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Three different Qi gong workshops will be held at the U of I Activities and Recreation Center this week, and they are being facilitated by members of a delegation from China. The first workshop, “Chinese Health Qi-gong: 21st Century’s Body-Mind Exercise”, will be held Thursday, October 16 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in Multipurpose Room 6 at ARC. It is free and open to the public.

“Chinese Health Qi-gong—Workshop I” will be held on Friday, October 17 from 9 – 11 a.m.; “Chinese Health Qi-gong—Workshop II” will be held from 1 – 3 p.m. Friday workshops will be held in Multipurpose Room 4. Four of the most popular health Qi-gong routines will be taught in the workshops, which are free to the first 40 University of Illinois students who register. The public may participate; the fee for one workshop is $20; for both, it’s $35.

More information and the online registration form can be found on the conference’s website.

Feng shui, T’ai chi and Qi gong (also known as Chi kung) are all based on the same principle: the circulation of Qi. What is this mysterious Qi? you might ask. Well, Qi means many things to many people. It can mean love, breath, spirit, soul, essence, The Force, or universal life energy. We all have Qi circulating in our bodies at all times, some people more than others. When our Qi becomes stagnant in our bodies it can create restlesness, fatigue, depression, or dis-ease. Thousands of years ago, Qi gong was created to keep chi moving through our bodies. Simultaneously a martial art and meditation, Qi gong is a series of movements that can help balance the body, mind, and spirit.

In the Friday workshops put on by the Chinese Delegation, four different routines will be taught, each one having its own special benefit to the mind and body. University of Illinois Kinesiology professor Weimo Zhu has been a champion of Qi gong since the mid ‘80s when he started learning more about it in a college physical education class. Through his research, he hopes to bridge the gap between the East and West, backing up the opinion in Traditional Chinese Medicine that Qi gong can cure a multitude of diseases and conditions with hard evidence that Westerners can sink their teeth into.

According to Dr. Zhu, one of the best things about Qi gong aside from its great ability to heal, is its portability. “The benefit is,” he explains, “you don’t really need any equipment. You can watch tv and do it. There is no excuse that you don’t have time.” If you decide to do Qi gong while you are watching tv, driving your car, or just sitting comfortably in a chair, the routines taught in Friday’s workshops will undoubtedly be something that you will want to integrate into your daily life.

Qi Gong Institute