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Women’s Qigong

We live in such a Yang world, male-oriented stressful lifestyle. Our earth suffers. Women’s health is suffering. Extra stress is placed on women wishing to be whole—balancing profession, home life, relationships, service, and personal growth. For the first time women are dying more from heart disease than men, as symptoms are more subtle for women. Breast cancer is epidemic, although survivor’s rates are improving. There are more reported cases of depression and lack of libido, yet many more unreported cases of sexual trauma.

Women’s Qigong addresses all these modern concerns by developing strong Yin energy, a concept foreign to the West as we think of strength in male Yang terms. Feminine strength does not push or control, rather its power comes from compassionate wisdom and offers a perfect compliment to its Yang, masculine counterpart.

We are blessed that many mind body practices are available which simultaneously reduce stress improve health, strengthen self-healing abilities, and expand consciousness through gentle exercises, meditations, sounds, and breathing techniques to cultivate our life force energy called “Qi” in Chinese and “prana” in Hindu.

Through these traditions, we aspire to unite in the highest level of energy when completely devoid of our body. We are grateful these practices have been preserved through the centuries, predominantly by men. The physical aspects of these traditions however are geared to the male or androgynous body, with little or no consideration of a women’s life cycle including menstruation, pregnancy, birthing & recovery, as well as going through peri-menopause and menopause.

A woman’s and a man’s energy body are mostly the same therefore these practices are greatly beneficial to women. Yet they do not address major energetic difference between the sexes which is a woman’s ability to support the life of a fetus.

This might seem like a small difference. But based on some studies proclaiming we have over 90% the same DNA with fellow creatures on the earth, thus less than 10% differs us from reptiles!

What is qigong?

Qigong pronounced “Chee-kung” means life force energy cultivation, and is preeminent historical mind body exercise from China. In modern times, it is a clinically proven science of self-healing, and a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture).

Yin and Yang energy

Yin and Yang is a concept unique to Chinese culture. It is the transformation of polar energies; the yang energy white (or red) and yin is black. The Taiji symbol is not stagnate as one might think, but in constant harmonic motion. Yin is associated with the feminine, receptive, emotional, earth, front of body; yang is the masculine, aggressive, intellectual, heaven, back of the body. Men and women both have yin and yang energy.

Qigong is a practice to achieve inner harmony in connection with heaven and earth, the balance of yin and yang within us and around us.

What is women’s qigong?

Women’s Qigong is a unique empowering journey of self-realization in health, healing, sexuality, and relationships. I will never forget the transformational experience of my first women’s Qigong class, like I was drinking water in a beautiful Oasis after being so long in the desert of neutral or male venue to these arts; my inner truth was discovered.

The exercises are gentle graceful and fluid addressing the distinctive energetic constitution of women, so natural to our being, and therefore easy to learn. The meditations and guided imagery are geared to the divine feminine within. Self-acupressure and massage techniques release blocked Yin Qi, bringing life saving energy and blood to the breasts, uterus, cervix, and ovaries.

Experienced in sisterhood of practioners, a unique strong Yin energy field is generated to nourish, enlighten and empower feminine true nature. This supplemental practice to standard Qigong, yoga, and/or other mind body traditions, provides the missing link for a woman to progress more quickly in those modalities.

Women’s Qigong Practice

1. Meditations for the Heart center (Tanzhong, Middle Dan Tien or Heart Chakra) the true energy center for women, not the lower Dan Tien/hara, belly area. Because women have the ability to support the life of a fetus, we energetically have the ability to develop very quickly. Women are ruled by love and compassion, harmony, and combining intelligence with wisdom of the heart.

