Positive Chi = Vitality. What is Chi? What is its link with vitality and why do we need it? How can having a positive relationship with Chi help us thrive through these times of uncertainty and opportunity?

Why when we do something we love it seems to give us energy, rather than the things we don’t want to do, sap us? The answer could be in understanding the connection with Chi. Chi is universal life-force energy, a natural energy sustenance that is present in all living things; Chi is the animating force of nature that is compelled to propel us onwards. This innate facility is counter to the adrenalised fear response of cortisol squirting into the system for flight, fight or freeze, which gives a heady buzz of quick fix strength that is highly addictive, the effects last about 10 seconds and has a detrimental after shock. This is emergency energy, not calm resourcing Chi energy. What part does this resourcing Chi play in our vitality quotient?

Using the Chinese Medicine model, and Taoist paradigm of Yin Yang, it is understood that we are bequeathed a certain amount of Chi at birth, from a combination of parental vitality. This is then stored as an energy bank around the kidneys and gets used up as we go about our life over time, where it gradually gets exhausted, until we die. Chi can be further depleted in illness and in all manner of disrespectful self behaviour, including a heavy workload, when we burn out and don’t bounce back.

Fortunately you can gather fresh Chi naturally with certain mindful exercise forms, particularly Chi Kung/Qigong, Meditation and Tai Chi; these invite a more respectful way of movement-flow and stillness, a dance of the Yin and Yang. The rhythmn of the breath guides the pace where natural movements can become a meditation, freeing the mind to let the body express its movement; this feels really synergistically good, accessing a feeling of vitality and wellbeing.

These practises offer copious health benefits that outweigh our preconceived Western idea that you have to expend energy to be able to gain results like muscle tone, stamina or weight loss. There is a non-competitiveness and personal experience angle that offers the practitioner somewhere outside of the everyday zone, a place to play, a curiousity in the now moment, where effortlessness is the goal, if there can be such an orientation. It could be that this internal awareness signals our intrinsic motivation, brimming us with inspiration and fostering a truer depth of health.

Vitality is not just about having enough energy for your tasks, this other component, Chi gives a buoyancy, a lightness of being, a positivity factor that has a sense of invincibility to it, tooling you up with a steadiness to be bright, focussed and clear in the face of challenges and expectations; a vantage place to spring from and return to its wellspring of depth and plenitude. Play is a key ingredient to activating this Chi, the sense of feeling free to explore is enticing to the system, all your senses are involved with the intrigue of exploration, which cannot and need not be compared to anyone else’s.

I conclude that Chi Kung is the only exercise form that gives you vitality.

‘About The Author’ Clara Apollo BA hons/RGN is the UK’s leading Chi consultant trained by The College of Elemental Chi Kung London. Working out of the New Forest UK for the past 15 years, Clara now travels around the country giving talks, sessions and interviews to a wide range of people, interested in managing their natural energy effectively. claraapollo.com

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