What Is Qigong?

Qigong dates back at least five thousand years to when ancient Chinese recognized that Qi was the most building block in the universe and came to understand the role of Qi in physical health and life cultivation. Methods were developed to improve the Qi condition in order to promote better health and a higher level of consciousness. The term “Qigong” (氣功) was first used to describe this work on Qi in the Jin Dynasty (265-420 A.D.) and is currently in wide use as a generic term for all methods that are designed to work on Qi. New methods have been created throughout the long history of Qigong, and this continues today.

In Ren Xue, Qigong is defined as a self-training method that uses Jingshen (heart, consciousness, and Shen), the body (postures and movements) and, in some methods, breathing to bring direct change to Qi in order to enhance the health and wellbeing of the body and Jingshen. This is the definition applied to Yuan Qigong system.

We can look at the three elements referred to above – Jingshen, breathing and physical postures and movements, to gain more clarity on the nature of Qigong.

Use of Jingshen by following the required heart, consciousness, and Shen activities is what makes Qigong a unique practice. For example, the activities may involve using the consciousness or heart qualities to create a certain state, focusing on a specific part of the body, having certain thoughts or intentions, maintaining awareness of Qi, or visualizing in a certain way in order to help create the desired effect on Qi.

Some Qigong methods use breathing techniques to work on Qi, and this can be very useful. Because breathing is an internal activity that naturally occurs all the time, focusing on the breath is a simple and effective way of directing the awareness inward. The simpler the mind activity, the easier it is to maintain a healthy state and stay focused. Breathing can also enhance the effect the practice has on Qi. The natural movement of Qi in and out of the body with inhalation and exhalation means that breathing can be used as a convenient way to work on Qi. For example, focusing on breathing can increase the amount of Qi going in and out and is therefore an effective way to gather more Qi.

There are many different techniques for using the body in Qigong practice, but they can be roughly divided into two categories: Moving Qigong and Still Qigong. Moving Qigong is good for promoting Qi flow and clearing Qi blockages and Still Qigong, in which the body remains in a fixed posture for a period of time, is especially good for gathering and internalizing Qi. These two types of Qigong complement each other, so it is advisable to include both to maximize the effect of the practice.

The basic effect Qigong practice is expected to deliver is increasing the amount of Qi, improving the flow of Qi, and enhancing the quality of Qi in the body. For Qigong to be an effective and safe tool for healing and health maintenance, it is important to choose a sound system or method and to follow proper guidance.

Many different systems or methods have been created throughout the long history of Qigong. Each is designed with its own theoretical base and its own intention purpose. While almost all Qigong methods can have positive effects on health, for more consistent and profound effects, choosing a sound system will be very important.

Effectiveness, efficiency and safety are the main criteria for assessing the soundness of a system. Good understanding of the law of Qi and life and the experience of the designer are crucial for ensuring them. To assess effectiveness, we need to look at how well the practice fulfills its purpose. A good way to judge this is to find out how it has worked for those who have practiced it consistently for some time. If the purpose of the practice is to improve health, we can examine how well it has helped people deal with health problems. Has the practice helped improve overall health condition, including energy levels? Efficiency relates to the amount of time and effort a person needs to expend in order to achieve a significant level of improvement. We need to look at how long it takes for obvious changes to occur. The differences between systems can be quite significant. Safety is also an important factor to consider. Design flaws can pose as a risk and create problems when practitioners practice the method.

It is also essential to learn from teachers who have been trained properly. Qualified teachers should be able to help students understand what the method is for, how it works and how to use it properly. Instructions should cover all aspects of the method, including the movements, the mind activities, and the state. Leaving any aspect out can compromise the effectiveness and safety of the practice.

Trained teachers should also provide ongoing guidance for students on how to practice the method properly, including answering any questions that may arise. This is especially important for beginners, as Qigong practice can often lead to experiences with which they are not familiar.

