I’ve just spent the weekend exploring the world of qi gong and nei gong with a lovely group of fellow enthusiasts and have returned re energised and revitalised. Qi gong has recently been in the spotlight, first with Robert Downey Jr extolling the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine and qi gong.Then it was revealed that Adele also practised qi gong breathing techniques to help her with stage fright. Read more on that here.
So what exactly is the difference between qi gong and nei gong and how can it help you?
Qi literally means ‘energy’ or ‘life force’. In the last 50 years qi gong (meaning ‘energy work’) has become an umbrella term to cover all types of oriental energy work exercise. However this energy work was originally divided into two distinct forms.
In its original form, Qi gong refers to those exercises that stimulate the energy meridians on the surface of the body (wei chi) and through these affect the energy deep inside the body. Qi gong often uses the breath to move the qi and typically works on one or two meridians (energy pathways) at a time.
Nei gong, however, means ‘internal work’. It focuses on the energy deep within the body which then opens and strengthens the meridians of the body. In nei gong the mind directly connects with and leads the energy or qi, thereby activating all the bodies energy pathways at the same time. Physical movements may be used but are not necessary with standing, sitting, lying and sexual techniques commonly used.
Nei gong is at the root of all internal energy exercise systems including qi gong, tai chi, bagua and hsing yi. It can be seen as the alphabet upon which these arts are based.
The 16 components of Nei Gong
- Breathing methods, in increasing complexity
- Feeling, moving, transforming and transmuting internal energies along the descending, ascending and connecting energy channels of the body
- Precise body alignments
- Dissolving physical, emotional and spiritual blockages
- Moving energy through the body’s meridian channels and energy gates
- Bending and stretching the body, from the inside out and the outside in, along the yang and yin meridians
- Opening and closing all parts of the body’s tissues, including the joints, muscles, soft tissues, internal organs, glands, blood vessels, cerebrospinal system and brain, as well as all of the body’s subtle energy anatomy
- Manipulating the energy of the external aura
- Making circles and spirals of energy inside the body, controlling the body’s spiralling energy currents, and moving chi in the body at will
- Absorbing and projecting energy to and from any part of the body
- Controlling energies of the spine
- Controlling the body’s left and right energy channels
- Controlling the body’s central energy channel
- Learning the capabilities and uses of the body’s lower dandien
- Learning the capabilities and uses of the body’s upper and middle dandien
- Connecting every part of the physical body into one unified energy
At first each component is learned separately and then incorporated into your energy exercise whether its tai chi or qi gong etc.
Training starts with the physical movements that stretch the body’s soft tissues (muscles, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) through a range of systematic and progressive techniques. Step two is about learning how to manipulate the body’s fluids which, with practice, can allow practitioners access to the energy that powers the body. In step three, the minds intent can be applied to move this energy at will, and that is where the fun begins.
Working in this way allows you to unlock the body’s mechanisms that enable deep relaxation. It is possible to release both generalised stress and chronic, bound tension at each layer, whilst simultaneously feeling more and more energy and health benefits.
See you soon
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