There are probably a few thousand styles of qigong in China. Among these, Zhineng Qigong stands out as one of the most effective in improving a person’s health and nourishing his body with vital universal energy. Translated literally, Zhineng Qigong means “Cultivating Intelligent Energy”.
Zhineng Qigong was created by Pang Ming , a gifted Qigong teacher with training in Chinese and Western medicine and who had received tutelage from 19 Grandmasters in qigong and martial arts since his early childhood. With the creation of Zhineng Qigong, he has combined the ancient Chinese internal cultivation of Qigong as a healing art with the modern science knowledge of the body and mind. Qigong practice which has been kept secret in China for over 5000 years within families and esoteric schools, has now been made available to the general public and benefiting millions of people around the world. Dr. Pang also founded the largest medicine-less hospital in China , where Zhineng Qigong was used to study mind-body science and its applications to self-healing. He has set up training centers in China that have trained thousands of qigong teachers, most of whom have chosen to dedicate their lives to share and teach qigong to the public.
Purpose of Qigong Practice
The purpose of qigong practice is to improve human life, such as improving physical fitness, enhancing creativity, uplifting emotion and uncovering hidden potential. Qigong offers a path to liberate us from our own limitations and social conditioning and rediscover a higher state of freedom based on consciousness and wisdom. Through qigong, we learn to cultivate chi in our daily practice to progressively synchronize the physical and spiritual elements of our being.
Qigong is different from other exercises such as sports. In qigong you direct your mind inwards while in most exercises the mind is directed externally upon the competitors instead of the activity within the body. Qigong emphasizes cultivating virtue, refining consciousness, regulating breath, and moving the body, while sports are mainly focused on bodily movement. In moving the body, qigong uses the mind to direct chi, chi to direct the body, the movement of the body to serve the spirit, mind and chi, and experience mystery of the body in total relaxation. In sports, one is trained to focus on physical form while the mind is not directed internally, instead towards the movement of the body or tools. The mind becomes the servant to facilitate and synchronize a sequence of movements, moving muscles, tendons, etc.
In terms of regeneration within the body, sports promote the consumption of energy to accelerate this process through triggering the movement of muscles and transforming chemical energy into mechanical energy. Therefore, it requires extra nutrition and more rest to recover the energy. In other words, sports and exercise is designed to amplify the quantity of life energy that comes into and flows out of the body. In contrast, qigong training reduces the consumption of energy, slowing down the process of regeneration. It regulates the order of internal life activity and reorganizes the biological structure, therefore increasing life vitality.
Two Systems of Qigong
There are two systems of qigong, the closed system and the open system. The closed system emphasizes the elimination of external interference by isolating oneself from the environment. This practice focuses on the internal regulation of energy, mind and spirit. All attention is turned inwardly and all bodily senses are reduced to the minimal in the process in order to achieve greater concentration. The practice requires absolute isolation
Zhineng Qigong is an open system. It emphasizes the connection between the individual and the environment, between the human internal chi and universal external chi. The practice applies the universal chi to strengthen the person’s Jing, Chi, and Shen. It also encourages the practice of Qigong through daily living. And it stresses the importance of interaction between human and his environment.
Both systems and the thousands of schools of teaching share the same goal of enhancing the vitality of life, exploring potential intelligence, and improving the quality of life. As a beginner, it is important to choose a suitable method according to one’s own preference. Eventually, through practice of one particular form and based on a strong foundation, one will be prepared to understand and incorporate different teachings in order to progress.
Three Levels of Practice
Zhineng Qigong is currently formulated into three levels of practice. These levels are summarized below:
Lift Chi Up and Pour Chi Down (Peng Qi Guan Ding Fa) – This is the basic form of the Level 1 practice and consists of a series of gentle body movements, synchronized with meditative visualization to open any blockages inside and promote the exchange of Chi between the body and the Universe. The three sequences in this Form are designed to gather Chi into the three Dantians.
Three Centers Merge Standing Method (San Xin Ping Zhan Zhuang) – This method utilizes a proper alignment of body and centering of mind into a powerful posture designed to root the body into the earth, connect the three main meridians and collect Chi at the Dantian. The method can quickly attain strength and balance of energy.
Stretching Chi (Chen Qi) – This is an effective method to stimulate and mobilize internal physical chi and unify chi within the entire body as a whole.
Wall Squatting (Dun Qiang) – This involves a gentle up-down movement of the body while facing a wall. The practice corrects the spinal structure and relaxes the whole body. It is a very effective stress reduction method and also gives a strong feeling of Chi. With daily practice, it can lead to a high level of Qigong cultivation.
Body & Mind Method (Xing Shen Zhuang) – This is the basic form of the Level 2 practice, comprising 10 steps. It works with the internal chi within the body, to open joints and meridians and accumulate Hun Yuan (universal) chi throughout the whole body, from skin to bone. It is a discipline designed to unite the mind with the body and enhance the mind’s ability to command the body, thereby integrating mind and body.
Five Elements Unified Method (Wu Yuan Zhuang) – Using sound, movement, and breathing techniques, the method is to activate and balance the internal Chi of five organs thereby unifying the essential Chi of the internal organs into the middle Dantian. It helps to achieve physical cleansing as well as emotional balance.