For more information about Qigong, please read the book ‘Wellbeing Begins With You’ by Yuan Tze. You can purchase it on our Learn REN XUE website here.

This is an excerpt from the book ‘Wellbeing Begins With You’ by Yuan Tze, if you would like to read more from Wellbeing you can purchase it on our Learn REN XUE website here.

Read

Yuan Tze’s New Year Message 2024

Dear Ren Xue family, Time continues to flow! The earth has just completed another circle around the sun, bringing us to the start of a new year. 2023 has not been an easy year for the world, and may not have been for many of us. But here we are, reading this message...

Yuan Tze on the Causes of Conflict and How to Move Beyond it

Dear Ren Xue family, I am aware that some of you are having a hard time watching the world going through upheavals. Many people are suffering unimaginable pain and even loss of life. I understand that this is the time we can easily fall into despair and question our...

Yuan Tze on Anger

Harmony is a state of peace and balance, a state free of conflict. Harmony nurtures growth. When harmony is present, no harm is done. I would like to focus on one thing that often disrupts harmony – anger, in particular anger in reaction to injustice. When facing...

Yuan Tze’s New Year Message 2023

Dear Ren Xue family, In this time of celebrating a new beginning, I would like to extend my best wishes to you. Every 365 days, we have this opportunity to start anew. How would you like to make a good start for your 2023? I have a few suggestions here. Firstly,...

What is Jingshen?

The common translation of the word Jingshen is spirit or spirituality. In Ren Xue it refers to the totality of the heart (Xin), consciousness, and True Self (Shen). These three components have close connection with one another and therefore can be seen as a unity....

Watch

Yuan Tze on Money

Take a little longer and watch as Yuan Tze helps us to see more of totality in terms of the role money plays in life.  This is an excerpt from Yuan Tze's 10-day Seeing Your Original Face 2 retreat that took place in France in May 2023, where he focused on two of the...

Who are we protecting? How to truly love and protect your (True)self

In this 28min video Yuan Tze applies how the pattern of Polarized Thinking (right/wrong, good/bad, black/white) can influence the setting of boundaries in life, and helps us to understand the best way to 'protect' ourselves. This is an excerpt from Yuan Tze’s 10-day...

The Pattern of Fixed Expectations

Watch this short video where Yuan Tze talks about the pattern of Fixed Expectations. This is an excerpt from Yuan Tze’s Transforming Patterns for Unconditional Gratitude workshop that took place in 2022, where he spoke about the barriers to experiencing unconditional...

The Importance of Working on Identity

Watch this short video where Yuan Tze helps us to experience what, when we're working on patterns, we should identify with and why it is so important to work on identity and identification when working on patterns.  Join Yuan Tze for his two-part workshop on Identity...

The Pattern of Avoiding & Hiding

Watch this short video where Yuan Tze talks about what's behind the pattern of Avoiding & Hiding. This is an excerpt from Yuan Tze’s Seeing Your Original Face 9-day retreat where he focused on two of the Ten Fundamental Patterns identified by Ren Xue: Avoiding...

Full Moon

Latest Full Moon Message – Identification and Information

Latest Full Moon Message – Identification and Information

Do you remember a time when you felt that there was more to a story than what you were being told? Or when you felt there was a gap between the world you saw and what was portrayed by those around you? These feelings came from a very deep place within yourself, the...

Find Trust in Your Heart

Find Trust in Your Heart

Trust, openness, love, gratitude, and Gongjing (true respect) are natural qualities of the heart. Furthermore, we have the capability of manifesting these qualities without any conditions.That is to say, it is possible not to lose them no matter what happens in life....

The Illusion of Control with Over-Generalization

The Illusion of Control with Over-Generalization

We want to know because the unknown breeds a sense of uncertainty. However, grasping the whole picture is never simple. So human nature has worked out a way to simplify, to make the task of knowing easier, and it is over-generalization. With this handy tool, we can...