Qi is usually translated as “air”. So the word ‘qi’ can be somewhat confusing. At the core of qi is the ancient Chinese word for “life force” or “vital energy”. Since ‘life force’ is all around us, just like air, so it can easily be translated into air.
Qi can be best understood through looking at its three components: energy, matter, and information. All students at the Wei Tuo Academy must memorize these three words. Learning how to use qi is central to Wu Gong training. We rely on it to live and think. Without it, life could not exist.
Qi provides a pathway by which we can understand the universe and with it the Dao. The universe presents its physical self in qi. Qi is everywhere. Everything has it, and everything has its own distinct qi. This is how we can distinguish one thing from another. Everything is distinctly unique. A person who is trained to be sensitive to qi can feel the differences between things, even though the things are categorized as the same class of material.
It is important to be aware of how qi flows. It isn’t stagnant. The flow allows for all parts of the Dao to connect with its entirety. It flows inside and on the surface of everything which is how things are able to change. Thus, the universe is in constant change: from weather changes, seasons, the waning and waxing of the moon to the birth and death of stars. The body changes too. If qi doesn’t flow, there won’t be change, and when that happens, the body’s qi is stagnant, which means the body is unhealthy.
Most people have heard of acupuncture or acupressure, these healing arts are designed for helping qi flow healthily in pathways within our bodies which are called channels or meridians. When ill, the flow isn’t right, and using acupuncture or acupressure will help put qi back on its correct flow. In practicing Qi Gong, you will move your body to help qi flow stronger which means you will be healthier.
Qi as a single concept has many layers and manifestations. These are a few of the different ways qi is formed in the body.