What does Qi feel like?

qi gong Jan 08, 2024
Qi - Cosmic Energy between hands

"Is it normal for my body to enter a gentle vibration after practicing?"

"My hands feel heavy now, but in a pleasant way."

"I feel so grounded. I stand much firmer on the ground."


These are just a few of the comments I regularly hear from my students.


Some accompanying effects of powerful Qi Gong

Many doubt the existence of Qi, the invisible yet life-giving energy.

For those who have practiced high-quality Qi Gong for some time, this question eventually ceases to arise, as they experience this energy and its power for themselves.

Whether through the positive effects on their lives or by directly perceiving it.

So, how do you explain how a durian tastes to someone who has never tried it before?

I can tell you that it is a tropical, green, spiky fruit native to Malaysia (where I attended some courses with our Grandmaster).

No Durian Sign

Many hotels and elevators have prohibition signs hanging because it smells so strong – some might even say it stinks.


Some say it tastes like cheese, almonds, garlic, and caramel all at once. Some love it, while others run away screaming.

Now, do you know how it tastes? You might have a vague idea, but you can only truly know by trying it.

Before I attempt to describe something that words often fail to convey, let me start with an important principle:

It is not necessary to feel the energy to benefit from Qi Gong.

(At the same time, it often happens that practitioners do not benefit from Qi Gong to the extent they should because they lack important information and skills.)

Sensations of energy are a welcome confirmation and usually a very pleasant experience.

However, few people are naturally sensitive in this area. Most develop this ability over time. So don't be discouraged if your fellow students report Qi sensations and you don't (yet).

The most important aspects are the positive effects of regular practice on your health, well-being and productivity.

So, how does Qi feel?

It depends. šŸ˜Š


Spontaneous Qi-Movements

A central element of our unique Qi Gong practice is the so-called "Qi Flow."

In this extremely pleasant and healing phase of our practice session, we allow the energy flow that we have stimulated with 1-3 Qi Gong exercises to flow freely.


Spontaneous Qi-Movements

To outsiders, the Qi-movements may seem somewhat wild, but being in the flow is a wonderful and liberating experience.


We are simply present without influencing anything and allow ourselves to drift along. And although we are not actively doing anything, it may happen that the energy sets us in motion. We could control these so-called "Qi-movements" at any time, but by letting go, the energy can flow where it is needed.

One of my students once described it aptly as feeling "like a coral on the sea bottom." Simply passively enjoying what is happening and what the body wants to do.

The classic descriptions of this beneficial Qi Gong ability, "Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows” and "Flowing Water, Floating clouds", are beautiful descriptions of it.

It's a bit like the spontaneous urge to stretch in all directions when you wake up without thinking about it. Only longer and much more intense. šŸ˜Š

Even though it may initially seem unusual that the body is allowed to move on its own, my students quickly learn to appreciate this wonderful effect. We consider ourselves fortunate to have this rare ability in Shaolin Wahnam and to be able to transmit it very purposefully through Heart to Heart Transmission.

Spontaneous Qi-movements are hardly found elsewhere, which is actually a pity. Perhaps only when Qi Gong healers transfer energy to others.


Qi Transmission

A young grandmaster Wong transmits energy to a student.


The advantage of “Qi Flow” in our school is that we don't need any external help for it, but can activate it independently at any time so that the energy can work for our benefit.

Tensions dissolve, joints realign, vertebrae slide back into place where they belong. Almost like visiting a chiropractor or a masseuse, except without any external intervention.


Further physical reactions to Qi Gong

There are also several physical indicators that show you are practicing correctly and effectively.


Deeper breathing

Even though we don't force it, through regular practice, the breath naturally becomes calmer and deeper, even in everyday life.


Irregular breathing

Sometimes, during the spontaneous “Qi Flow” phase, the breath may become irregular. This means that exhaling takes much longer than inhaling when a lot of old and waste materials are being expelled, and toxins are leaving the body. Conversely, it can also happen that inhaling takes a long time or is barely noticeable while exhaling happens powerfully.



