YOQI® (pronounced yo chee) is all about energy. Each and every one of us is a living matrix of life force energy. The question we ask is how is your energy moving? Is it moving in the way of vibrant health, optimal performance and loving connection? Or is it moving into states of stress, fatigue and stagnation? YOQI helps people develop the skills to become active participants in the state of their own energy. With YOQI you learn how to remove resistance to the flow of energy so you can tap into your own source of effortless power.
YOQI energy routines integrate awareness-based movement and self-healing techniques from two of the most powerful and time tested mind-body-spirit practices today: yoga and qigong. Traditional yoga postures are amplified by the flow of qigong movements, pulses and spirals. Rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, YOQI emphasizes the wisdom of the body and its vital connection to nature. The heart of this simple and effective practice is to refine our sensitivity to the abundance of life force energy within and all around us. Whether you are a beginner at learning both yoga and qigong, a yoga teacher wanting to bring more energetic dimensions into your classes, or you are specifically interested in the self-healing and spiritual aspects of qigong, there is YOQI for everyone.
The power of Qi
Energy is the vital, vibrating, moving force of nature that directly influences the quality of our health, happiness and aging process. In India vital life-force energy is called prana, and in Chinese it’s called qi (pronounced chee). Qi is associated with the breath because like the breath, it animates our body and brings it to life. When our vital qi is flowing, we feel healthy. When it is blocked we feel pain. When qi becomes weak, we feel tired. When there is no qi left, the body dies.
Qi, however, is not just relegated to living creatures. Energy takes a multitude of forms and is moving through everything in the universe. A rock, a tree, a thought, an emotion, an atom, and even empty space are all vibrating with qi; It is the pulse that beats our hearts and the pulse of a star. According to most spiritual traditions, when we die, although the vital qi is extinguished, the qi of the spirit passes on to another form, heaven or incarnation. This belief that echoes Albert Einstein’s famous quote: “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transformed.”
Qi is actually not as mysterious as it may seem. Energy follows principles and patterns. Cultures around the world have mapped out these patterns for thousands of years. The Chinese system of energy medicine, qigong, teaches us that:
- Qi is polarized into yin qi and yang qi. Yin is potential, yang is activity.
- Qi wants to move
- Qi needs space to move
- Qi moves in spirals, waves, pulses and rhythms
- Qi forms habitual patterns that can be strengthened or re-patterned
- Qi has priorities for survival
- Qi is effected by food, thoughts, the environment, astral beings and the people around us
Because qi follows predictable patterns, it can be directed or re-directed in predictable ways. For example, certain points on your body, when tapped with your hands can restore you when you are tired, increase your vitality or strengthen your immune system amid stress. Once you start to learn the principles of energy you will find how easy it is to shift energetic patterns in the body that area not serving you. As you refine of your awareness you may also discover habitual patterns that are deeply embedded in your energy field that have been holding you back in ways you didn’t realize before. This is what we call becoming an active participant in the state of our own energy.
With the right tools and determination anyone can tune into nature’s abundant flow of qi. What we do with qi depends on our intention. Martial artists in China cultivate their qi for peak performance and to have explosive power in their fighting skills. Energy healers direct qi to help heal others. Mystics use meditation to refine their qi to experience ultimate integration and awakening. For most of us, maintaining a healthy, strong and abundant life is the first discovery of the power of qi. YOQI makes the ancient practices of qi cultivation simple, fun, safe and accessible so that you can use your energy for whatever serves your highest good and the good of all beings.
Qi means “life force energy” and gong means “developing skill”. So the Chinese word qigong is often translated as “energy cultivation”. Qigong comprises a range of empowering resources from herbal medicine and acupuncture to meditation and martial arts. These energy arts have been developed for over 5,000 years in China by Daoist sages dedicated to master physical and spiritual longevity. The original term for these Daoist practices was actually “nourishing life”, a phrase that still embodies the essence of qigong today. Qigong uses qi to awaken, heal and balance our energy systems. It does this through:
- Relaxing the body, nervous system and mind
- Drawing in energy from nature
- Directing energy flow through conscious movement and visualization
Qigong routines use movement, breathe, self-massage, sound, visualization and mental intention to balance and harmonize the flow of qi in the body. There are thousands of styles of qigong that have been developed by healers, martial artists, spiritual Daoists and Confucian scholars. Some of these schools have become lost in history, others still pass on their lineage and have spread around the world. The most popular form of qigong, taijichuan, comes from the martial arts schools of energy cultivation. YOQI qigong draws upon martial, medical and spiritual qigong in a modern style called “qigong flow”. Qigong flow is a moving meditation where one movement flows seamlessly into the next. This allows the mind to sink into deep concentration and relaxation while the body circulates energy.
