I've been thinking a lot about chi lately. First of all, our sponsor Athleta just started a new online community called Athleta Chi, where you can find my articles on yoga and more...they describe it as "connecting women to the energy of inspiration". Wikipedia defines chi, or qi, as the flow of energy that sustains living beings. This concept comes from Chinese culture, but similar ideas can be found around the globe - for example, in Sanskrit/yoga terms, we call this prana. This post could get very long if I delve too deep into history and definition territory. So, something interesting to note is that the idea of chi is pretty esoteric by Western standards. Most of us are not in touch in with our inner chi, if we even know what it is.
I had an acupuncture treatment today. I recently began getting it for a variety of reasons; despite being a huge needle-phobe, I'm fascinated with this treatment's stellar track record for so many different things, not to mention how long it's been making people feel better - just like yoga. Again from Wikipedia: "Symptoms of various illnesses are often believed to be the product of disrupted, blocked, or unbalanced chi movement (interrupted flow) through the body...Traditional Chinese medicine often seeks to relieve these imbalances by adjusting the circulation of chi." Acupuncture is truly like no other experience I have had - you can actually feel tingling sensations and different parts of your body awakening (parts that don't necessarily have needles in them) - they say that's the energy starting to flow properly again. And for you skeptics, there is quite a science to it - training to become an acupuncturist is as intense and long as medical school.
So, I've got my yoga practice to get my prana flowing, and acupuncture to balance my chi. I like the idea of tapping into health care systems that have existed for thousands of years.