How Does Qi Affect Your Life?
Co-authored by Elsa Cordero, MOAM
Let’s begin by discussing the fundamental aspects “Qi“.
Qi is the sustaining form of life – our life force.
It is the most dynamic and immediate energy of the body that results from the interaction of Yin and Yang. It is the energy we share with the universe. It is the invisible form of energy that permeates all living things, humans, plants, earth, and sky. Qi is always changing its eternal life energy, as depicted on the well-known yin and yang symbol.
On a human scale, it is the vital energy that powers our bodies and allows us to maintain our physiological functions as well as our spiritual and mental well-being.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the essence of Qi is described in the following manner:
When Qi condenses, it becomes jing. Fast-moving Qi is considered to be yang, while slow-moving Qi is yin. Blood is considered to be a part of the Qi component of our being. It is said that blood is produced from food that has been ingested after the Qi has been extracted through the action of the spleen. The red blood cells are nutritive and are thus associated with the Ying Qi (yin), while the white blood cells are protective and are associated with Wei Qi (yang).
Qi tonics are comprised of energy and/or blood tonics and are believed to have potent immune modulating properties. They increase our ability to function fully and adaptively as human beings.
The movement of Qi can be compared to the way in which water flows in nature. By flowing from a high to a low concentration, Qi follows the body’s landscape and gathers in a meridian. Meridians provide a natural pathway for the flow of Qi and supply a constant source of energy to different parts of the body, much like the way in which a river supplies water to surrounding channels.
If a river is blocked, all downstream areas relying on the water will be affected. The ecosystem’s balance and harmony will be disturbed as a result of the lack of water and plants and animals cannot survive. Similarly, if the Meridian System is blocked, the supply of Qi to different parts of the body will be interrupted, leading to organ disharmony and disease even if the affected area is a distance from the original blockage.
In order to restore balance and harmony, the optimal flow of the river or Qi must be reinstated. In the case of a river, the debris causing the blockage must be removed in order to reestablish the flow. When the Qi is ample and flowing without impediments, health can be regained.
If for some reason the Qi is deficient or stagnant, then we see the appearance of discomfort and eventually…disease. How does this happen and can you effectively regain free-flowing Qi on your own?
There are Three Major factors that can lead to a blockage of the nourishing flow of life-giving Qi.
Nothing blocks the flow of Qi more than a sedentary lifestyle, so keep your body moving!
A well-rounded exercise regime which includes aerobic training, weights and/or core strength and stretching will result in life-altering changes!
Finding nutritional balance is much easier than you may think.
Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
- Mother Nature herself is one of our greatest teachers. Pay attention to seasonal changes and eat accordingly. For example, enjoy warm soothing soups during the cooler months and light fresh fruits and vegetables when the weather is warm.
- Eat locally grown and raised food as much as possible. This will help to ensure you are eating foods that are directly connected to your living environment.
I like to use this analogy. If the entire world were to lose power today, and shipping foods was no longer an option, what would you have to eat in order to survive? If you lived in the north where coconuts and avocados are not naturally grown, you may have to look for other plant options as well as different types of animal protein. If you lived in the south, this would not be such an issue. I find this to be a fun scenario to contemplate and explore.
No doubt emotions are extremely difficult to balance, and even those who work on this daily can still find themselves occasionally veering off track – especially during times of trying life circumstances.
Having the tools to manage your emotions can certainly help. Here are a few suggestions:
- Mediation and yoga
- Long walks in nature
- Confiding with friends or family members who you trust and who never make you feel that you are being judged
- Adopting and caring for pets is another wonderful option
Above all else, disengage from any negative self-talk, and when it does creep in from time to time rather than listening to it try laughing at it! Remember, negative talk is not natural to a thriving human life.