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Steamboat Magazine

Finding Chi - Qigong Cultivates Healing Energy

04/15/2012 01:00AM ● By Various Authors

By Tamera Manzanares/Photo by Corey Kopischke

Steamboat Springs, CO - Life pulls at us from many directions. Family, work, finances, illness, loss and even joy can put us on a stress- fueled, emotional teeter-totter. Exercise and healthy eating help, but sometimes we need to re-center our minds and spirits to do the things we know are good for us.

Many people are finding renewed clarity through Qigong, a health maintenance practice that aligns breath and movement to cultivate healing energy or “chi.”

“When you really understand Qigong and start to practice it, it’s empowering,” says Cheri Trousil, who began learning Qigong four years ago while caring for her terminally ill mother.

Grounded in ancient China, Qigong is the foundation of martial arts and health exercises such as T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Qigong can take a variety of forms but generally helps tame “monkey minds” (minds that jump from thought to thought like a monkey jumps between trees) by channeling awareness and breath toward chi. This clears stagnant energy, which can manifest into stress and disease.

“It’s helped slow me down on the inside so I can multi-task with focus rather than chaos,” Trousil says. “That’s been a great reward for me.”

With time and regular practice, Qigong students become more sensitive to their own energy balance and learn how to protect it from negative influences.

“It’s about recognizing our energetic boundaries as being permeable and taking in what we want and leaving what we don’t,” explains Sarah Braat, who teaches Qigong at the yoga Center of Steamboat and through her business, Sage Healing arts.

Daily Qigong practice can improve pain, sleep, stamina and efficiency in our daily lives. It grounds us so we can take advantage of the present and catch life’s curve balls without falling, she says.

“Qigong is great for helping us see the things that don’t serve us so we can break out of those patterns and habits.” Trousil says.