Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness

In partnership with
Qi Gong Expert Lee Holden,
Holden QiGong
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4.8 out of 5
57 Reviews
84% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 9023
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers See how you can increase the energy reserves in your body.
  • numbers Understand and practice mindful movement to increase physical awareness of your body.
  • numbers Reveal the ways Qi Gong can both energize the body and calm the mind.
  • numbers Gain valuable insight into treating persistent issues like headaches, back pain, stress, and more.

Course Overview

If you are not familiar with Qi Gong, now is the perfect time to become acquainted with an exercise that won’t leave you winded after practice and that doesn’t require expensive equipment or specific clothing. It’s also a wellness option that can improve your health after the most basic practice, and is accessible no matter your age or body type. The practice of Qi Gong, time-tested over thousands of years, has the potential to improve your physical fitness, free your mind, and energize your life with renewed vitality.

Taught by Master Instructor Lee Holden, the 12 lessons of Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness will show you why Qi Gong is the art of effortless power, mirroring the movements of nature. By following Master Holden’s peaceful movements and his soothing, supportive direction, you’ll find yourself breathing more deeply and finding a new sense of peace. Filmed against a background of rivers and mountains, these lessons will help you relax from the moment they begin, as you learn to become open and receptive to the natural energy of the world.

Qi Gong—sometimes called the grandmother of tai chi—is the basic exercise system within Chinese medicine. It focuses on opening the places in your body where your circulating energy is blocked, allowing your life force, known as “qi”, to flow freely. Many ancient and modern practitioners believe that, when your qi is flowing properly, your body and mind are balanced and able to help you enjoy your most healthy existence. But whether your concern is your qi or just basic health, Qi Gong can have amazing benefits for your fitness and mental well-being.

The Health Benefits of Qi Gong

Qi Gong has been used as a tool of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, both as a preventive practice and as a treatment for chronic illness. Consequently, it’s easy to find anecdotal evidence of Qi Gong’s health benefits in disease prevention, stress reduction, and healthy aging. But because there were no formal medical studies to back up that evidence until recently, Western medicine tended to look down on the practice as unimportant at best and fraudulent at worst.

That paradigm has changed. As soon as Western scientists began a rigorous study of Qi Gong, they couldn’t overlook its positive health effects. While the research is still relatively new, scientific studies published in reputable medical journals have identified dozens of physiological and psychological benefits of Qi Gong, including:

  • Anxiety. Studies have shown positive effects of Qi Gong in anxiety reduction, improved balance in the autonomic nervous system (our fight, flight, or freeze response), and in the body overall.
  • Bone Mineral Density. Studies of women have shown increased bone mineral following Qi Gong exercises.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Studies suggest that regular practice can reduce pain and improve sleep, vitality, and physical functioning in patients with chronic fatigue.
  • Disordered Eating. Studies have shown Qi Gong to be a positive therapeutic tool in conjunction with psychotherapy for the recovery of patients with anorexia.
  • Immune System. Studies have reported improvement in numerous immune-related blood markers, including a decrease in markers related to inflammation.
  • Parkinson’s Disease. Studies have shown that Qi Gong exercises can improve body functions in patients with early or middle stages of Parkinson’s disease.

Who Can Practice Qi Gong?

As a slow-moving, peaceful, meditative form of exercise, Qi Gong can be practiced by people of all ages and abilities. The movements in this course are slow and simple, and always carefully modeled and explained. Qi Gong will “meet you where you are,” allowing you to begin a practice no matter your age or fitness level, and help you feel more relaxed and energized. With no sequences to memorize, you will feel confident every step of the way as you follow Master Holden’s guidance into a more peaceful and energized life. Even if you’ve been sitting on the couch for years and know better than to jump into a neighborhood basketball game, you should have no problem starting Qi Gong.

