What’s so special about Qigong?
Although there is a myriad of what are termed ‘spiritual technologies’ for uplifting health and the Consciousness, both ancient and modern, there is much diversity in their underpinning beliefs and approaches. Many have demonstrated relative efficacy over decades of existence and the experience of their practitioners. This discussion respects that and intends to only offer a helpful viewpoint on what sets Qigong apart from the many methods across traditions, all of which seek to uplift human life in one aspect or another.
Qi and the physical body:
The first point to be made, is that from the REN XUE Yuan Qigong perspective, our bodies, and every single structure down to the DNA, is made up of Qi. So, not only does Qi (or energy) flow through the Qi channels, collect in the Qi storage centres, and activate everything we would consider to be our physical life, but it is also the basic building block of every structure of the body. If there were no Qi gathered into an individual called ‘me’, I would not have atoms that form the DNA in my cells, let alone any of the proteins it encodes for my physical form. In addition, I would not breathe, digest, move, show signs of ‘life’…
I would therefore not ‘exist’ as human being in a human body.
It follows that the quality and quantity of the Qi gathered into ‘me’ at any point in time determines the quality of my life force and physical well-being. Less Qi, less health. More Qi, more vitality and overall well-being.
This gathering of Qi initially happens at conception, when Super-Information of The Dao and my Original True Self cause a gathering of primordial Yuan Qi of the Universe into a unique, embodied ‘me’. This Yuan Qi is imbued with the information of my individual Law of Life and tends in the childhood years, to be abundant and of a relatively high quality. Hence most humans are healthy and energetic when young.
At this stage of life, the activities of the Consciousness are generally well-unified with the fundamental qualities of a human heart, being Trust, Openness, Love, Gratitude and a natural humility and respect for other beings. We almost always see the bright-eyed aliveness, open playfulness, unconditional generosity, and one-kindness in young children. The True Self is still relatively unimpeded and able to follow the Laws of the Universe and Nature, keeping physical Qi of the body in a good state. Later, as humans mature, the activities of their Consciousness for various reasons, begin to settle into habituated patterns that are not in line with the Laws of the Universe and Nature. The quality and quantity of their physical Qi becomes depleted, and tiredness and disease begin to creep in.
Qi and the mind/Consciousness:
The second point to be made, is that our Qi does not only fuel the health and well-being of our physical bodies. It also fuels the brightness, alertness, and overall capabilities of our Consciousness. We have all noticed that when we are sick, our minds are not focused or able to think in clear, positive, uplifting ways. It may take a monumental effort to give attention to the things we know would serve us better. We simply lie in a state of weariness and maybe even hopelessness, waiting for ‘the medicine’ to work or some other external factor to shift things towards what we would be happy to call ‘health’. This cycle plays out over and over in our lifetime, even lending credibility to the West’s deep reliance on health insurance and chronic medication, especially for the later years of life.
Different practices, different approaches:
Of course, many seated meditative practices can bring benefit to health. Depending on the teachings, they may focus on positive thoughts and the deeper, spacious nature of Consciousness. This will cascade down into the physical body in a beneficial way, since as we described above regarding early childhood, a better state of Consciousness naturally uplifts the quality and flow of Qi in the body.
However, in the circular nature of these things, the ability to be committed and diligent enough to sit everyday and bring focus to these meditative Consciousness practices, requires a good quality and quantity of Qi in the body in the first place! If Qi is low, the inclination to sit will be low, the body will have aches and pains in various postures affecting the ability to focus the mind, and the Consciousness itself will be under-fuelled to work well. As a result. the barrier to entry for these technologies is quite high for most people whose Qi condition is already depleted. And in these times, even young people are sadly already in this depleted state.
There are some ancient, seated, meditative practices which work directly on Qi in the channels, not only the mind and Consciousness (being the common association for meditative practices). Although these systems can be highly effective, they depend on clear, accurate teachings, a high level of practitioner diligence and an accomplished teacher’s guidance to ensure safety. These methods generally take many years, even decades, and high levels of determination to deliver their benefits. Almost always, it is advised to be under the close supervision of a highly experienced and credible teacher.