A very common phenomenon in our Qi Gong practice is yawning. While we don't feel tired at all – rather fresh and alert – yawning helps us quickly remove anything that is being released.


Increased salivation, watery eyes, sweating

If we notice that our mouth or eyes are watery after practice, or if we sweat without exerting ourselves, it indicates that our glands have been stimulated by the improved energy flow.



Krrrkk! Oh, what a liberating sound when joints loosen, ribs or vertebrae realign themselves.


Good pain

For some people, so-called "good pain" may occur after practice. This usually happens in pre-existing problem areas such as back pain or old injuries.

These pains are considered "good" because the Qi is already working to clear the blockage. So, on the path to better posture and holistic health, one may sometimes have to endure a little discomfort.



Sometimes, bloating, burping and more frequent urination may occur. These are all the body's efforts to regulate itself and get rid of what Qi Gong is releasing. Another reason to always open the window after practice. šŸ˜‰

Personally, in the beginning, I could only experience the effects of powerful energy flow indirectly through the physical movements and reactions.

Over time, as I built up more energy, the ability to feel the Qi directly developed too.

Qi Ball between hands

Over time, many people start to feel that "there is something there."


Here are some common Qi sensations

Tingling or prickling on the skin

A pleasant tingling is often one of the first sensations of Qi. Initially, it is mostly felt in the fingers or hands. This is likely because the hands are particularly sensitive and involved in almost all exercises.


Temperature sensations

Sometimes, it's a comforting warmth spreading from within, other times it's a cool shiver or heat in specific body regions.



An expansive (and pleasant) feeling, often starting from the Dantian (the energy field in the lower abdomen) or the entire body or specific body parts. I also frequently hear and experience that the hands feel particularly large and full.



Especially at energy points and energy fields, it can feel like something is pressing. Specifically, when the "third eye" opens.


Heaviness or lightness

At times, the hands float with lightness high above the head. Other times, they hang with heaviness downward.



Especially in Zhan Zhuang, the stance training where one remains in static postures, it can happen that one feels firmly rooted. At times, the Qi makes one sink deeper into the stance.



Particularly when the energy consolidates (accumulates), body parts may begin to vibrate. Initially, this often happens in the hands as the energy accumulates in the cells.

A good test to determine if the vibration comes from developed internal force or physical tension is whether one can speak freely and unaffected during the vibration. This is not easy to do during physical exertion.


Magnetic attraction

In some movements and postures, it feels as if, for example, the hands are attracting each other or are being pulled outward.


Body size and posture

Students often feel taller, more upright, as if their heads are gently being lifted upward for stretching.


Flowing, streaming

Some people can perceive individual meridians, energy pathways, when the energy flows powerfully within them.


Stretching, tension, pulling, inflating

During certain hand postures, such as in "One-Finger Zen", it may feel like there is a pulling sensation on the index finger without stretching the tendons. There is also a feeling that a finger or hand is inflating and about to burst when we concentrate Qi there.


 Qi Gong Focus

The tension in the index finger during "shooting arrows" comes from the accumulated energy. Unless you're tense, then it's due to that. The difference can be recognized through experience. šŸ˜‰


Sounds, Noises

It doesn't always have to be quiet.

Because Qi Gong is a wonderful tool for achieving emotional catharsis and letting go of old baggage.

When pent-up emotions are released, they often escape accompanied by sounds like sobbing, gasping, moaning, growling, rumbling, sustained tones (aaaaaaa, oooooooo, ...), or sometimes even screaming.

All of this leads to a liberation from anger, frustration, fear, worries and sadness, so that you can enjoy life carefree and full of lightness.

You probably know the liberated "Haaahhh" when you settle down on the sofa or bed after a tiring day. That's a little preview. šŸ˜‰


Mental Stillness and Clarity

Since Qi Gong is a simultaneous training of body, energy and mind, through practice, we also gain better control over our thinking.

In meditation, a pleasant calmness sets in and the past and future are banished. We are in the here and now. The "monkey mind" takes a break.