The Beauty of the Basic Movements

There is no one single “right” way to do Qi Gong. In fact, there are hundreds of different types and thousands of exercise variations. In this course, Master Holden has brought together 12 distinct groups of movements—each group formulated to address a particular health issue—with a total of more than 50 different exercises. Throughout all 12 lessons, you’ll find the constant themes of calm mind; deep breath; and slow, steady movements.

With easy-to-follow directions, you will learn some the most basic and calming Qi Gong exercises including:

  • Knocking on the Door of Life. This exercise cultivates high-quality energy flow in your body by stimulating the acupressure points for vitality. The easy, twisting movements will help bring suppleness to your spine. And at the end of this one exercise, you’ll already be able to feel the tingling sensation of the qi moving through your body.
  • Opening the Flow. This soft, gentle exercise will calm the mind and relax the body, while also increasing your energy flow. As you follow along with the soft, smooth movements—allowing your arms to float up and then float down—you’re training your body to move with relaxation, flowing effortlessly, like water. While on the outside, this exercise looks and feels very soft and relaxing, on the inside you’re increasing the unrestricted movement of your qi, increasing your vitality. This is your own personal flow.
  • Embracing the Tree. The physical movement in this posture is so simple, it doesn’t even look like an exercise—the work is all on the inside. As Master Holden demonstrates, you’re standing in an erect and relaxed position, with your rounded arms in front of you at a comfortable height as if you were embracing a beautiful, thick tree. With a slow, calm breath, you take in cool, peaceful energy through your rooted legs up into the rest of your body, aware that you are also absorbing the beautiful energy from above, just as a tree does. This posture will allow you to mindfully access the natural energy all around you, increasing your powerful vitality.

The beauty of these Qi Gong exercises is that you can benefit even if you just listen! Master Holden’s calming voice and detailed description of breath work could form the basis for a beautiful practice of mindful meditation. Even if you’re not yet ready to “exercise,” you can join the millions around the world who benefit from the beautiful, ancient practice of Qi Gong with Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness.

