Joseph EllerinHEALING HORIZONSGrand Junction Free Press Health & Wellness Columnist

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March 21, 2013
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HEALING HORIZONS: Tai Chi vs. Qi Gong, which one is for you?

I am as a stone in the ocean of the Dao.I am thrown into it to make ripples that I cannot conceive.My ripples reinforce some but dissolve others.But only when I take the intention out of my ripples can they truly co-exist with others in a harmonious non-intention of thought.For my importance is no greater or less than anyone else's.For each of us is a single tile in the Daosaic.Each of us fulfilling a role that, we need not know the outcome of to make peace with.The Dao asks nothing of us other than that we not ignore its guiding energy; the path that we all must follow to maintain a state of perfect balance with ourselves and those around us.To allow the Yin to nurture the Yang will bring about prosperity, kindness, and love.To allow the Yang to protect the Yin will enact justice, harmony, and balance.Only in balance will you come to know the Dao. - The once and future poet, JonathanThis beautiful poem was written by a Qi Gong (pronounced chee gong) and Tai Chi master. Much has been written about Tai Chi, but much less is written about Qi Gong.Tai Chi and Qi Gong are ancient Chinese systems of exercise which align breath, movement and awareness to bring about healing. Typically, it involves an integration of intention coupled with posture and proper breathing techniques. There are many styles of Qi Gong taught today. Mostly, they are classified as martial, medical, or spiritual, however, they all have the former three conditions in common.Qi Gong practices can take four different forms. • Static Qi Gong requires the practitioner to hold specific postures in much the same way yogis do. The focus of mind required to hold the posture helps channel the mind and consequently the breath and energy. • Meditative Qi Gong involves visualization and focus on "specific ideas, sounds, images, concepts or breathing patterns." • Qi Gong with external aids uses herbs, massage or some other form of external modality to achieve refinement of the energy flow.• Dynamic Qi Gong involves special movements or exercises, again to foster proper energy flow.According to the National Qi Gong Association, people do Qi Gong to maintain health, heal their bodies, calm their minds, and reconnect with their spirit. When these three aspects of our being are integrated, it encourages a positive outlook on life and helps eliminate harmful attitudes and behaviors. It also creates a balanced lifestyle, which brings greater harmony, stability and enjoyment. Other benefits include increased strength, coordination and flexibility, reduced pain and stiffness, better balance, enhanced sleep, and greater awareness and calmness.Many people inquire as to the difference between Tai Chi and Qi Gong. The difference between Tai Chi and Qi Gong lies in their martial applications. One could say that Tai Chi is a martial art and Qi Gong isn't. The movements of Tai Chi have martial art roots and applications, whereas the movements of other forms of Qi Gong don't, according to Chi, on the other hand, has practices not found in other forms of Qi Gong. One of these practices is called push-hands. Push-hands is a two-person contact exercise that involves giving and receiving force in the form of pushes. Both rely on proper breathing, proper posture and intention.Qi Gong's great appeal is that everyone can benefit, regardless of ability, age, belief system or life circumstances. Anyone can enrich their lives by adding Qi Gong to their daily routine. Joseph is a licensed acupuncturist, classic homeopath, and registered massage therapist. He practices at Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions, located at 2139 N. 12th St. #7. For more information, call 970-256-8449.

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The Post Independent Updated Mar 21, 2013 11:57AM Published Mar 21, 2013 11:55AM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.