Valley Spirit Center Qigong, Red Bluff, California
Cloud Hands Blog Qigong
"Chinese Qigong has been practiced with a recorded history of over 2,000 years. But it wasn't until 1953, when Liu Gui-zheng published a paper entitled "Practice On Qigong Therapy", that the term Qigong (Chi Kung) was adopted as the popular name for this type of exercise system. Prior to that date, there were many terms given to such exercise, such as Daoyin, Xingqi, Liandan, Xuangong, Jinggon, Dinggong, Xinggon, Neigong, Xiudao, Zhoshan, Neiyangong, Yangshengong, etc. "
"The Way has its reality and its signs
but is without action or form.
You can hand it down but you cannot receive it,
you can ignore it but you cannot see it.
It is its own source, its own root.
Before heaven and earth existed it was there,
from the ancient times.
It gave spirituality to the spirits and to God,
it gave birth to heaven and to earth.
It exists beyond the highest point,
and yet you cannot call it lofty;
it exists beneath the limit of the six directions,
and yet you cannot call it deep.
It was born before heaven and earth,
and yet you cannot say it has been there for long,
it is earlier than the earliest time,
and yet you cannot call it old."
- The Crookbacked Woman and the Sage
Chuang Tzu, Translated by Burton Watson, 1964
"Daoyin is an ancient Chinese body-mind
exercise originally aimed at health care as well as physical and spiritual
purification. The ascetics of past time believed it could be used to obtain the
"eternal youth" (changsheng bulao). Many different interpretations
were given to the word daoyin during the ages. The following two are the
most reliable: daoqi yinti - guide the qi and stretch the body;
and daoqi yinliao - guide the qi to obtain a healing effect.
Both interpretations describe important aspects of the exercise and are not
contradictory to each other. The first describes briefly the technique while the
second refers to one goal of the exercise; actually with daoyin we guide
the qi and move our body in order to obtain a beneficial effect to our
health. China has an ancient and deep tradition of body-mind care.
According to historical documents already during the feudal age (770-221 BC) the
so-called "life-nourishing ways" (yangsheng zhi dao) gained great
importance. They were methods aimed at enhancing a long, healthy and good life,
by means of dietetic regime, herbal preparations, gymnastic exercises and
spiritual cultivation (such as study, poetry, meditation, etc.). Many
famous thinkers of this time argued heatedly on these issues, proposing their
own "ways" and discussing those of their colleagues. Among the various
"life-nourishing ways", the physical exercise was almost universally regarded as
necessary and very effective. As "physical exercise" we have to think here
something much deeper and articulated than what we mean today. It was an
exercise involving body and mind in a great potentially unlimited effort of
self-purification. The ascetics of that time practiced and taught these
techniques in order to reach long life and immortality."
"The Supreme Medicine has three
Ching [essence], Qi [vitality]. and Shen [spirit],
Which are elusive and obscure.
Keep to nonbeing, yet hold on to
And perfection is yours in an instant.
When the distant winds blend together,
In one hundred days of spiritual work
And morning recitation to the Shang Ti,
Then in one year you will soar as an immortal.
The sages awaken through
Deep, profound, their practices require great effort.
Fulfilling vows illumines the Heavens.
Breathing nourishes youthfulness.
Departing from the Mysterious,
entering the Female,
It appears to have perished, yet appears to exist.
Unmovable, its origin is mysterious.
Each person has Ching.
The Shen unites with the Ching,
The Shen unites with the Qi,
The breath then unites with the true nature.
Before you have attained this true nature,
These terms appear to be fanciful exaggerations.
The Shen is capable of entering
The Shen is capable of physical flight.
Entering water it is not drowned;
Entering fire it is not burned.
The Shen depends on life form;
The Ching depends on sufficient Qi.
If these are neither depleted nor injured
The result will be youthfulness and longevity.
These three distinctions have one
Yet so subtle it cannot be heard.
Their meeting results in
Their parting results in nonexistence.
The seven apertures
And each emits wisdom light.
The sacred sun and sacred moon
Illuminate the Golden Court.
One attainment is eternal attainment.
The body will naturally become
When the supreme harmony is replete,
The bone fragments become like winter jade.
Acquiring the Elixir results in
Not acquiring it results in extinction.
The Elixir is within yourself,
It is not white and not green.
Recite and hold ten thousand
These are the subtle principles of self-illumination."
- The Jade Emperor's Mind Seal Classic. The Taoist Guide to
Health, Longevity, and Immortality.
Translated with commentary by Stuart Alve Olson. Rochester, Vermont, Inner Traditions, 2003.
"At the higher stages of energy continuation, one will find his
movements are now being
governed by the movement of his internal energy. This is the Qi of energy,
to which I refer. There are essentially three basic ingredients for higher
1. Mental tranquility and physical relaxation. 2. Application
of the integrated supple
strength of the whole body. 3. Continuity of the internal energy
from movement to movement and moment to moment throughout the entire form."
- Wu, Ta-yeh, 1989
"In Spring, breathe xu for clear
eyes and so wood can aid you liver.
In summer, reach for he, so that heart and fire can be at peace.
