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I Found Healing in Qigong

Yin is restful, dark, and feminine. Yang is active, light, and masculine. The two forces complement/ balance each other.


A theologian recounts her personal experience, and how it expanded her faith.

This article appeared in the Summer 2001 issue of Spirituality & Health. Several months into teaching our small class on Soaring Crane Qigong at the Qigong Center in Manhattan, Master Shen told us that “Lying Qigong,” the kind we were doing stretched out with pillows on the floor, was the “highest form,” and I laughed out loud. It sounded ludicrous to me, a hard-working seminary teacher, accustomed to churning out theology lectures like the unstoppable doughnut machine in the children’s tale. Intense exercise was my style. Fiercely, I had swum, jogged, bicycled, climbed mountains, strength-trained, and kundalini-yoga’d my way through the sixties, seventies, and half of the eighties. The Protestant work ethic dominated me. I exerted effort because I suspected I wasn’t good unless I did. Lying Qigong sounded to me like the highest form of sloth. Looking back, it now seems obvious that my reaction signaled the deep physical and spiritual distress I was in when I came to learn qigong from Master Shen and her husband, Master Wu. I needed the gentleness of their teaching, and, in fact, my perspective …

Elisabeth Koenig is a professor of ascetical theology at New York’s General Theological Seminary.

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