Tip Tuesday: practice qigong for energy and awareness

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This is a platform where we share ways to build a healthy, happy life because happiness is built not bought. On Tip Tuesdays, I share one tip a week related to a common theme.
Our current theme is, "How to Be and Breathe."
This week we continue our exploration of the ancient Chinese art of Qigong with a Q&A featuring QFP/ BHE Certified Qigong Instructor Jonathon Cattrysse:


Qigong Q&A with Jonathon Cattrysse

Tammy: Hi Jonathon, 
Thanks so much for sharing your time and knowledge to help us better understand this ancient art form. 

Jonathon: Hi Tammy, 
I am very happy to share my perspective on Qigong. 

First, I would like to make clear that this is my perspective of Qigong. There are said to be over 3,000 different forms of Qigong with various Masters who have their own take on the art. Because there are so many forms and Masters we can find information within Qigong that is both similar and, at times, contradictory to each other. This makes sense when we look at Qigong through the same lens as we do modern fitness and nutrition; there are various protocols and ways of doing each. This is why it is important to find a teacher whom you respect since there are an overwhelming amount of styles, and these styles are always evolving and growing. Qigong is a living art form, one which takes the shape and form of the practitioner. This reminds me of one of my favorite Qigong quotes.

Qigong Q&A with Johnathon Cattrysse on TammyTalk.com

"Don't seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise, seek what they sought." 

This is a very powerful quote, ensuring that we remember Qigong is a living art form and not a dead one. 

Tammy: From what I understand, Yoga was developed in India while Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice. Both use movement and breath to enhance awareness, but are there other similarities? 

Johnathon:  Some of the main similarities between Yoga and Qigong are that they both use movement and breath to cultivate a deeper sense of awareness. It is believed that in the ancient past many seekers of Divine Truth from China, India, and Tibet shared their practices, which is why there are a lot of similarities. Both art forms are based upon cultivating living energy (in China - Qi and in India - Prana) through meditative movement practices. It should be noted, as well, that there are also seated meditations, mantras, and breathwork found within both art forms. The end goal of both Yoga and Qigong (in my practice) is Union with All That Is.

Tammy: How do they differ?

Jonathon: The main difference between Qigong and Yoga is that Qigong is a Chinese practice rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (Taoist Medicine, to be more accurate) and Yoga is an Indian practice rooted in Ayurvedic medicine. It is difficult to generalize their differences because there are so many different branches of both Qigong and Yoga, and the practical application of both practices is constantly evolving across time and space.

Tammy: What is Qi?

Jonathon: Qi is the Vital Life Energy (Prana in Yoga), the Natural Energy which fills the Tao, the Universe; this Vital Life Energy is omnipresent, omniscient. There are various forms of Qi, such as Heaven Qi, Earth Qi, Human Qi, Magnetic Qi, Liver Qi, Lung Qi, Ling Qi, (i.e. Spiritual Qi) etc. Each Living Being has its own Qi which is made of various forms of Qi (for example: the Qi from each organ and bodily system). 

Tammy: How did you discover Qigong?

Jonathon- As a child, I was an avid fan of the Japanese anime, Dragon Ball. In Dragon Ball, they were always learning to cultivate their Ki (Japanese for Qi). As a young boy, I imagined mimicking the characters and feeling magnetic energy between my hands and around my body just like they did. As a young boy, I was capable of feeling the magnetic sensation between my hands. So, in a way, one can say that my first experience with Qigong was from mimicking anime characters. 

Now, as an adult, I found the practice of Qigong when I began to search for ways to overcome depression. I first started with Yoga and then my search led me to Kung Fu which ultimately led me to Qigong practices offered by Shifu Yan Lei, most importantly the 8 Brocades, also known as Ba Duan Jin. Once realizing I could practice a Spiritual Art that had roots within Traditional Kung Fu, I was hooked and never looked back. I naturally allowed my curiosity for the art to lead me forward.

Tammy: How does Qigong promote Qi flow through the body?

Jonathon: In Qigong there is a saying, 

"Where the mind goes, Qi flows." 

Therefore, there is a deep connection between Qigong and the intent of the mind. With dedication, right intent, and the ability to let go and allow space for Qi to move, we can feel and sense the Qi through exercises such as visualization and breathwork. As well, whenever we move our body, we are promoting the flow of Qi through the balance of tension and relaxation. As long as a person is alive, Qi is flowing to some degree whether they are consciously aware or not. Even after a person dies, certain aspects of their Qi transform to another state. In life there is always movement and change; there is never truly a state of stagnation. The most important aspect of promoting Qi flow consciously is a paradigm shift from seeing things solely materially to seeing them being rooted in energetics and using the senses to cultivate that energy. 

Tammy: How does Qigong promote physical health?

Jonathon: The list of health benefits from Qigong is endless. Primarily, it can promote physical health through a paradigm shift of realizing that we are capable of cultivating energy in order to heal ourselves with the correct outlook and approach. Our physical health is then affected by this awareness, dynamic body movements, and breathwork. Through movement and breath, we release blockages where we are hypertonic and restricted which allows for more Qi flow, because where Qi flows the blood follows. Therefore, physical health is improved due to improved circulation, the change of body composition, and improved overall organ function. 


Tammy: How does Qigong promote mental health?

Jonathon: Qigong promotes mental health as it is a meditation practice. Within Qigong we learn to slow down our breath, improve our spatial and body awareness, quiet our mind, and enter a serene state of awareness. This naturally allows us to enter into the parasympathetic nervous system which is the state in which our body can rest, digest, repair, and relax. Entering into the parasympathetic nervous system brings us out of the sympathetic state a.k.a. the fight or flight stress response. All of these practices give us the skills to notice the thoughts that are occurring within our mind and cut these thoughts off before they root down into our being.

Tammy: Is Qigong spiritual?

Jonathon:  People often use it solely for physical development. However, to myself and many others, it is a deeply Spiritual practice. Of course, you will receive varying responses, depending on whom you ask. Within Taoism and Buddhism, Qigong has been an art form used to catapult Spiritual Development and assist practitioners in their journey. As a Qigong practitioner, to me, it is most important to cultivate Ling Qi (i.e. Spiritual Qi). When a practitioner cultivates this Spiritual Ling Qi, the Qi will assist whichever aspect of our Being is out of balance. Cultivating Ling Qi, results in Zhen Qi (i.e.True Qi), which means one cultivates their True Nature.

Tammy: Thank you Jonathon!
You've answered many of my questions, so I'm sure readers will find it interesting and informative as well. I sincerely appreciate your time, energy, and willingness to share information.

Jonathon: Awesome! You are very welcome and I am glad that you found it useful.

Follow-up questions for Jonathon can be sent to 

@thehouseofcatt on Instagram or
emailed to

Qigong Q&A with Johnathon Cattrysse on TammyTalk.com

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