In fall, breathe si to stabilize and gather metal, keeping the lungs moist.
For the kidneys, next, breathe chui and see you inner water calm.
the Triple Heater needs your xi to expel all heat and troubles.
In all four seasons take long breaths, so spleen can process food.
And, of course, avoid exhaling noisily, not letting even your ears hear it.
The practice is most excellent and will help preserve your divine elixir."
- Master Sun Simiao (581-682 CE)
From Xiuzhen shishu (Ten Books on Cultivating Perfection), Song Dynasty
Translated by Livia Kohn, "Chinese Healing Exercises," p. 135
"The perfect man has no self;
the spiritual man has no achievement;
the sage has no name."
- Chauang Tzu
Qigong (Chi Kung), Daoyin: Bibliography, Lessons, Resources
“Put everything into the initial connexion.
The posture thereafter must spring from that connexion.
The initial connexion has to be whole-hearted.
What happens thereafter must not be a distraction.
In other words, the heart keeps pumping out that connexion.
The technique is a whisper.
What is completed between you has the feeling of an entirety – of a being.
The responsibility is to be open.
The working of the mind is too slow to deal with real life.
To be sincere in this matter is not a question of thinking about it.
Sufficient practice must be undertaken so that basic body usage is not a grinding problem.
It is impossible to describe how thorough going your dedication needs to be.
What bit of you has the wisdom to know what is unknowable?
There is no mind to deliberate or be backwards.
If there isn’t a feeling of coming home and finding a lively peace within then you are missing the point.
If there is a way of life or living it has to be joining from the heart.
The eyes are so quick to translate your heart feelings.
The ground is a heart platform.
Although important the eyes have to take second place to the heart.
Be open to the connecting of your heart with the other person’s heart.
If the other person wants information about you let them open their heart.
Connecting is not a personal matter.
In any real interchange it is the Third Heart that counts.
Light and embracing, but embracing as a giving from the heart rather than capturing.
And the inspiration of the Third Heart is nutrition for your becoming.
The spirit must be allowed freedom to dart about and tempt the heart at the right moment.
To be a believer is to be a positive being – a believer is someone who is becoming.
Becoming leaves no imprint.
Becoming swallows what is commonly known as destiny.
Spirit is the effervescence of real interest in something other than yourself.
The essence of true destiny is yielding.
The essence of yielding is softness.
The essence of softness is entering.
The essence of entering is welcoming openness.
The essence of openness is heart.”
- Grandmaster John Kells, British Tai Chi Chuan Association
"We usually translate the word qi (pronounced "chee") as "vital breath," or "life energy," or "subtle energy," or even "spirit" which is an association with the Latin-derived words for breathing such as respiration, inspire and expire (literally in-breathe and out-breathe). Almost every culture on Earth symbolically associates Life Energy with Air and Breathing which, of course, makes a lot of sense since breathing is the number-one requirement for human life.
The character for the word Qi
even shows us the air we need to breathe. There are two
components to the character, and I have colored the lower part red to
distinguish it from
the upper. The part in red represents grains cooking, and the part in black
steam, i.e. visible air rising from the cooking pot. When you think about it,
shows us all the things we need to take in for survival: air (as the rising
(there must be water in the pot to cook the grain, otherwise there would be no
and food (the grain itself)."
- All About Qi: Living Stress Free Naturally, 1/18/07
“Qi gong therapy, as well as other branches of Chinese medicine, can be
two simple principles: the cleansing of meridians to achieve harmonious energy
and the restoration of yin-yang balance.”
- The Art of Chi Kung by Wong Kiew Kit
“It is not important that a Daoyin has a name, is imitating
something or is engraved in jade. What is important is the technique and the
essence of what is really practised. Stretching and contracting, bending and
lifting of the head, stepping, lying down, resting or standing, walking or
stepping slowly, screaming or breathing - everything can be a Daoyin.”
- GeHong (284-364 AD), Taoist Adept
"Energy is a word used to describe both Eastern and Western exercise. From the
perspective it usually relates to input and output, whereas the Eastern point of
view is one of
cultivation, management and preservation. The East uses the power of the mind,
physical movement to promote health, wellbeing and longevity. The health of the
environment, i.e., our organs, is of primary importance as they govern, from a
Chinese medicine standpoint, the muscle strength, tone, flexibility, joint
breathing, posture and health digestion, and the emotions. The purpose of
is to enhance the health of the internal organs, the spine and the brain.
Optimum internal health
is reflected in a body that reflects strong smooth and toned muscles, flexible
joints, tall elegant
posture, healthy lustre in the skin, sparkling eyes and happy light voice and a calm and relaxed state of being."
- The Tao of Oriental Exercise, by Monica Linford, Living Now Magazine
"Thirty spokes join together in the
It is because of what is not there that the cart is useful.
Clay is formed into a vessel.
It is because of its emptiness that the vessel is useful.
Cut doors and windows to make a room.
It is because of its emptiness that the room is useful.
Therefore, what is present is used for profit.
But it is in absence that there is usefulness."
