I just ran across this explanation of the different types of chi (qi) in Ken Cohen’s book The Way of Qigong. It was an aha moment for me, clarifying for me WHY daily practice is so important. I wanted to synthesize it here as writing often helps me to wrap my brain around something that I want to absorb into my being!
There are many sources of chi or life force energy. Our main sources of chi are breath/air, food/nutrition, and the chi we are born with that comes from our parents, our genetics, also known as our constitution. Ken Cohen calls this personal original chi.
There is also an original chi that is a gift of the universe, “the primal energy of life, the creative and omnipresent power of the Dao”, yuan chi. Cohen calls this transpersonal original chi.
In addition to what we are born with, we can supplement our original life force energy with what’s called “post-natal chi”. We can eat well and breathe well. We can tap into the chi in nature and learn to harmonize with the energy available to us from Mother Earth. And, we can practice qigong. The practice of qigong movements and meditations cultivates and enhances our personal original chi. This post-natal chi/energy, however, is easily dissipated, so that’s why a daily qigong practice is strongly encouraged. That daily cultivation of life force energy will enhance our health, energy, and well being.