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12 lectures
 |  Average 42 minutes each
  • 1
    Introduction to Qi Gong
    In this lesson, you will be introduced to the flowing movements of Qi Gong, and the deep, slow breath that powers those movements. Qi is the life force that circulates through the body, bringing vitality to every organ and structure. When qi is blocked, the bodily systems can't perform at their peak, and ill health can result. The breathing, stretching, and strengthening techniques in this lesson will help ensure a fresh supply of energy to all parts of your body. You'll learn a variety of simple movements including Shaking, Spreading the Feathers, Opening the Flow, and Centering. x
  • 2
    Qi Gong for Better Breathing
    When we spend our whole day sitting down, slightly slumped over the desk, our life force energy can become pretty low. But when we stand up, pull our shoulders back, open our heart, and breathe deeply with awareness and purpose, we elevate the life force within us. With that goal in mind, this lesson includes the movements of Wave Breathing, Holding Up the Sky, Rooster Spreads His Feathers, Soaring Crane, and Great Bear Swims in the Ocean. At the end of this lesson, you will feel both more relaxed and more energized-almost as if the air were breathing you. x
  • 3
    Qi Gong Mindfulness in Motion
    Mindfulness is the simple-sounding act of being aware of the present moment, and recent research has shown it to have a strong positive effect on both mental and physical health. But for most of us-whose minds tend to wander here and there, over and over-mindfulness can be a challenge. In this series of Qi Gong movements, we use the power of breath and energy circulation to bring our thoughts back to the present, again and again. Movements such as Waterways, Clearing, Tiger Claw, Fireflies in the Lantern, and Lotus help us experience the present moment, exactly as it is. x
  • 4
    Qi Gong for the Upper Back and Neck
    We live in an age of inactivity and repetitive motion, with many of us spending hours every day hunched over our computers and smartphones-all of which causes strain in the upper back and neck. But even if we had proper support, posture, and movement throughout the day, our neck muscles must support and balance our head during every waking moment. In this lesson, you'll use deep abdominal breathing and strong but gentle movements to help clear tension from the neck, upper back, and shoulders. Movements include Silk Reelings, Water Waves, Clearing, Spreading the Feathers, and Bear Swimming in the Ocean. x
  • 5
    Qi Gong for Healthy Joints
    When we think of our joints, most of us think of the large joints: shoulders, hips, knees, and maybe elbows. But we actually have hundreds of joints in the body, although not all are movable (like those in the skull). The energy in our moveable joints can become stagnant over time through repetitive motion, improper posture, and stress. The simple but effective movements of Qi Gong, combined with deep breathing techniques, can bring energy and suppleness back to all our joints. In this lesson, movements include Spinal Cord Breathing, Turtle Neck, Silk Reelings, and Opening the Flow. x
  • 6
    Qi Gong for Arms, Wrists, and Hands
    This lesson is about opening energy throughout the tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joints of the lower arms, allowing for a greater range of motion and better qi circulation down through the fingers. Although arthritis symptoms often begin in the hands, many types of exercise and movement practices ignore the need to increase strength and flexibility in the hands. In this lesson, you're encouraged to listen to the needs of your body, giving yourself as much or as little stretch as you want. Movements include Silk Reelings, White Crane Soaring, Opening the Flow, and Baby Bird Learning to Fly. x
  • 7
    Qi Gong for Headaches
    Almost everyone has experienced headache pain at one time or another, and many of us experience headaches frequently. The most common type of headache, the tension headache, can be caused by tightened muscles in the back of the neck and the scalp. Qi Gong relieves that tension, increases circulation, and calms the mind-all working together to ease the pain, and leave you feeling refreshed and energized. The movements in this lesson include Wave Breathing, Clearing, Spreading the Feathers, Waterfall, and Pulling Down the Sky to the Six Directions. x
  • 8
    Qi Gong for Strong Bones
    In Chinese medicine, bones are considered to be the energy storage areas of the body, representing deep vitality. They are also the source of our red blood cells, made in the bone marrow. We know that if weight-bearing exercises aren't used to stimulate the bones, our bones can become more porous as we age. This Qi Gong routine uses the force of your own body weight to strengthen your bones. In addition, these exercises will help increase the flow of your qi and your overall vitality. You'll learn movements including Knocking on the Door of Life, Shaking, The Fountain, Opening the Flow, Flying, and Bone Breathing. x
  • 9
    Qi Gong for High Blood Pressure
    When your blood pressure is consistently too high, the heart has to work harder than normal and the vessels can become damaged, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. A recent meta-analysis of studies of more than 2,000 patients concluded that Qi Gong is an effective therapy for hypertension. By using Qi Gong to relieve stress, relax your mind and body, and relieve stagnation to increase the free flow of energy, the risk of high blood pressure can be reduced. In this lesson, you will learn the movements of Water Waves, The Boa, Swimming Dragon, Repulse the Monkey, and Embracing the Tree, among others. x
  • 10
    Qi Gong for Energy and Vitality
    Holding tension in the body-whether or not we're aware of it-can restrict the flow of qi and dampen our sense of vitality. In this lesson, you'll learn how to activate your own qi and how to move with strength, flexibility, and intentionality. These slow, meditative movements will strengthen the energy system of the entire body. You'll learn movements including Knocking on the Door of Life, Chi Massage, Turning a Water Wheel, Between Heaven and Earth, Embracing the Tree, Monk Holding the Pearl, and Bamboo in the Wind. x
  • 11
    Qi Gong for Anxiety
    While occasional anxiety is a normal and expected part of life, anxiety disorders significantly affect the lives of 40 million adults in the United States each year. The opposite of anxiety is flow, a feeling of internal peace and relaxation you can discover through the practice of Qi Gong. This lesson will help you find that equanimity, where the body is relaxed, the mind is at peace, and anxiety is held at bay. This routine is like a mini vacation from all the things in life that pull you off your center. You'll learn movements including Wave Breathing, Cleansing Breath, Drop and Shake, Qi Massage, and Cloudy Hands. x
  • 12
    Qi Gong Five Elements Energy Balance
    There are five elements that represent the energy in nature and in each of us-water, wood, fire, earth, and metal-one energy differentiated into many forms. We ourselves are an extension of the Earth, always lifting up to the sun and the universe. The human body is a powerful conductor of electricity and qi, and when the elements and energy are balanced inside of us, we feel happy, healthy, and at peace. In this lesson, you'll learn a variety of postures to help balance your energy, including Sword Hand, Snake Spits Out the Tongue, and Embracing the Tree. x

