Qi Gong consists of a number of different systems and each Qi Gong system offers a particular path of self development. These systems are composed of sets of exercises designed to lead us through a process of change. The exercises work to prepare the "workshop" of our body, activate and balance our energy system, and move us through the Nei Gong process which transforms our consciousness and our connection and relation to the world around us.
The origins of Qi Gong can be traced back to the Shamanic practices of the tribal Wu people in ancient China which are thought to have included Dao Yin movements, and date back at least 4000 years before the time of the Yellow Emperor.
The practice of Qi Gong is about learning the art of working with Qi, (which depending on context, can be translated as energy, information or change); it's the Art of Transformation.
Nei Gong describes a process rather than a set of exercises; in order to move through this process we use various tools including Qi Gong and Dao Yin exercises.
The Nei Gong process leads to good health, psychological well-being and spiritual elevation. The bringing together of the theoretical philosophy of Daoism with an energetic process leads to an experiential understanding of the nature of Dao.
Key to this process of change are the skills of ‘Ting’ and ‘Sung’. Sung can be thought of as the ability to let go, ideally without effort.
Ting is on one level, the ability to listen with our mind to the information that we are constantly receiving. On another level Ting is the ability to permeate and merge our physical and energetic bodies with our mind.
Through Sung, we create space within ourselves giving our mind room to spread deeper and deeper through our bodies.
The process of Nei Gong is a chain reaction in which changes we make in our physical body make changes in our energy body which make changes in our consciousness.
Daoism in its original form was not a religion. It's an inherited body of wisdom based on the recognition that we are unable to intellectually comprehend the source of creation, but we can experience it. This unknowable source of all things is known as Dao.
That which can be named is not the eternal Dao.
The Daoist path aims to transform and cultivate us until we are able to reunite with Dao and experience it directly.
Historically there are two main forefathers of Daoism: Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. They are archetypical figures that embody two key qualities that are necessary to progress along this path.
Lao Tzu is said to embody Humility. This is not how we might think of it in the West, but when we are humble we do not think we have all the answers or hold onto what we think is right, we are open and have space inside which can be filled with new knowledge and information.
Chuang Tzu is said to embody the quality of Humour. Humour and laughter are key because they shake off and shed situations and emotions so that nothing sticks and gets under our skin. Laughter creates expansion: it also creates the space we need in which to grow along with humility.