- Tao Te Ching, #11
Translated by Charles Muller
"We need to go back to the times of Chinese tribal culture to find the earliest use of the word Daoyin. Literally the word ‘Daoyin’ means ‘to guide’. In fact, ‘Dao’ and ‘yin’ both mean ‘to guide’; together they form the poetic description of this type of exercise. In the Yellow Emperor’s Huanti NeiJin,the word Daoyin is often connected with the words ‘an’ and ‘jao’ (massage and bone-setting) resulting in the term Daoyin AnJao, which refers to all three therapies.
The earliest references to Daoyin can be found in books
written during the time of emir TangYao, more than 4,000 years ago. At that time
many tribes lived along the Yellow River that runs across Central China. The
estuary often became silted up, causing frequent flooding, with the result that,
due to the high humidity level, many people suffered from rheumatism. To fight
this and other illnesses, emir TangYao popularised some exercises called Daoyin
or DaWu, which at that time referred to prostration as a kind of gymnastics or
dance. Strong social control demanded that the prostrations had to be done daily
in front of a person whose social position was higher that one’s own: every day
the son had to prostrate in front of the father and the father in front of the
- Animal Daoyin
"The Taoists call the science of how you develop strong energy flow or internal power neigong. Neigong has sixteen components:
1. Breathing methods, from the simple to
the more complex.
2. Feeling, moving, transforming, transmuting and connecting energy channels of the body.
3. Precise body alignments to prevent the flow of chi from being blocked or dissipated.
4. Dissolving physical, emotional and spiritual blockages.
5. Moving energy through the acupuncture meridians and other secondary channels of the body, including the energy gates.
6. Bending and stretching the body, both from the inside and from the outside in.
7. Opening and closing (pulsing) all parts of the body's anatomy including the joints, soft tissues, fluids, internal organs,
spine and brain as well as all the body's subtle energy channels.
8. Manipulating the energy of the external aura outside the body.
9. Making circles and spirals of energy inside the body, controlling the spiraling energy currents of the body and moving chi in the body at will.
10. Absorbing energy into and projecting energy away from any part of the body.
11. Controlling all the energies of the spine.
12. Controlling the left and right energy channels of the body.
13. Controlling the central energy channel of the body.
14. Learning to develop the capabilities and all use of the body's lower tantien.
14. Learning to develop the capabilities and uses of the body's upper and middle tantiens.
15. Connecting every part of the physical and other energetic bodies into one, unified energy."
- Bruce Frantzis, Dragon and Tiger Qigong, 2010, xxviii
"Walk means to take steps leisurely and idly.
It is a traditional health-building method in China. Way back to Inner Cannon of
the Yellow Emperor, there is proposal encouraging people to have a walk in the
courtyard after getting up in the morning. Sun Simiao, a famous traditional
Chinese medicine doctor of the Tang Dynasty, also advocated that walking is good
for health. In a relaxed and smooth walk, the moves of limbs in a leisure and
coordinated way can moderately exercise joints and muscles throughout the body.
And in a relaxed and smooth mood, walking can make qi and blood flow smoothly
and channels become unimpeded, lubricate joints and conserve muscles, ensure
clear consciousness and benefit the five internal organs. Persistence in walking
could guarantee a healthier body and a longer life."
- Sanbu Yangsheng (Life Nourishing Walking, Constitutional Walk)
The doctrine of Daoyin: “If the energy
circulates from the center to the extremities one will remain in perfect health.
If one furthermore stretches and twists, this will keep the body trim.”
- Hua Tuo
"Chinese healing exercises are traditionally called Daoyin:
導引. Dao (Tao)
means to regulate qi or vital energy by guiding its flow in the body.
Yin means to limber up the body and limbs through physical movement.
The term dao essentially means "to guide" or "to direct," and appears originally in a political and cultural context in the sense of "leading" the people in a certain direction. The character consists of two parts, the word Dao for "Way, " which is often also used in the sense of "to guide," and the word cun for "inch," which indicates a small distance. Guiding the qi in a concrete, physical way means thus that one makes a conscious effort to establish harmony with the Dao in the body, realizing the inherent polarity of yin and yang and aligning oneself with the cosmos.
- Livia Kohn, "Chinese Healing Exercises," p. 11
Fifteen Articles of Taoist Master Wang Chongwang (1160 CE):
1. Cloistered residence
2. Wandering like clouds
3. Study of texts
4. Preparation of medicines
5. Building a home
6. Companions in the Tao
7. Sitting straight
8. Controlling the mind
9. Refining original inner nature
10. Pairing the Five Energies
11. Merging inner nature and destiny
12. Tao of the Sage
13. Going beyond the Three Worlds
14. Nourishing the Eternal Body
15. Leaving the world
- Wang Chongyang (1113-1170)
Founder of the School of Complete Perfection (Quanzhen)
He wrote "Chongyang's Fifteen Articles of Establishing the Teaching (Congyang Lijiao Shiwu Lun)"
Translated by Livia Kohn, "The Taoist Experience," 1993, pp.86-92.
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Come to Red Bluff,
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© Michael P. Garofalo, 2012, All Rights Reserved
First published on the Internet in 2005
This webpage was last changed or updated on January 19, 2012
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