What is Qi Gong?
What is Qi Gong?
When asking what Qi Gong is, it is best to simplify the meaning of each word.
Gong means “achievement spent over a gradual process of work or practice”, work, or method of practice, or skill.
It now remains to describe the term Qi or Chi….
What is Qi?
Loa-Tzu would describe Tao or Dao as unnameable, untouchable but reaches all things a moves them. You could say that being in the natural flow if your own personal existence creates Qi. Purely through the harmony of moving to the vibration of nature and the celestial movements you could harmonise Qi to work better for you and even cultivate it naturally.
It could be said that one essential Qi is the universal life force or creative energy that pervades everything. This could describe Qi in its most rarefied form outside of everything while being within everything in its densest form.
It conforms to the theories of particle physics as “aethereal waves” or “Radio-active emanations” …
The Chinese language pictograph for Qi is represented by the symbol of the steam produced by cooking rice, suggesting “Qi” is both the resultant steam from cooked rice and the uncooked rice, but with more emphasis on the steam.
The ultimate emanations of Qi come from Heaven and Earth, this also demonstrates that Qi can be in both dispersed, electro-magnetic form or in a condensed form such as matter; for example, the food we eat. Heaven and earth are also ultimate emanations that help to describe Yang & Yin from the Daoist symbol…
This corresponds with the philosophy that mankind is in the middle between heaven and earth and that heaven and earth Qi create mankind and nurture it.
The Daoist (or “Taoist” depending on which transliteration you are using) symbol is the well-known image of a perpetual spiral of interweaving Yang & Yin. Yang being light, strong, masculine and Yin being receptive, dark, and feminine. Or you could say dynamic and magnetic, respectively.
For existence to occur or manifest from the void there needs to be interaction between two forces to create Qi. For example, heat or movement. Heat is the resultant Qi deriving from the interaction of prime materials. Movement is created by exerting force on one thing from another, creating movement.
As far as we are concerned, within humans there are many types of Qi. Each organ consists of different constituencies of matter and our core essences is made up of Yang and Yin Qi.
In Chinese medicine philosophy the human being’s essence Qi is make up of the Three Treasures:
- Jing or Pure Essence - sexual or primal Qi (Pre-Heaven formed by the union of your parents, present from conception)
- Qi – The main Qi in our body, our organs, both their emanations and function, for example oxygen generated by the lungs and the enrichment of the blood by its function and its relation to other organs, e.g.: metal cuts wood [lung enriches Liver]
- Shen – Mind or “spirit” – our heart and mind Qi
Our bodily Qi is a complex system of interrelating Yin & Yang Qi functions, emanations, and interactions, from our organs’ specific Qi that is designated by the five elements and influenced of course by Jing & Shen Qi. We can cultivate healthy Qi through our diet, good environment, Qi Gong & Tai Chi.
How do you cultivate Qi?
Learn the skill (Gong) for cultivating beneficial life force (Qi) - through stimulation of our electro-magnetic, mechanical and biochemical essences.
Apart from a good diet and natural environment Tai Chi and Qi Gong are excellent methods of cultivating Qi.
Qi can be cultivated by utilising natural forces of nature from heaven and earth, such as the air we breathe and the “earthing” function of the ground that could balance other elements of Qi. Also, herbal medicine. The external cultivation of Qi from natural resources, food and herbal medicine is called Wei Dan – External Medicine.
Utilising the internal movement and functioning of the body to stimulate healthy Qi is called NeiDan – Internal medicine.
In our school, or family, such as is the tradition of martial arts schools in China, Qi can be stimulated by mechanical, electrical or biochemical functions of the body and environment. In fact, electrical, biochemical and the resultant Qi from mechanical actions of the body are different types of Qi.
You could say that the air we breathe (biochemical), Tai Chi movements (mechanical) and beneficial essence of the sun (electro-magnetic) in turn stimulate multiple Qi functions in our body for health. These exercises and functions are also of course affected by Shen, our Mind/Spirit, our intention, or more specifically attention to the exercises.
As Qi Gong practitioners say: Qi follows the mind and blood follows the Qi…
Essentially, Qi Gong & Taiji (Tai Chi) are sequences of exercises that have been developed over thousands of years, originating from the philosophy of the IChing, The Book of Changes (3,500 BC) that involve:
The terms “Taiji” and “Qi Gong” are quite recent terms to describe the art of health, longevity, and self-defence, originally, according to my teacher Dr YK Leung PhD (AKA Shi Delon) the terms DaoYinShu (leading a reaching) and XingQiShu (moving the energy) were used to describe Tai Chi & Qi Gong.
It is said that Qi is the commander of blood and Qi follows Yi – intention, or more to the point intention with attention to a focused point of concentrated consciousness.
Therefore, Qi Gong combines intention with attention, breathing and movement practice for health and Qi cultivation.
At a higher level, or more to the point; a more unconditioned level or Qi Gong is spontaneous five animal qi gong.