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QiGong is a system of traditional Chinese exercises designed to bring physical coordination and dexterity in balance with mental calmness. The name itself can be translated at "working (gong) on life energy (qi)."

Getting Started: Calm Standing in Emptiness, Wu Chi

There are thousands of QiGong exercises, but one of the most fundamental will always be a good starting point. Wu Chi, or emptiness, is a still, guiet standing position that helps one meditate on the formlessness of nature.

The philosophy is a major point itself, but the wu chi position is a simple way of learning about it through direct experience. Doing wu chi is simple. Stand with feet at shoulder width and taking normal, but mindful breaths. The pelvis should be tucked in slightly and the spine should be upright.

This stance is a good way to settle into the moment and place before you begin your practice. It calms the mind and gives you an opportunity to simply experience your posture, the effect of gravity on your body and your surroundings. It gives you a moment to clear your mind of hindrances to your practice.

The emptiness the name speaks of is not so much a deficiency as we might normally think of it, but more of a reminder that life is ever-changing and what appears to have a permanent form will, sooner or later, transform into something else. All that can persist is a calm presence, and the wu chi exercise is a moment to tap into that presence and prepare yourself for a good QiGong or Tai Chi session.

More on "emptiness" The formlessness of wu chi implies that the perception of something as a fixed form hides its true, constantly changing nature. For further study, a good article about the Buddhist term for the impermanence of phenomena can be found at this link: sunyata.

Learning more

Please visit these good links about QiGong or browse the books listed in the column to the right.