February 26, 2024

Event Recap: Practice Qigong with Usa Lee Prompongsatorn

Last fall, qigong practitioner Usa Lee Prompongsatorn joined Healthier Generation and Kohl’s Healthy at Home for a special Facebook Live event. Together, we learned about qigong, a practice rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. Through movement and visualization, we got in touch with our bodies, gained awareness of our energy, and learned helpful ways to manage stress and tension.

Watch the video

Qigong has been shown to improve quality of life among older adult participants and promote physical balance, calm the nervous system, and improve cognition and focus for people of all ages. Ms. Prompongsatorn also described relationship-building benefits, like helping us feel calm and open to engage with others. 

Ms. Prompongsatorn designed our qigong practice to be inclusive and accessible. Practice along with the recording while seated or standing and through visualization of movement. You can also click on the automated closed captioning or follow along with Ms. Prompongsatorn’s verbal instructions to support your experience.

Questions from viewers

Usa Lee Prompongsatorn

Following the qigong event, Ms. Prompongsatorn responded to questions submitted by viewers. Check out her answers below!

Q: "Do you have suggestions for integrating qigong with other physical activities, like running or swimming, to help us be more aware of our energy while we exercise?”

Ms. Prompongsatorn: Yes! Integrating qigong as a way to start, take intermittent breaks, and close physical activity is very harmonious for the mind, body, and spirit.

Similar to stretching before running or swimming, you can supplement and add qigong. Here is a nice 10-minute exercise to clear and prepare the body for a physical activity. This is also a great practice to begin your day. You can consider qigong as a form of mindfulness in movement. Qigong helps you understand how you are feeling, your natural energetic state of equilibrium, and helps regulate your breathing. Here is a nice video to close your physical activity. Try some qigong massage of the legs and feet after physical exercise or for the end of the day. This is great for your circulation.

If you want to incorporate qigong during your workout, the simplest practice to do is mindful breathing or using any of the stretches from these videos. Even some massage work is possible in between intervals of physical activity. A pause to do a quick check on how your body is feeling instead of pushing through is always great. I hope that helps!

Q: “I'm a nose breather and noticed during our practice we waited until the end to incorporate the breathing in through our mouth or exhaling from our mouth. I’m curious if there was a reason for waiting until the end of our qigong practice to incorporate the mouth breathing?"

Ms. Prompongsatorn: Very keen observation of our practice. I opted to wait until the end to incorporate exhaling through the mouth as a way to close with a deep cleansing breath and to fully release energy. My teacher Daju Suzanne Friedman typically had us practice closed-mouth breathing to allow for a “closed circuit” internalized breath. Many qigong practitioners believe that closed-mouth breathing is the fastest way to calm the nervous system. Here is a nice explanation about qigong breathing. There are many, many qigong breathing techniques! I’ve also linked an overview of 8 common forms of breathing

If you would like an extended breathing practice/meditation, here is a video of a nice qigong sequence that can be practiced any time of year. The video was created during winter/end of year, but the breathing practices can be done at any time of year. Although not all of the qigong vocabulary is explained, the video moves you through some of the general concepts used in qigong

Thank you, Usa Lee Prompongsatorn, for sharing your time and energy to teach this qigong practice to our community!

Find more family health resources in English and Spanish at KohlsHealthyAtHome.org, and text HEALTHY to 1-800-436-4584 to receive free healthy living tips, recipes, and activities to your phone.