The Health Qigong is one kind of Qigong exercise combining the mind, Qi and body exercise rather than the single muscle exercise. Regulating the mind, breath and body, called as three regulations in the following, are three basic elements of practicing the Health Qigong. The key word for three regulations is to regulate and adjust the body and mind intentionally. Therefore the spiritual activity is needed to be done in three regulations with the active mental activity. Yi generally means the consciousness or thinking of which is the functional activity of the brain. Mind exercise is to concentrate the mind on some points or something, which is called Zhuyi in Chinese words. In fact we use the mind exercise in doing everything but it is different in the exercise of the Health Qigong.
Man often initiatively think about something apart from his own body with mind activity, which is exterior. It is just in contrary with the former that the practicer concentrates the mind on his own life activity, which is interior. The practicer should cut off the connection of the sensory organs with outer world and initiatively control himself with consciousness and gain the gnosis for the relation of the life and nature. The process is called the introspection. Interior mind application is basic characteristics for exercising the Health Qigong. Correct and appropriate understanding the criteria of mind application can overcome or surpass the routine skills taken the movements as the main ways of the exercise. The healthy effect of the Health Qigong is mainly embodied in the mind exercise. For this reason, the practicer should aim at exercising the mind and get oneself into the state of natural relaxation of which is inner active and outer quiet by ways of regulating the breath and body in order to obtain the target of strengthening the body and prolonging the life. Mind application should be set in the first position and kept in the whole course of the exercise. The contents and orders of mind activity can be different at the different stage of the exercise.
The stage of stressing on the body instead of the mind
The Health Qigong is one kind of Gong emphasizing both the body and mind. But it is hard for the beginners to understand and grasp the actions of the Health Qigong and impractical for them to lay stress on the mind activity. In this stage, the attention of the practicer should be paid to imitation and exercising the body movements rather than the mind regulation, which is not specially emphasized. However, it is required that the practicer should concentrate on the routine itself such as the change of the direction and line, how to move the hands and feet, the main points, how to connect the different parts, etc. The mind is concentrated on some point, line or part with relaxation of other parts to form one natural and relaxed moving body. The first task for the beginners is to learn and correctly and proficiently accomplish the routine. It is one kind of mind activity of low level as the mind is concentrated on the figure itself and aimed at learning and grasping the routines. Practice makes perfect. The routines can be correctly and proficiently grasped after the repeated exercise. Thereafter the practicer can start to concentrate on the mind itself and get into the next stage. It is one kind of the gradual comprehension for the practicer.
The stage of emphasizing both the body and mind
On one hand, the practicer should lay stress on the specifications and standard of the routine and deformation is unacceptable in this stage; on the other hand, the practicer should explore the inner essence and quintessence of the Health Qigong and regulate the mind in high level. The basic style of mind activity is inward vision and imagination such as inner vision of the Dantian, inner vision of the Qi and blood circulation, imagination of entrance of some mental state, etc. The practicer can harmoniously combine the inner mind with the body to make more proficient and standardized routines, further know the meaning of the movements and store the inner strength based on the transformation of motion and quietness, opening and closure, being imagined and factual, being hard and soft, yin and yang and twist etc. The routines can be done in the state of running like flowing water without interruption. The practicer can gradually attain the aim of running the Qi by heart and running the body by the Qi and eventually reach the stage of interior and exterior integrity, body and spirit containing for the Health Qigong.
The stage of emphasizing on the mind instead of the body
The practicer naturally gets into the stage of emphasizing on the mind instead of the body with the automation of the routines after the long-term exercise. Routines are already automatic for the practicer just like walking after the repeated exercise in the long run. The practicer has already comprehended the essence of the movements and coordinately combined the body, mind and outer world according to his own characteristics and understanding for the Gong and had his own gnosis. The routines won’t deviated from the basic principles even the practicer doesn’t pay attention to the movements themselves any longer in this stage. Therefore, the practicer lays stress on the exercise of the inner mind and concentrates on the genuine mind of which is self-consciousness under the condition of quiet consciousness. That it should be stressed is to pay attention to the moderate degree in the mind activity as the mind is like water and fire, water can carry and capsize the boat; the fire can warm the man or burn the fire-player to death. The practicer should abide by the rule of mind activity, which is not to intentionally or absent-mindedly seek for the mind activity. Intentional mind activity will deviate the body, being absentmindedness will be fruitless.
The stage of emphasizing on neither the mind nor the body
The Qi flowing is sloshing all the body instead of the feeling of the figure in the brain of the practicer when the exercise is done to the highest level. That is called the state of non-body. At that time, the brain naturally is entering the state of unconsciousness (non-mind) without any distracted thoughts. In fact, the state of non-mind and non-body is the stage of forgetting the body and obtaining the mind of which is the milieu of the Health Qigong that the vital Qi flows normally with tranquilized mind. It is said that consciousness is unconsciousness, which can produce the genuine consciousness in the narrations of the Quan (one kind of traditional boxing skills). That is to say, unconsciousness is not to stop mind activity but the true knowledge of the essence of the mind. The practicer needn’t adhere to the concrete actions in the stage of getting mind essence. It is also the stage of forgetting the body just as it is said by Lao Tzu( a renowned philosopher and the founder of the Taoism) that the great Tao is formless. The practicer can be thought as comprehending the essence of the Health Qigong only when he can reach the stage of free receiving and dispatching without body or mind restriction. The practicer can gradually feel the delicate alteration of the nature and bring about the essential change in the body and mind and concentrate on the state of reversion to the baby-like innocence, which can sublime the constitution, disposition, personality, and accomplishment to the state of elegance at last.
Above all, the Health Qigong can regulate all the unreasonable nervous state deviated from the physiological characteristics and bring into the potentiality constrained by the nervous state full play. Therefore, mind exercise should be strengthened in order to improve the effect of the Health Qigong.
(Writing/ normal university of inner Mongolia Zhang Cai Qin)
Reference: Mind Exercising of the Health Qigong Chinese Health Qigong Association