Qi Gong, sometimes referred to as “energy” work, is a basic element of the Taoist Arts. Qi Gong is an ongoing process and it is a building block for other arts like Nei Gong, Taiji Quan, Xingyi Quan, and Baquazhuan.We can think of “gong” as “skill”, or the process of working towards mastering something. So, we do not “do” qi gong as much as work towards developing a skill, or “mastering” our energetic body.
In the West we tend to see health and fitness as almost two different things. For instance, we might go to the gym to get “fit”, however our “health” is often governed by what a doctor dictates clincially. In Chinese Medicine, health and fitness are seen as more of a unified whole, and Qi Gong plays an important part in managing a person’s wellbeing.
There are too many qigong exercise systems for one person to learn. However, Qi Gong practices fall into one of three classifications – regulating, tonifying, and purging. Some exercises combine more than one of these elements.
Qi Gong is concerned with moving energy or information around the body’s meridians. To do this efficiently, we need to be physically fit, so whatever shape students are in when they begin practicing Qi Gong, physical conditioning is important.
One of the oldest known Qi Gong sytems is yi jin jing, or “classic of muscle/tendon change”. Some systems, like the “Animal Frolics”, premise their exercises on the characteristics of animals like deer, tiger, bear, crane, and monkey. Some systems are oriented towards martial arts, and yet other systems feature mudras and vocalization.