What is Qigong?
Qigong/ Ch'i Kung (氣功) is the art of cultivating qi /ch’i, the energy our bodies need and is said to flow through our meridians as used in Tradition Chinese Medicine (TCM). Qi, not to be confused with the Ji in tài-ji quan, is all around us, in the air we breathe and food we eat, Qigong comes in numerous sets and sequences combing movement and breathing to relax and gently condition the body, a modern western prospective would see this as a physiotherapy. Tai Chi is can be defined as a qigong system.
Early Daoist scriptures allude to exercise and meditation as means of engendering good health, both Laozi and Zhaungzi where interested in ‘vital breath’, these practices became increasingly prevalent over time, as Daoism became a religion, quite separate to it as a philosophy. There are numerous texts on the subject. These Daoist where interested in achieve immortality or at least longevity through the cultivation of qi and the preservation of jing. Western source sometimes also refer to Taoist yoga to describe these practices internal cultivation, also known Nèigong (內功).
Early evidence of exercise is found on drawings on silk chart found in a Han Dynasty tomb dated at 168 B.C. together with a commentary this “Daoyin Tu” or Gymastic chart depicts people practicing routines clearly recognisable as qigong. The term Daoyin (導引) means “guiding the light” and is another term for qigong.
Stance Training, Zhan Zhuang(站桩) “Standing like post” or “Standing like a tree” is a traditional method of training in many martial arts particularly ones such as Tai Chi which emphasize internal power. Holding static postures develops stamina, core-strength and is used as a Qigong and in meditation.
The Art of Chi Kung: Making the Most of Your Vital Energy.
The Art of the Bedchamber: Chinese Sexual Yoga Classics Including Women's Solo Meditation Texts.