9 – Qi Gong Increases Longevity and Overall Quality of Life
My favourite translation of Qi is ‘Your present quality of aliveness.’
I am in my 50’s and am becoming tangibly aware that the next 50 (or so, hope, hope) will include a gradual and inevitable ‘closing of the curtains ‘of various aspects of my aliveness.
A small sadness arises from within at the inevitable end of being. A great joy arises from within at the realization that I can experience every second with gratitude, playfulness and relatively good health.
Qi Gong comes from Daoism and Daoism celebrates the gift of life through longevity practices like fasting, special diets, meditation and Qi Gong. Daoists are famous around the world for being people who often live very long lives – often over a hundred years.
Your Three Treasures
In Traditional Chinese Medicine and Daoism, one of the most common ways to assess and improve your vitality, fertility and longevity was through a conscious relationship with your San Bao – your Three Treasures. Your three treasures are Jing (Essence), Qi (Aliveness), and Shen (Consciousness/Spirit). Each of these aspects of your health and day-to-day experience of life has unique needs as you age. They also need to cooperate and maintain an optimal balance.
Jing is most commonly translated as ‘Essense‘, or what is essential for optimal health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jing refers to the material substances that are assimilated (minerals, vitamins, amino acids) and created by your amazing body (hormones, neurotransmitters, and enzymes). Long before we knew about these essential substances, Daoists were experimenting with diets and practices like Qi gong to optimize their Jing.
How full are your batteries?
How is Your Mojo?
How is your vitality?
How is your mineral health?
The best ways to build your Jing include a Nutrient-Dense diet, deep sleep, stress reduction or deep relaxation exercises.
Qi is usually translated as Life -Force or Vital Energy. This can confuse people because it makes Qi sound like a substance. I usually translate Qi as circulation or communication when I am speaking about health and as present Quality of Aliveness when I am speaking of Qi in the Universal sense. Qi and Jing are both equally determining aspects of your body’s vitality, your mood, and your quality of life.
By ‘quality of life’, I mean the felt sense quality of this moment or any given moment of your life. One of the secrets of how Qi Gong helps people feel amazing is playfulness. In almost every Qi Gong practice that I do, I remind myself to let go of the serious parts of life and Qi Gong for a while and just move and breathe and feel into my experience for something unexpected. Sometimes this creates an emotional release, but most of the time it feels like receiving a gift, like a new toy.
Qi wants to flow, connect and share aliveness.
Each of your internal organs has its own quality of Qi. As long as everything gets where it is going, shares the information and support that it has, and can keep transforming into other qualities, properties and necessary functions for life, you will be healthy.
Each of your emotions has a quality of aliveness, a Qi that can bring wisdom or eventually cause a form of subtle injury. A regular Qi gong practise helps reduce stress and promote emotional intelligence, as well as help process previous emotional wounds and wrongs.
Shen is usually translated as Consciousness or Spirit. I like to add the subtle context of what consciousness or attention experience in each moment. This shift in meaning goes away from the ‘ghost’ aspect of spirit and towards the opportunity to become present to your conscious existence – in every moment of Aliveness/Qi and Mojo/Jing.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shen includes all elements of human conscious awareness (perception, knowledge, memory, thought, feeling, implicit memory (trauma), and psychic phenomenon like intuition, dreams, channelling and seeing ghosts.
Although modern medicine is unlikely to measure or validate the concept of Spirit, leading-edge science is showing that coherent states alter the shape and effectiveness of the Heart Tous ( the biomagnetic field that emanates from your heart and nervous system and surrounds your whole body.
If the energetic model of TCM is connected to the health of the hear torus, and I think one proves the other, your state of mind, the aliveness of your nervous system, your ability to find stillness, will all affect your body’s organs and vital functions.
Your vitality and longevity depend on the quality, resilience, and collaboration of these three fundamental aspects of being alive and having a body.
Your Quality of life
If you are pushing through the stress of life, or if you are living through the chaos and oppression of a chronic illness then focusing on a regular practice, even just 20 minutes a few times a week could change your life.
If you are living half in your life and a half in the disorienting numbness and shock of trauma and/or addiction, then there is a 90% chance you are experiencing existential pain. (See<?) Meditation, Qi Gong, Yoga, and other practices can be adjusted to focus on transforming that pain back into aliveness.
In previous articles in this series, I have shown how Qi Gong can reduce pain, promote tissue repair, improve coordination, focus, memory, mood, mindset, and sleep, balance stress hormones, metabolism, and reduce inflammation.
There are many reasons that Qi Gong can improve your vitality, longevity, and quality of life, but there is only one way to find out what it is like.
Remember, your Qi is your present quality of experience.