds of cities in 65 nations on six continents will unfold, as people gracefully move into and glide through sequences of poses, practicing the age-old Chinese exercises of qigong and Tai chi. Qigong means cultivating one’s vital life force energy (qi) over time. As a practice, it combines movement, self-massage, meditation and breathing. Tai chi is the most well-known and popular moving form of qigong; it is essentially meditation in motion.

Reported benefits of Tai chi include improved posture, balance and flexibility, muscle strength and definition, energy, stamina and agility, all while reducing stress and promoting a general sense of well-being. Since the American Heart Association reported on Tai chi’s effect of lowering blood pressure in older adults a decade ago, supporting science has been emanating from the Mayo Clinic, National Institutes of Health and American Cancer Society. Extensive medical studies conducted in China underscore qigong’s ability to ease chronic problems such as hypertension, allergies and asthma, and to improve cardiovascular health.

Roger Jahnke, doctor of Oriental medicine, author of The Healer Within and director and chief instructor of the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai chi, says, “When you cultivate balance and harmony within yourself, or in the world—that is Tai chi. When you work and play with the essence and energy of life, nature and the Universe for healing, clarity and inner peace—that is qigong.”

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