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Your professor

Lee Holden

About Your Professor

Lee Holden
Holden QiGong
Lee Holden first discovered the power of qi at the early age of 10 from his parents’ meditation lessons. He studied a variety of martial arts including Karate, Kung Fu, and Capoeira and had an early interest in Taoism, Qi Gong, and Chinese medicine. After college, he set out on a path of self-discovery in Asia, visiting China, Japan, and Indonesia to study with master teachers, and Thailand, where he was hired to write...
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Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 59.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Qi Gong for Better Health its very interesting. Im just beginning this one. Its an excellent way to exercise.
Date published: 2020-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just What I Needed! I have been experiencing whole body joint pain due to a little known syndrome and most exercise does not work well for me. Qi Gong has opened new doors for me in my quest for maintaining health, strength, and flexibility. Thank you Lee Holden and The Great Courses for making this available and affordable.
Date published: 2020-06-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I just recxeived it with five other courses. I have not opened it. You are rushing me
Date published: 2020-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Inspiring and life changer The positive effect over mind and body are felt almost instantly. All the movements are flowing naturally and you seem to do them effortlessly. We got to a point where there’s an inner need to practice every day. It’s like Lee is a part of our family.
Date published: 2020-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better Health and Wellness This series of Qi Gong led by Lee Holden is wonderful! As Lee Holden says Qi Gong is relaxing and energizing...and it's easy to follow. I work with one of the videos everyday - the natural setting and the music are great pluses. My energy level and the fluidity of my body's movements are greatly improved...which is so important in my elder years.
Date published: 2020-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful exercise and awareness program I just bought this and am finishing up the first third of the lessons. Couldn’t be happier. My husband is 82 years young and I am 73 and we are both comfortable with the program and already feeling the benefits. I’m thinking of getting a set for another younger family member.Appears to be good for all- mindfulness in younger as well as older adults.
Date published: 2020-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very useful and restotarive discipline. I have been doing the different areas of focus and I find it very helpful
Date published: 2020-06-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What I was looking for This was my intro to Qi Gong found this DVD set great I like that the instructor irrors the movements so you are doing it correctly.
Date published: 2020-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Expanding Consciousness I have been practicing Qi Gong and Tai Chi now for 24 years. I have been frustrated off and on with my practice. But now that I have met Lee Holden, at least remotely, my practice has been more satisfying. I remember telling my first Tai Chi Teacher that I had an insight. His response was, "Just keep practicing and it will go away." Lee's teachings and the insights I have obtained with this course, have not gone away.
Date published: 2020-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Qi Gong for Better Health and Wellness I am getting so much from this course that I also purchased one for my daughter. I needed a challenge I was able and willing to on a regular basis and have fun at the same time. The sessions are comprehensible, the directions clear and precise, plus the visual is quite pleasing. So I surprised my daughter with the course and she is also enjoying it.
Date published: 2020-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshing Way to Start the Day I really like the feeling of being part of Nature while performing these Qi Gong exercises. The scenery is beautiful and calming and Mr. Holden demonstrates the movements in a very relaxing manner. Really great for improved balance and mental well-being.
Date published: 2020-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Qi Gong For Better Health And Wellness Love this course. Lee Holden does a superb job at describing the moves. The picturesque backgrounds add to the movement depictions.
Date published: 2020-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Helps me feel great almost every day! As a senior, I wanted a less intensive exercise program. This meet my needs to a "T"! As a bonus it "calms the mind, and the background of the Yosemite Valley is inspirational.
Date published: 2020-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Workout I've been doing Tai Chi for about 30 years and I knew some of the basics. The instructor helps to amplify that. Good enough of a workout that I can give up yoga.
Date published: 2020-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent exercises I’ve been doing this for a week now it has helped my overall wellness and is easy to do.
