Improve your Breath Qi with 5 simple steps

breath 101 qi gong Jul 20, 2021

“In traditional Chinese culture, qi or ch'i or ki is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living entity. Qi translates literally as "air" and figuratively as "material energy", "life force", or "energy flow". Qi is the central underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and in Chinese martial arts. “

There are many types of qi that flow though the body and are responsible for different functions centered around processing, growth and development. Specialized qi organizes from the combination of different substances like nourishment, air, inherited vital energy and the deep structures of the body. Qi is what circulates through the channels of the body and provides life force energy to the whole system. 

Chong Qi, the Qi of the Breath 

The qi of  breath is known as Chong qi it is ruled by the lungs. The lungs work to expand and contract brining breath in and out of the body  modulating the connection between the human being and environment. The ability of the lungs to exchange oxygen and build Chong Qi requires proper muscle coordination, lung tissue health and an organized nervous system and responsiveness pattern. The lungs are also known to be the minister of ecclesiastic affairs supporting the capacity to attach and engage with the spiritual realms and breath spirit or consciousness though our bodies. The depth and quality of the breath mirrors our ability to connect to the subtle and natural environment around us and modulates our capacity to connect and disconnect, become inspired and sustain bonds to that which we experience. This connection to something bigger than ourselves provides inspiration and literal reasoning to breathe deeper and experience more in life in turn creating more vitality and increased Chong Qi. 

Chong Qi is responsible for: 

  • Sending energy to the body for vitality 
  • Misting water and qi over the organs 
  • Processing emotions in the movement especially grief and sadness

Since the lungs rule the Chong qi  their physical and vital health is crucial to its quality and overall function in the body.  The lungs play an important role in moving moisture downward in the body and misting or distributing Chong Qi  energy over the organ systems. The lungs require balanced hydration to support the elastic and responsive nature of their tissue and to do the work of moving breath and moisture though the body. Mucous build up in the body from diets high in dairy and sugar as well as smoking can have a detrimental impact on the lungs ability to move oxygen and moisture burdening tand weakening the tissues of the lungs and literally clogging up the respiratory passages. Working to eliminate mucous build up though dietary and lifestyle choices can have a huge benefit to lung health and the cultivation of Chong Qi. The Chong Qi is physically located in the upper respiratory system, the lungs, heart and throat, assuring proper health of these organs and ties is crucial to supporting its function and strength.

Check out these 3 additional key factors in building strong Chong Qi

  1. Breathing Clean Air 

This qi can be impacted negatively by air pollution and weakened by chronic and acute exposure to poor air conditions. It is estimated by the world health organization that over 7 million people world wide die from impacts of air pollution and 9 out of 10 people breathe air that excess the world health guidelines. From smog in cities, to lingering smoke and chemical pollutants air pollution poses a major global public health challenge. Lung supporting food and herbs, deep breathing, time in nature breathing clean air and exercises that increase lung health and capacity are vital to counteracting the damage to the respiratory system and lungs. Qi Gong in nature is a powerful way to facilitate healing the lungs and breathing patterns after exposure to pollution. 


  1. Increase Cardio Respiratory Capacity 

Weak or deficient Chong qi correlates to shallow breathing patterns and less saturation of available oxygen in the blood and body.  The relationship of the respiratory and cardio vascular systems are crucial to the proper delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. Increased cardio and lung capacity has the power to support vitality in the overall body as well as increasing the bodies ability to repair, nourish and strengthen all tissues. It is recommended that healthy individuals get at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly which correlates to about 20 minutes daily of moderate activity, or roughly 20 minutes 4 times a week of vigorous activity a week. Getting up and moving is a sure way to support and increase your Chong Qi! 


  1. Keep you emotions in check and balanced 

The Emotions of grief sadness , worry and guilt are closely associated to and processed by the Chong qi. It is important that our emotions move and direct energy in our bodies and don’t get stagnated or stored in the tissues of the body. The Lungs are designed to process grief but when we aren’t breathing deeply and rhythmically the have a harder time moving that energy. Anxiety and guilt are emotional states that can also effect the rhythm of the breath making things more shallow or heavy carrying the burden of the state around. Qi gong has the emotional benefits of unburdening restrictions and stuck energy as well as calming the anxious mind. Choosing to address lingering emotional blockages coupled with deep breathing, belly breath and transformational breath practices can have a powerful impact on the health and vitality of the Chong Qi. 

 Disorders like asthma, lung obstructions and tendencies towards shallow and non rhythmic breath often are rooted in mental and emotional learned responses that show up as physical disturbances leading to less energy and vitally of the vital Chong Qi. When we couple those disturbances with pollution, sedentary lifestyle and maladapted breath patterns we can gain insight into understanding deeper pathologies and long term ailments that may result from poor breath function in the body. Looking at the holistic nature of the biological and psychological relationships found in pathologies centered around the breath gives insight into finding a pathway to wellbeing though incorporating breathing practice like qi gong into lifestyle medicine practices, diet and movement to create a whole picture of vitality. 

5 Ways To Build Stronger Chong Qi 

  1. Implement a daily qi gong practice 

  2. Practice deep rhythmic belly breath through the day 

  3. Clear & detox lungs regularly 

  4. Limit mucous producing foods

  5. Process old grief, guilt & anxieties 

Check out this podcast on greif, letting go and lung health! 

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