Most westerners are familiar with Tai chi exercises, a series of movements completed with control, concentration and alertness on the breath. It may come as a surprise that Tai chi and Qigong share similar traditional roots within Traditional Chinese Medicine. Furthermore, Qigong, Tai chi, and Yoga can all be classified as meditation in motion. The term “Qi - gong” translates into “energy - work” which is accomplished through four main techniques, (i) Body, (ii) Breath, (iii) Sound, (iv) Mind. This energy work is facilitated through physical exercises, breath techniques, visualizations and meditations such that our life force (prana/qi) is cultivated and flows effectively through the body
It wasn’t until the late 90’s that the West saw an increase in teachers from China. The West is still in the early stages of being acclimatized to Qigong as a practice in its own right. The rapid growth of the yoga community and culture has, and will hopefully continue to facilitate this. There is a growing body of peerreviewed research that focusses on the physiological benefits of a regular Qigong practice. Thus far, research has indicated positive effects on maintaining bone density, improvements in cardiopulmonary functions, a decrease in anxiety and depression symptoms, improvements in the vestibular system for elderly and sedentary lifestyles. 
Personally, it was the practice of the techniques that came first, and the theory second. Since my initial exposure to Dr. Chow’s Qigong I have been extremely fortunate to have a handful of teachers walk into my life along the journey. To say that there is only one way to practice Qigong is a misconception. I have thus far had the opportunity to practice a variety of styles including The Eight Brocades, Medical Qigong, Daoist Qigong and Taichi-Qigong, each unique in their own right. The progression of the practice is analogous to yoga, in that it is only through regular practice and discipline that one can walk further along the path – it is wisdom through experience as opposed to knowledge through analytical processes. Whilst practicing varying styles of Qigong I also returned to the practice of Yoga and found truth in the idea that ‘there are many paths the lead to the mountaintop’. These two techniques (Qigong and Yoga) began to blend together in my personal practice. Not only did I find them to be quite complimentary, but this blend of traditional techniques began to solidify a unique foundational practice.
If you are interested in learning some fundamental Qigong techniques to incorporate into your own practice, join me for the “Blending Traditional Practice” workshop.
BLENDING TRADITIONAL PRACTICE:
 EastWestQigong. YouTube, YouTube, 20 Aug. 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjZJ-53UEGA.
 Larkey, Linda, et al. “Meditative Movement as a Category of Exercise: Implications for Research.” Journal of Physical Activity and Health, vol. 6, no. 2, 6 Mar. 2009, pp. 230-238., doi: 10.1123/jpah.6.2.230.
 Liang, Shou-Yu, et al. Qigong Empowerment : a Guide to Medical, Taoist, Buddhist, and Wushu Energy Cultibation. Way of the Dragon Pub., 1997.
 Isaacs, Nora. “Exercisers Slow It Down With Qigong.” The New York Times, 5 Apr. 2007.
 Jahnke, Roger, et al. “A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi.” American Journal of Health Promotion, vol. 24, no. 6, 1 July 2010, doi:10.4278/ajhp.081013-lit-248.