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Chi Fitness: A Workout for Body, Mind, and Spirit
by Sue Benton and Drew Denbaum
2002

chi fitness by Sue Benton and Drew Denbaum Chi is an Eastern term that refers to the life force. In India, it's referred to as Prana. In the West, where it's rare to acknowledge anything outside of three dimensions, we don't have a term for it. But Chi, without a doubt, exists. The only difference between human beings and the machines we invent is that unnamed mysterious life force. In an era where physical fitness has increasingly come to include the mind and spirit, it only makes sense that Westerners would eventually wake up and create their own exercise program that includes Chi — Chi Fitness.

Sue Benton, and her husband, Drew Denbaum, developed Chi Fitness and run a studio in Connecticut. The program detailed in their book flows as freely as your Chi should move through your body. Unfortunately, that's not the way Chi flows for most people. Chances are that unhealthy habits and negative behavior patterns have left blockages. The purpose of Chi Fitness is to release those blockages through movement and heightened self-awareness. Not surprisingly, the exercise form leans quite a bit on Eastern practices such as Tai Chi and Yoga, but the addition of psychology and emotional exploration is very Western in nature. Because it appears less mystical and grounded in more familiar things, Chi Fitness may seem a lot more approachable to people who couldn't quite fathom the deeper aspects of Eastern philosophy.

The Chi Fitness movements themselves are low-impact and easy enough for anyone to accomplish. Those who have practiced Yoga, Tai Chi, or even many forms of dance will feel like they already know these moves. What's really important here is the awareness of Chi — discovering where you are giving your power away and learning to reclaim your energy. The first couple of exercises described in the book tell you how to feel and see your Chi. If you have any doubts about the existence of Chi, these exercises will make it very real for you. As for actual workouts, the book is divided into two sections: the Basic Power Practices and the Chakra Power Practices. The basic practices help you become familiar with your Chi and where you may be losing it; the Chakra practices help you explore specific issues in your life. If you take the time to learn this gentle but powerful practice, you'll find out how to become a stronger person, physically, emotionally and spiritually. While its influences come from all parts of the globe, this exercise form really is not like anything else in the world of fitness.

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