The first time I saw Kung Fu Panda, I was drawn in by the antics of the dumpling-loving panda, Po, and his hilarious interactions with the Furious Five - and of course, the eccentric Master Shifu. In the third movie instalment, Master Shifu makes a flower bloom and says that was “chi”, prompting a question from Po:
Po: What’s chi?
Shifu: The energy that flows through all living things.
In the Kung Fu Panda universe, “chi” is the spiritual energy all living things possess. And you’ve probably heard about it before too - because it’s based on the same concept of “qi”. Often translated as the vital force or energy that permeates the universe, it is a fundamental principle in Chinese martial arts.
What comes to my mind when I hear the term typically oscillates between a group of soaring warriors clad in flowing robes (as is often the case in Chinese martial arts genres) and a group of unhurried seniors transitioning into various poses in a large park.
The latter imagery is more closely tied to Qi Gong, the practice of cultivating and balancing qi. With thousands of years of history, Qi Gong involves various exercises to improve health and well-being and practitioners hail from all over the world.
One such individual is Pascale Jenart, a Tai Chi and Qi Gong coach. She started her professional life in banking for ten years and then moved her attention to mothering her two wonderful kids. She fell in love with Tai Chi and started competing in Singapore, Hong Kong, and China. Qi Gong came into her life as a way to improve her Tai Chi, to deepen her felt connection with the Qi, and this deeper exploration led to her being a gold medalist - several times over!
In 2014, Pascale fell sick with thyroid dysfunction and decided then to explore the power of Qi. She was able to restart her thyroid by practising Qi Gong, which led her to create her company Chi Balance and start teaching how it can be an effective body and mind health tool.
Curiosity piqued? Tune in to the new season of Crane member Danielle Van de Velde’s podcast, The Modern Crone, and explore the nature of Qi, the relationship between Qi Gong and Qi Healing and Pascale’s own journey into the Energy Arts!
Check out the new season of The Modern Crone here.
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