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What is Qi Gong? Suzi Burns tells all.

Suzi is a Certified Holden Qi Gong Teacher and has been practicing since she fell in love with Qi Gong (pronounced ‘chi gong’) during her very first class, particularly how she felt during the class and more importantly the difference in her body, energy levels and mood afterwards. She can’t wait to share her passion and love of Qi Gong with you. 

But first, let's answer that all important question - what is Qi Gong?

Suzi Burns, Qi Gong Teacher, Restoration Yard

What is Qi Gong?

Qi Gong is an easy, self-care practice for your mind, body and spirit, accessible to everyone.

Qi gong is a low impact form of exercise incorporating breathwork, stretching and warming up the body followed by a slow, flowing fluid-like sequence of movements, often referred to as ‘the flow’. It is common to finish with a short, simple meditation. Qi gong is often called meditation in motion as once you get comfortable with the slow movements it is common to close your eyes, focus only on your breath and the flowing sequence and you can press pause on all the thoughts buzzing around your head.

What does Qi Gong mean?

Qi, pronounced "chi", is your vital life force energy, the bio-electricity within you that keeps you alive. Gong means work or skill.  With a regular qi gong practice you can become skillful at managing your own energy.

Your energy takes on many forms, such as:

  • The active energy you need to get through your day
  • Still, nurturing energy to help you sleep through the night
  • Stress, in its many guises.

Practicing qi gong allows you to build and nurture the 'good' energy and let go of the 'bad' energy leaving your body feeling revitalised and your mind feeling calm. When you feel good with a calm mind and an energised body you often experience wonderful ripple effects from this relating to your outlook, mood, food choices and sleep patterns, to name a few.

What are the origins of Qi Gong?

Qi Gong is around 5,000 years old. It is one of the five pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  According to TCM the other keys to a happy and healthy life are diet, acupuncture, herbal medicine and massage. Tradition reveals a practice embodying slow movement and breath work called Tao Yin. Tao Yin then split into two disciplines: yoga in India and qi gong in China. 

How is Qi Gong different from Tai Chi?

Qi gong falls into three categories - medical, spiritual and martial. Tai chi is a type of martial qi gong; qi gong could be called the mother of tai chi. Qi gong and tai chi embody similar principles. Both practices embody water like, flowing movements and both cultivate energy for health and vitality. 

I would recommend you start with qi gong as the movement and breathing principles are the same, but it is more accessible. If you enjoy qi gong you can then find out more about tai chi as a specialised form of activity.   

What are the benefits of Qi Gong?

Despite being a slow moving, non-impact activity, qi gong boasts a wonderful array of health benefits. Qi gong is wonderful for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. A regular practice can help you develop yang energy, the active energy we need to go about our day and also cultivate yin energy, the kind of energy we need to nurture a solid, consistent sleep pattern. Sleeping well is instrumental to a plethora of health concerns such as low mood, hormonal issues, weight gain, focus and concentration.

Qi gong helps with a myriad of health and wellbeing problems, including

  • Improve cardiovascular health and circulation
  • Balance hormones, especially during perimenopause and menopause
  • Bolster your immune system
  • Build muscle strength and resiliency
  • Improve digestion
  • Foster greater physical and mental balance and coordination
  • Enhance your body’s inherent ability to breathe deeply
  • Experience deep relaxation and in so doing create harmony and balance in your whole system

Can anyone practice Qi Gong?

Yes! Qi gong is one of, if not the most accessible forms of exercise. There are no bendy, pretzel like positions to try and get into in qi gong. If you have limited mobility you can perform a lot of the moves sitting in a chair. 

Are there different types of Qi Gong?

Yes, there are thousands of different types of qi gong. I recommend you find a fully qualified teacher and ask them about their style of qi gong and try one of their classes to see if you like it. 

How often would you recommend practicing Qi Gong?

A regular qi gong practice reaps cumulative effects on your health. Any amount of time practicing qi gong is going to be beneficial for your health and wellbeing. Two or three times a week is going to help you feel amazing. But you will experience the benefits of going once a week as you feel less stressed and calmer after a class, and who does not want to feel like that??

Why do you like teaching Qi Gong at Restoration Yard?

I love teaching qi gong at the Restoration Yard. The Studio is a beautiful, quiet space conducive for tuning in to your own energy and performing an activity which is so therapeutic. Qi gong has a close connection with nature – lots of the moves have names relating to trees, water, animals and birds. Being in the middle of Dalkeith Country Park allows that connection in all (Scottish) weather!

Why not give qi gong a try. I look forward to seeing you in class! 

Book Your Place Now

Fancy joining Suzi's class every Thursday from 10am - 11am, book your place here. Want to find out more about our wellbeing classes in The Studio? Head to the class calendar here and choose the perfect class to suit you.