Spiritual Expansion Meditation

Strengthened and purified by the good energy flow, we can experience true stillness at the end of the practice session in standing meditation.

Of course, this doesn't mean that we can't think anymore. On the contrary!

If we can better organize and control our thoughts, we can focus all our mental power on what we are doing, even in everyday life. This significantly enhances performance and productivity.

Initially, every moment of stillness you can create is a success. And if you feel fresh and alive afterward, you've done it right.


Universal Love

Although we are not a religious school, continuous practice can also lead us to spiritual joys.

Every now and then (especially for advanced practitioners), it is possible to experience the universal love and interconnectedness that can be described, for example, as the Holy Spirit, Tathagata, Nirvana or Tao.

It is a wonderful and often life-changing experience.


And finally, a few manifestations of Qi in Martial Arts

The high-level internal martial arts, such as Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi Chuan, draw their power from Qi, which is enriched through various exercises to cultivate "internal force".

Hands, arms, and Dantian (the energy center in the lower abdomen) often feel heavy and full.

The hands can become reddish, also known as "Red Sand Palm" or "Cosmos Palm."

A good energy flow also plays a significant role in martial arts.

This can lead to the arms (or the whole body) moving by themselves only through intention alone. The movements become effortless.

At the highest level, one learns to stimulate the energy flow so strongly that the movements happen at lightning speed.


In conclusion, here are a few brief anecdotes from the "receiving end."

During the course on the "Dragon Strength Chi-Circulation Set", a rare sequence of Kung Fu techniques, when we learned and practiced "Dragon Force", I held onto my Siheng (elder Shaolin brother), Sifu Riccardo from Italy, he pushed me away seemingly gently.

After a few initial steps backward, I thought I would stay in place now, but something that felt like waves kept pushing me further and further away.

 Internal Kung Fu Dragon Force

Sifu Claudio pushes Sifu Kevin away from him using “Dragon Force”


Others reported that it felt like being hit by a locomotive (although hopefully no one attempts to confirm the comparison).

When we project energy into the opponent while performing "Dim Mak", it can feel like an electric shock.

In advanced students, their (relaxed) arms often feel too heavy to be pushed aside.

When I projected energy into a student during an exercise, he suddenly felt weak in the knees and had the urge to "go to sleep", as he described it.

The good thing is that we also know how to quickly clear these types of attacks. So occasionally, we can experiment without causing lasting harm. šŸ˜Š

Traditional Kung Fu is, therefore, a compassionate way of fighting that always seeks to apply the least amount of force and even spare the opponent.



What matters are the positive effects of Qi Gong on our lives!

When you read it like this, you might think we're a bunch of wild people, constantly stumbling around screaming, or crazy individuals daydreaming in agony. šŸ˜ƒ

But I can assure you, we're just normal, nice people who are firmly grounded in life and have learned to let go in order to use our energy in a special way.

All these side effects are good if they're present, but they don't matter if they're not.


As I like to say,

We don't practice because it gives us a pleasant tingling sensation, but to enjoy a healthy, happy, successful and long life."

However, if you have been practicing Qi Gong for some time and have never experienced any of the mentioned effects, it is likely that you are only practicing on a purely physical level – like most people, unfortunately.

Qi Gong, however, should not be just a gymnastics routine; it is, by its name, the "ability to work with energy".


At the same time, one should not start practicing just because of the pleasant and fantastic side effects.

Nevertheless, it can certainly be a reason to give it a try.


So, that was my detailed attempt to describe something that one can either believe or not without personal experience.

And I don't hold it against anyone who doesn't. šŸ˜Š

Ultimately, all of this can only be truly confirmed through personal experience and sufficient authentic practice.

It is not my task to convert doubters, but I'm happy if these descriptions inspire you to look beyond the obvious and be open to the possibility that there may be more than what devices can measure.


If you want to experience what it means to be "in the flow" and seize the opportunity to learn the rare ability of "Qi Flow”, then check out “The Essence of Qi Gong”!

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