Tai Chi, a practice which uses elements of Qigong, its historical predecessor, works by moving the body in ways that open and unblock Qi channels. It has been shown in countless credible research papers to benefit the body in many ways. However, it does not have specific practices for uplifting the Consciousness and one might receive training from an accomplished teacher for many years before being informed, if ever, of the deeper intentions and possibilities of the form.
Yoga, which originally formed part of a whole integrated way of living became split off from its roots when taken up enthusiastically in the West. There are some schools of yoga which still integrate all the levels of a human life into their practice, however for the most part yoga has become focused on the cultivation of strength, flexibility, and health in the body. As mentioned earlier, this naturally benefits the Consciousness, but this will mostly be limited by the knowledge and intention of the practitioner. In addition, few schools remain robustly focused on the quality of Consciousness in all areas of the practitioners’ lives and though the original guidance around upright living may be shared, it is not what brings people onto the mat.
Qigong and its premises and benefits:
Qigong in contrast, works in a simple and direct way from the very foundation, being the basic building block of an intelligent universe – Qi.
It is based on the following premises:
- By increasing the amount of Qi flow through the channels and learning how to store Qi in the Qi storage centres (the Dantians and Miraculous Vessels) of the body, health is improved. This can be extended to building extraordinary strength and physical abilities as seen in the Shaolin Monks.
- By increasing the quality and quantity of Qi in the body, Consciousness is also strengthened. This is because so much of our Consciousness is inextricably entwined with the physical structures of our brain and neurology.
- Since ‘Qi flows where the Mind goes’, when the Consciousness is strong, the first premise can be enhanced, and a supportive cycle is immediately set up. Both body and Consciousness are uplifted by the increased flow and quantity of Qi.
- Because the connections between Body, Qi, Consciousness, and breath are taught from the outset and built into the practices, all aspects of our Being are mobilised to increase the efficacy of the practice.
In addition, Qigong has the following benefits:
Carefully designed, uncomplicated, fluid and deeply relaxing movements reflect the natural movements of Qi in the Universe and the body. This makes the practice potentially very efficient (little effort, maximum gain). The exception to this description is for the hard Qigong styles used in the martial arts, where practitioners need more focus and endurance to hold challenging stances over long periods of time.
The easy, rhythmic movements in most Qigong styles can be adapted for practitioners of any age or health condition meaning improvement to Qi and Consciousness is accessible to anyone.
Some significant ways REN XUE Yuan Qigong has brought growth to the field of Qigong:
Yuan Qigong takes all the above and further develops the accessibility, efficiency, safety, and effectiveness by:
- recognising that there are different levels of Qi in the Universe and focusing the practitioner’s attention on gathering undifferentiated, primordia Qi, called Yuan Qi. By its ancient definition, Yuan Qi of the Universe holds all potential and information for wellbeing, Realisation and Wisdom.
- Yuan Gong also pays great attention to the fact that yes, a greater flow and quality of Qi in the body fuels the Consciousness powerfully – potentially a good thing. However, if the patterns of the Consciousness are not evaluated for alignment with the Law of the Universe and Nature (which are taught), one almost inevitably ends up a powerful human with misaligned, unecological, harmful ways of living. This is a highly significant progression in the development of Qigong with specific seated meditative methods designed to address this area.
- The principles, theories and methods are grounded in the original, pure teachings of the Great Qi masters dating back thousands of years.
- Modern science and accumulated wisdom from modern Qi masters have been incorporated into the design of the methods.
- There is a high commitment to retaining the purity of the methods and not being swayed by popular preferences and notions to make it anything more or less than it is. REN XUE teachers around the world are committed to this.
To deepen your experience of the above knowledge we invite you to join a Qigong class with a REN XUE Africa Yuan Qigong teacher. Click on the button below to find out more about class times and our teachers.