Several thousand years ago in China, through direct observation of nature and a deep awareness of their own bodies, ancient enlightened beings (Wu 巫) developed and perfected methods to help them maintain health and achieve enlightenment. Chinese classical texts and historical documents refer to these methods by many different names (DaoYin 導引, NeiDan 内丹, NeiGong 內功, etc).
What is Qigong?
Qigong 氣功 is the modern, popularized term for this ancient art and science of health maintenance and healing. When referring to traditional practices, the modern term captures the essence contained in its older names. These traditional practices for cultivating inner knowledge provide a pathway for moving into TianRenHeYi 天人合一, the union of the human being and the universe.
Jing, Qi and Shen
Qigong is a way of physical, mental, and spiritual cultivation, and involves working with the three parts of the body (Jing, Qi and Shen).
In Chinese, Jing 精 means essence and represents the physical body. The physical body is our structure – the container which holds our essential life energy, our Qi body and our spiritual body. The word Qi 氣 itself translates as vital energy of the universe, which of course includes the vital energy within your body.
Your breath is deeply connected with the Qi body. Qi can also be translated as ‘vital breath’. In Qigong, we cultivate our Qi body by working with our breath to increase our vital energy or life force.
Shen 神 means spirit, and represents our spiritual body. In general, our mind is related to our Shen. If we pay too much attention to the external world, always looking outside of ourselves, we weaken our Qi. In Qigong practice, we learn to look within to preserve our spiritual energy.
Qigong and your health
From the Qigong perspective, the body is a Qi (vital energy) network. One will maintain wellness on all levels if the Qi is free-flowing in this network.