Home PageQi Essence Class ScheduleQi Essence: To inspire, educate and share the gift of the ancient Chinese Taoist self healing practices of Tai Chi and Qigong. Kelley IrelandAbout Qi EssenceKelley Ireland Bio
Qi Essence: To inspire, educate and share the gift of the ancient Chinese Taoist self healing practices of Tai Chi and Qigong. Kelley Ireland

Dr. Mehmet Oz



"In its most simplistic form, the Chinese character for Qi (pronounced "Chee") in Qigong, can mean air, breath or life force. "Gong" (pronounced "goong) literally means "work" - so Qigong literally means working with one's life force!

Qigong has been practiced for between 5000-7000 years, and was first used to enhance the health of Taoist monks. Monks were also warriors, and needed to be able to defend and protect. The practice was born in China in the northeastern Hubei Province, in the beautiful and rugged Wudang Mountains. It is known as "the mother of Tai Chi."

Tai Chi is a martial art and is a much younger practice than is Qigong. Tai Chi is about 500-600 years old. Tai Chi, simplistically speaking, is like a slower version of Kung Fu. It was used in China for defensive and protective fighting. In China today, a practitioner might ask another person to "play" Tai Chi. It is known also as Chinese Boxing.

Both arts are called "soft internal arts." Yoga is also classified as an internal art, and is the perfect compliment to both Tai Chi and Qigong.

Attitudes toward this ancient practice vary greatly. Most western medical practitioners and many practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine view it as a set of breathing and movement exercises with benefits to health through stress reduction and exercise. Some practitioners view it in more metaphysical terms, claiming Qi can be felt as an electrical current or vibration that physically circulates through channels, or as "rivers of energy" in the body called meridians. Many testify to relief of chronic pain, enhanced sleep, stress relief, management of chronic illnesses by using Qigong as a daily practice.

The attitudes of Chinese medical and Qigong practitioners are that the body has the inherent ability for self-healing. With that mindset, Qigong allows the body to do the important work of healing itself of its ills through mindful movement, expansive breathing and the release of stagnant energy. At the same time, the body brings in with breath the ability to enhance function of the organs, the muscles, brain activity, ligaments, tendons and can "jump start" the body's own healing properties. The alchemy of the body changes as old energy moves out of the body, and new vital Qi is brought in on the breath. Qigong helps lung function dramatically. The average person uses about 1/4 of his/her lung capacity. Qigong and Tai Chi focus on the expansion of the lungs so that the body works in a more optimal fashion.

Both Tai Chi and Qigong aid in the cultivation of mind, body and spirit. We know, through teachings of thought leaders past and present like Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, Deng Meng Dao, Rojer Jahnke, Andrew Weil and many others, that body/mind/spirit are synergystic and must be in balance with one another for optimal functioning and vibrant health.

The most profound "medicine" is produced within each of us through the careful balancing of the body, mind and spirit. In fact, all the necessary components of self healing have been with us since the beginning of mankind. Ancient, indigenous tribal people of the world have known of the body's naturally occurring, spontaneous function of self repair and restoration. Could it be with modernism we have forgotten or forsaken intrinsic instincts for self-healing? Can it be this simple? Simple, yes. Easy? No. Often the hardest part of beginning any health practice is simply getting started. We all know the phrase coined by Nike..."Just Do It!" It doesn't have to start on Monday, after the holidays, or when we retire...the time is now!

The beauty of the practice is that nothing special is needed. No props, special clothing, expensive equipment, or shoes are needed. You can even do it sitting or lying down. You don't need to have a certain level of fitness to join in. You can do it for as long or as short a time as you wish.

Is Qigong or Tai Chi for everybody? No. But 200 million practitioners across the entirety of China can't all be wrong about it. It would not have been a practice cultivated for thousands of years if it had no merit.

Let me extend an invitation to you, to try it out. Don't take my word for it - check our calendar of upcoming classes and see for yourself!

For more information, please call Kelley at 520-370-8066 or email her at

Health Benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong:

· Enhanced balance and strength
· Greater lung function
· Stress reduction
· Overall health improvement
· Pain reduction
· Management of chronic illness such as
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Lupus
- Cancer
- Back pain
· Increased range of motion
· Mindful, moving, meditation

What should I expect from a Qigong class?

· You will get a brief history of Qigong, why it is helpful and how it relates to your overall fitness.
· Standing or sitting for about an hour. wear comfortable clothing that allow you movement and range of motion. Bring water to stay hydrated.
· You will be instructed on standing forms, and will perform repetitive movements to soft and soothing Chinese music with your instructor.
· You will be shown modifications, in case you have physical limitations.
· Everyone can do Qigong and movements can be modified for your needs.
· You will practice deep, long, slow breathing and exhalation.
· Movements will be explained.
· Self massage of hands, feet, ears or "tapping" will often be performed to move energy in the acupuncture/acupressure points.
· A short meditation to end class.

What should I expect from a Tai Chi class?

· You will hear a brief intro to the history of Tai Chi and how it was borne of Qigong. Open with warm-up Qigong movements.
· You will learn a form in segments. Repeat, repeat and repeat.
· More movements will be learned until the entire form can be put together and performed by memory.
· Movements and the reasons for them will be explained so you understand them.
· A short meditation to end class.


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Tucson, Arizona