In Chinese philosophy, the ethereal substance of which everything is composed. Early Daoist philosophers and alchemists regarded it as a vital force associated with breath and bodily fluids and sought to control its movement within the body in order to achieve longevity and spiritual power. Manipulation of qi is central to Chinese meditation, medicine, and martial arts. In the 10th–13th centuries Neo-Confucianism regarded qi as emanating from the Great Ultimate by way of li, the ordering principle of the universe, transformed into the elements through yin and yang (see yin-yang).
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