Originating in China, Qigong is a general name for the systems of hardening and improvement of body and mind, treatment, and health enhancement.
They are primarily based on controlling your consciousness, mentality, and physiological processes.
Qigong practitioners have displayed stunning results that even modern science has had difficulty explaining.
There are three main categories of Qigong: Health-Improving, Fighting, and Mystical.
Chinese physicians developed and evolved the Health-Improving Qigong during many centuries. They created special exercises aimed to preserve and promote health and cure various diseases.
Fighting (or Hard) Qigong
Fighting Qigong was developed by those practitioners of Qigong who, at the same time, were masters of martial arts.
These exercises enhance the energy concentration in muscles and other parts of the body. Increasing bodily strength, and resistance against the attempts to cause a physical injury.
Mystical Qigong is a child of Buddhist monks and Taoist anchorites.
In Mystical Qigong, the goal is to achieve the so-called Enlightenment – a unique psychophysical state of the human being.
Taoist anchorites also developed methods of anti-aging based on Mystical Qigong. Mystical Qigong is considered the most difficult to master.
Qigong is not only the art of Qi energy control; it also trains the mind and helps to work out the ability to control your volitional impulse. Qigong techniques include a wide variety of exercises and consist of three main parts. Control of position, control of breath, and control of the mind.
Controlling position, we can acquire optimal body posture. Allowing Qi to flow without delays or blockages, not causing any disturbing feelings, and removing diseases.
Exercises are primarily performed in common stances, for example, in the Rider’s Stance or Horse Stance.
You need to control your breath to let the external Qi (from the air) pass mechanically into the internal state and spread along energy channels, entirely feeding all the organs.
Consciousness is crucial in breath control; it distributes Qi along the body. At the highest stage, breath is controlled subconsciously and does not require too much of your attention.
Step by step, learning to control energy resources, a practitioner will pass from using the physical strength (Li) to the internal burst of effort (Tsin). As Chinese masters believe, this internal effort is produced not by muscles but in tendons and marrow.
This is why most Kung Fu exercises aimed not to increase the mass of muscles but to strengthen tendons and bones. While muscles tend to lose their strength as we grow older, masters preserve their internal effort (Tsin) until great age.
That’s why Chinese masters of Kung Fu say, “If you do not practice Fighting Qigong but train only your physical strength, you’ll be left with nothing when you grow old enough.”
Qigong exercises advance the “internal Qi” our body contains. “Internal Qi” is also called “true Qi”.
The “true Qi” state depends on many factors: regular Fighting Qigong exercises, nutrition, mental state, environment, etc. Every human being has internal Qi, but only a few can use it properly and develop it.
Qi in the vast majority of people is destabilized. The goal of Fighting Qigong is to fill the organism with “true Qi,” calm it, make Qi flow along channels freely without obstructions.
So What Is Qi After All?
It is an energetic substance representing the foundation of all, i. e., the energetic foundation of the Universe.
Our body can be compared to an electric appliance. It works if it is supplied with electric power, but the device operation stops if the power supply is cut off.
Likewise, with our bodies, if the Qi supply to our body is insufficient or stagnant, we can get sick or even die.
To have a healthy, vigorous body, one needs to learn how to keep the Qi circulation smooth to accumulate a sufficient amount of Qi. It is necessary to understand the circulation and storage of Qi in your body to do so.
Humans have twelve primary channels (meridians) along which Qi is spread across the entire body.
There also exist eight “miraculous” vessels serving as a kind of reservoirs storing and regulating Qi. One end of each channel is attached to one of the twelve internal organs. While the other end is connected to one of our fingers or toes.
These twelve channels supply Qi energy with twelve internal organs. These channels also take the excess energy away from internal organs allowing us to throw it out of the body.
Due to blockage or disease, Qi’s circulation along the channels is interrupted. One or several organs cannot get enough Qi, which leads to their functional disturbance.
To be healthy, you need to learn how to keep the circulation of Qi in the twelve channels smooth and constantly replenish the “miraculous vessels” with energy.
Qi And Martial Arts
If you understand Qi circulation in the human body, you will also understand how Qi relates to martial arts.
Remember, your body is not simply a machine it is an organism able to improve itself.
The more vigorous Qi is, the stronger the human body gets.
Fighting Qigong practice sessions serve to enhance the capabilities of your body. We know that we can control various parts of our bodies using our minds.
The process of control is simple. Our mind generates a thought, leading Qi to the corresponding parts of the body that perform the requested action.
The critical thing about Fighting Qigong is learning to lead your Qi as efficiently as possible. In this case, you can increase your strength very much.
Martial artists can learn to focus their minds through meditation or other kinds of training practice to make Qi obey them. Qigong exercises can substantially enhance the strength of a fighter and increase the efficiency of his technique.
I have practised a little Qigong. I love it and know the affects can be amazing on mind, body, feeling connected spiritually and raising consciousness. I really need to introduce a more ritualised practise though. I’m curious as to the difference though between Qigong and Tai Chi. Your article is very informative and has motivated me to resume my Qigong exercises.
Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.
There are some differences between Qigong and Tai Chi, I will try my best to sum It up. Tai Chi is much more elaborate in the choreography and movement, Qigong’s purpose is to cultivate Qi, not forms or movement. Also, the meditation involved with Qigong is more heavily focused and intense.
The Qigong exercises are something I have never heard of before. But, I am interested in learning more about them. I would like to learn more about the 12 channels, and eight eight “miraculous” vessels. I am sure that practicing these exercises would help us in many ways to rid the body of disease. But, I am no youngster any more, so I wonder “Is it even possible to teach our bodies these exercise skills when we are senior citizens?” Thank you for introducing me to the Qigong exercises.
My pleasure for introducing and qigong can certainly be done by seniors. Qigong can help strengthen and heal nerves, tendons, lower blood pressure and help prevent injuries. There are a lot of resources online for Qigong for seniors that you can find. I would certainly recommend exploring and giving it a try. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!
Hi lgoupil, I having been interested in Qigong since last year. Although, I have not actually tried it for myself yet. So, it is good to read this and learn a bit more. I know it is similar to Tai Chi but think this is something I need to read into further. You mention about the 3 types I don’t think I would really be too interested in the martial arts aspect but yes the health improvement type and the mystical type I find are really interesting. I take it this involves a light kind of meditation or something.
I will have to do a bit more research do you have any articles you’d like to recommend for further reading?
Thanks for sharing
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. If you are trying to find what is the best Qigong exercise for you and need more resources, the National Qigong Association has a lot you can digest on their website. I’m sure I will write more about Qigong in the future but for now, this website might be your best resource. https://www.nqa.org/