Date published: 2020-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Videos These videos are a great introduction to Qi Gong! Lee Holden's teachings start slowly and move you to more intense exercises. His method of teaching is fantastic! He clearly demonstrates each movement. I am enjoying the entire series.
Date published: 2020-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great I am doing this so gong video every day. There are twelve different series: each one works on different energy centers such as breathwork, hands and wrists, head and neck and so on. I did each of them and now do one that seems right for that particular day for me. I really like this energy work; it is graceful and has given me much more energy already. The instructor is excellent and explains and illustrates each segment clearly. I love this class.
Date published: 2020-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Workout suitable even for seniors I tried this out by taking it out of our library. I decided I would use it so much that I bought it.
Date published: 2020-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyed the exercises This course has many more routines than my introduction course. The routines provide a full body work out and the connection to mindfulness and chi energy is informative.
Date published: 2020-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good cover picture and title I just got my order today and have already watched a couple of the episodes. They seem very good and I am sure that I will get a lot of benefit from them.
Date published: 2020-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Qi Gong feels great! I haven't had a chance to do much, so far, but the two classes I have done, make me want to do more.
Date published: 2020-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Covers nice selection of health concerns I use this almost everyday mostly the routines for high blood pressure and anxiety. I have done all of them and find them really beneficial. Glad I got its a life saver. Worth every penny!!!!!
Date published: 2020-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Health and Balance for All Lee Holden makes it possible for anyone, at almost any health level, to fully engage in Qi Gong. I am 60 and was not in the best of health for the past decade. I am a teacher of special education and also a caretaker for two family members. Qi Gong is returning my health and balance to me. It reduces stress and has improved my sleep. Lee Holden presents each "lecture" in such a clear and peaceful way. You will never feel you are being pushed too far. Overtime you will realize that you are engaging in each movement more fully. I cannot offer enough praise for this course. Thank you Lee Holden and thank you The Great Courses.
Date published: 2020-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from valuable techniques just received my dvd within the last two weeks but already I am impressed with the instructor and the lessons. I think this will be something I will use for the rest of my life.
Date published: 2020-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for slowing the nervous system. Lee Holden is wonderful at teaching Qi Gong. I have some of his other courses, he explains everything very well. It is very similar to Tai Chi if you are wondering what it is. I wish some of the practices were shorter in length, 20 minutes instead of 45 to a hour long.
Date published: 2020-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! I love this guy and have bought his videos before,,, This is the best.
Date published: 2019-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely class I love this class! The pacing is great, the ongoing explanation helpful and not intrusive, the tone of voice calming, and the outdoor background completes the perfect package. Exactly what I hoped for.
Date published: 2019-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exercise for All Ages I have several of Lee Holden's DVDs, this selection is the best in variety, focus and intensity. The setting is amazing, the classes tailored and well instructed. Have recommended it to many friends.
Date published: 2019-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Useful and enjoyable This course has been immensely enjoyable. A very good addition to the other wellness courses I have taken through Great Courses. If you are most interested in active participation you are engaged immediately. Mr. Holden's instructions are easy to follow. If you are also interested in the history, philosophy and application of Tai Chi and Qigong, in addition to active participation, then first consider the excellent "Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong" by David-Dorian Ross.
Date published: 2019-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent so far I've only used QiGong for a couple of weeks now, so my review is premature, but so far I'm finding it to be excellent. It's gentle enough for my 80 year old frame, and it's showing me places where I have chronic stiffness and it's relieving that stiffness.
Date published: 2019-11-12
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