Yang Yoga and Yin Yoga
Yoga is an Indian system of purification and energy cultivation that transforms the body, mind and spirit into a state of Self-realization. Today styles of yoga are so diverse that it is useful to divide the practice into two energetic categories: Yang Yoga and Yin Yoga.
The majority of yoga classes today are of the Yang category. Yang is the active, heated, fast, bright, forceful quality of energy movement. Sign up for a Vinyasa, Ashtanga or Hatha yoga class and you will sweat, stretch, reach, jump, burn, and breathe in the victorious ujjayi breath. This type of yoga serves a great purpose. It is detoxifying, strengthening and great for tonifying muscles. Done with proper alignment and flow, Yang Yoga moves the mind into a state of concentration and focus while expanding the limbs. This naturally calms the mind allowing a state of peace to integrate with a wonderful rush of endorphins. The combination of tranquility and heated movement, expansion and contraction, surrender and determination characterizes the word Hatha Yoga, meaning union of sun and moon or integrated energy. YOQI Yang classes combine Yang Yoga movements with qigong to create a vinyasa flow that is supercharged with qi. Adding repetitive movements to a Yang Yoga class adds the value of dynamic relaxation, effortless flow and moving from the center.
Yin Yoga is a quickly growing style of yoga that is a wonderful balance to Yang Yoga classes and active Yang lifestyles. Yin is the passive, cool, slow, hidden, surrendering quality of energy movement. A yin yoga pose is typically held for five minutes; enough time to release stagnation within the fascia, refine subtleties of the breath and quiet the mind. Because the postures require virtually no muscular effort, they enable you to “go internal” easily, to focus on feeling where the qi is blocked and to gently free it up. Yin Yoga never forces your body, breathing or demands that you do extreme stretching postures. Such postures can reinforce deeply embedded tensions, causing the nervous system to reflexively contract. Instead, principles of moderation are emphasized so that the nervous system enters a state of the relaxation response. YOQI Yin classes combine Yin Yoga with qigong to enhance the flow of qi. Drawing upon the ancient Dao Yin practice of China YOQI Yin uses the mind and breath to guide the qi.
Try one of our YOQI routines here
BENEFITS OF YOQI: YOGA + QIGONG A full body elixir
The goal of yoga and qigong is ultimately the same – to nourish and cultivate the life force energy of the body, mind and spirit. Research suggests that qigong is beneficial for Asthma, Arthritis, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Headaches, Pain, and a wide variety of common ailments. I have experienced the following benefits from a YOQI Yoga + Qigong practice personally and through my students:
- Generates a state of physical, emotional, mental and energetic balance.
- Transforms tension, stress, anxiety or lethargy - all various forms of energetic imbalance.
- Generates personal empowerment, positive states, and a deep connection to nature
- Stimulates the relaxation response to reset and balance the nervous system
- Prepares the body energetically for peak performance in sports and daily life challenges
- Creates a dynamic sense of tranquility and internal strength
- Trains the body how to move with relaxation and come back to center
- Promotes grounding, flexibility, internal harmony and equilibrium
- Transforms negative emotions, memories and traumas
- Awakens energies that bring resilience, joy, and enthusiasm to your life
- Improves self-awareness and concentration
- Prepares the body for comfortable, long periods of seated meditation
- Sharpens the mind and promotes neuroplasticity in the brain
- Is preventative medicine, a form of self-care and loving kindness
- Compliments healing for cancer, strokes, spinal problems, weight-loss, lung problems, coma survivors, female and organ problems, digestive issues, and pain
- Improves posture and respiration, induces the relaxation response, causes favorable changes in blood chemistry and regulate hormones.
GUIDELINES AND PRECAUTIONS
The practice of YOQI yoga and qigong is not in any way intended as a substitute for medical, mental or emotional counseling with a licensed physician or healthcare provider. The practitioner should consult a professional before undertaking any movement, meditation, health or exercise program to reduce the chance of injury or any other harm that may be a result from pursuing any technique discussed on this website, including videos. Any physical or other distress experienced during or after exercise should be brought to the attention of a healthcare professional. Although the claims above discuss healing, health and vitality, the results of a YOQI practice will be influenced by your medical history, genetics and sincere discipline.