What is “Chi”?
For all its accumulated knowledge, modern scientific culture has yet to identify a satisfying and generally accepted unifying principal that explains the way the universe works. Eastern thought has achieved this conceptualisation through the notion of Chi.
Both thought systems share a similar intuition: the macrocosm (universe) is ruled by the same laws as the microcosm (molecular level), meaning that humans function according to the same principals as the universe. A Chinese proverb states that if you come to understand the microcosm, you can then understand the macrocosm.
Chi refers to a primordial, unifying essence, which is the source of the micro and macrocosm and by that logic of everything in the universe.
It is composed of three aspects:
- Tian Chi or Celestial Chi represents the Yang principal. Its energy feeds our planet and its inhabitants through the influence of the Sun, Moon and all other celestial bodies.
- Di Chi or Terrestrial Chi represents the Yin principal. Its energy emanates from the Earth, which in turn produces the necessary infrastructures responsible for creating and maintaining life on Earth following the celestial influence of Tian Chi.
- Zen Chi or Human Chi refers to the life essence present in our bodies, the product of the harmonisation of Tian Chi and Di Chi. Thus, the energy is born to the Cosmos through which it feeds the Earth, and is accomplished through human beings.
This vision of the dawn of humanity is present in ancient scriptures, but it also narrowly resembles the most prominent theories brought forth by biology and cosmology on the subject:
“Initial signs of life on Earth, simple creatures, were born from the combination of Yin and Yang energies following cosmic radiation. They went through a number of metamorphoses over the course of millions of years, which led to the existence of human beings.“
The life energy that inhabits each being stems both from their forbearers (prenatal energy) and this combination of Celestial and Terrestrial energies. These energies are absorbed by humans through air, food and radiation and are then transformed into human Chi by the five vital organs: heart, lungs, spleen, liver and kidneys (postnatal energy). Within our bodies, the energy is divided into two functions: protective energy (Wei) and nourishing energy (Yong), which feeds our soft tissues. Prenatal energy is transmitted at birth and plays a predominant role throughout our lives.
The Practice of Tai Chi
The saying goes “if the prenatal is inadequate, the postnatal will be uncomfortable”. A human conceived with weak or bad energy will grow to be more susceptible to injuries and disease in a similar, though not identical, logic to that of genetic predisposition. Our prenatal energy is depleted throughout our lives and death comes once there is none left. In their search for longevity, Taoists (also know as The Immortals) developed techniques aiming to slow down the aging process and replenish vital energy, such as those practiced in Kung Fu.
Postnatal energy plays an important role, as it can be harnessed to balance out the deficiencies in prenatal energy. Its quality is the result of the air and food absorbed and consumed by a person. As the Yellow Emperor said it “those who don’t know how to eat don’t know how to live” and Eastern medicine often uses diet as a basis of treatment. Deeper understanding of the combination of Celestial and Terrestrial energies gave way to the science of Feng-Shui. Through it’s application, a person’s Karma can be partially or fully transformed.
Thus, negative mental and physical states of being are directly related to energy imbalances according to Eastern medicine and philosophy.
What is Chi Kung?
Chi Kung directly translates to « persistent energy work ». Its tradition dates back more than 3000 years and was developed in order to improve longevity. Certain elements of this ancient knowledge, such as acupuncture and some forms of physical exercise, were shared with the masses, but its true esoteric secrets were kept within the martial arts communities and Buddhist and Taoist religions. In the past 30 years, these secrets have started to come to light through different publications and a more open manner of teaching.
Chi Kung can be used to attain a number of different objectives. Our school has a therapeutic objective. You will learn a number of techniques aiming to produce, accumulate and better circulate Chi, in order to ameliorate your general state of well being. Chi Kung is accessible to all levels of physicality, as it is not a strength-based practice. Above all, Chi Kung is a preventative system, which means it can be beneficial to those suffering from health issues or not.