2. Exercises to open the Pathways (meridians) of Yin Energy in the body include:

  • Penetrating Vessel (Chong Mai) this is the most important meridian and significantly different for the sexes because it is the one that supports the life of a fetus. Therefore, the energy stays in that vessel for women, and flows freely through for men.
  • Belt meridian
  • (Dai Mai) circles around the hip, and is used in classical Chinese medicine for ob/gynecology.
  • Conception Vessel (Ren Mo), intersection of Yin Channels of the body on midline of front side of the torso.
  • Spleen/pancreas meridian (nurturing energy)
  • Liver meridian (movement of the blood),
  • Kidney meridian (reproductive system)

3. Self-Massage

Women need to be massaged mostly in the front torso, yin side, of the body. Since this is legally prohibited, self-massage is necessary.

Kua – lower abdomen area between the thighs – brings more blood and Qi to lymph nodes, cervix, vaginal, and ovarian area.

Breasts - in a gentle and meditative way, sends blood and Qi to the breast tissue and surrounding lymph nodes without emphasis on looking for lumps.

Please note it does not matter if you have had surgery or not, the energy of the organs and tissues remain. Scar tissue needs to be nourished.

Origins of Women’s Qigong

In the West, Kuan Yin is often referred to as the Chinese Goddess or female deity who is mostly associated with Buddhism. Yet it is the Daoist Queen Mother of the West, Xi Wang Mu, who is more significant in Women’s Qigong. A teacher to the Yellow Emperor who developed Chinese Medicine over 5,000 years ago, Queen Mother is referred to throughout all lineages.

The famous Daoist Master, Lady Sun Buer, co-founder of the School of Complete Perfection from the Song Dynasty (960- 1279, CE), is credited with immortal techniques for women. The practices she developed are documented only in poetry, hidden under heavy symbolism.

Daoist Sexual Energy Longevity Practices presented many solo cultivation exercises for men and women including important self-massage. This is not to be confused with Tantra focusing on dual cultivation with a partner. As a holistic being, sexuality is included in overall health and modern integrative medicine is supporting this premise.

More recently the Nudan (female alchemy) texts from the 17th century were discovered in China with details of Qigong practices for women created centuries before. In the repressive era of neo-Confucianism, small groups of women were permitted to practice at home; no following of male teachers was allowed. During these times only women of privilege had access to this information.

In modern times, Master Liu Yafei, physician, Director of the Medical Qigong Clinic in Beidaihe, China developed Nuzi Qigong based on the techniques described in the Nudan documents. This form was widely acclaimed when presented at UCLA’s Female Meditation Techniques in Late Imperial & Modern China international conference I attended in 2008.

Over the past 5 years there has been an emergence of female Qigong teachers introducing different lineages of women’s Qigong. Like me, we have practiced for decades but are only recently empowered to share this precious jewel to our students.

Yin Qigong: A Sacred Dance of Healing

Based on my 20 years of study and practice, I combined 3 women’s systems into Yin Qigong. These include:

Basic Yin Qigong modified N¸zi Qigong a series of gentle easy to follow movements and self-massage. Very powerful with clinically proven effectiveness for gynecological health.

• Dan Tien Fong Heung Gong “Elixir field — Emitting Fragrance Work” lovely dance like form, originated by Lady Sun Buer, School of Complete Perfection.

• Three Bracelets Encircle the Moon a gentle stretch and waist twisting sequence to harmonize Qi. Good for weight loss.

• Jade Egg - vaginal & pelvic floor exercises with specially designed sanitized Jade Egg to strengthen pelvic floor; prevent/heal incontinence & vaginal dryness; rejuvenate sexual organs; reduce libido; preparation for and healing from childbirth; invigorate natural flow of essential hormones.

Although secret for many centuries, Women’s Qigong is now emerging, at a perfect time to be part of an integrative approach to women’s physical, emotional and spiritual health through cultivation of feminine energy, empowerment, and self-discovery.

Fay McGrew, MA, QTP (Medical Qigong) has been teaching Qigong in San Diego for past 16 years specializing in integrative medicine establishing Qigong at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSD Medical Center, and San Diego Cancer Center Integrative Medicine Research Institute. To promote women’s health during Breast Health Awareness Month, Fay is offering many Yin Qigong free introduction classes, as well as workshops, series, and special classes throughout San Diego, some co-taught with medical professionals specializing in women’s health., 760 729-1102.