HISTORY OF QI GONG


“If you receive the whole world in your heart, you have good command of the Yin and Yang, breathe essential Chi and keep a healthy and tranquil mind, your muscles will work smoothly and you will live as long as the Earth itself”

Huang Di Neijing – Internal medicine precept of the Yellow Emperor (500 – 300 A.C.)

 

As a prophylactic method,Qigong has its origin in the oldest times of China.

Historical evidence indicates that in the time of the YAO Dynasty, people used to dance to strengthen the body and also to regulate breathing and energy (Qi) and blood circulation in order to be healed.

The research made by GUO MORUO, historian and Chairman to the Chinese Science Academy, have shown the existence of breathing exercises in the JIN WEN bronze writings of the Zhou Dynasty (1,100 -221 B.C.).

fragment-of-anchent-wall-painting-qigong

During the Spring and Fall periods, as well as during the Period of the Warrior States (720 – 221 B.C.), Qigong grew as never before. Dao Yin Shu, the old version of Qigong, was very popular then.

In a cultural relic of the Warrior States period, the following words were written:

Take a deep breath and make it go down to the Dan Tien. Hold it there for a while, and then breathe out the way grass germinates, until it goes up to the tip of your head. This way, your vital energy will go up, while Yin goes down.

The ones whose vital yin/yang energies follow their own path, shall live. The others will die“.

 

 

 

Dao Yin

 

Five Animals Game

Among the many objects found when digging the MAWANG DI tomb in CHANGSHA, capital of the HUNAN province, there are books on DAOYIN, of the West HAN Dynasty (206 B.C. – 24 A.C.), which include figures of men and women of different ages, painted in colors, in 44 silk pieces, of DAOYIN. Some of them imitate the movements of tigers, deer, bears, monkeys and birds, which were later on called “WU QIN XI” or the “Five Animals Game”.

In another book, beside a figure moving his hands upwards and backwards, one can read: “Look at the sky and expire“.

the Yellow Emperor

 

As a tradition, the history of the Qi or Chi theory starts with the birth of Traditional Chinese Medicine (In the Yellow Emperor‘s Kingdom, approxi-mately 2300 years ago).

The corresponding knowledge is described in the Huan Di Neijing book (a classic book on internal medicine), of which Emperor HUANG DI is believed to have been the author.

Among the references to Qigong included in this work, the following id worthwhile mentioning:

“Onemust breath in the essence of life, regulate one’s breathing to preserve one’s spirit and keep one’s muscles relaxed“;

or “When the mind is quiet and empty, the true Qi will be under one’s control“; “If one keeps a closed mind, the danger of disease will disappear”;

“People with kidney problems may practice this set of exercises: Standing and facing South, early in the morning, breath seven times, with a blank mind“;

If you take the whole world in your heart, have good control of the Yin and the Yang, breathe the essential Qi and keep a centered mind, your muscles will function smoothly and you will live for as long as the Earth exists“.

 

 

Sage painting the eight trigrams
Later on, the relationship between PA KWA (the eight trigrams) and the nature of living forms and the relation they have with human beings is depicted.
Hua To, a famous physician of the East Han Dynasty (110 – 207 BC) created an exercising system called “WU QIN XI” or the “Five Animals Game” used to prevent and cure diseases. “The human body needs physical work and exercise, without excess. Movements disperse the gas caused by grains, help blood flow and this way, disease cannot be present“.

Since the times of the East Han Dynasty and with the introduction of Indostani Buddhism and other doctrines in China, Qigong grew, both in its theory and in its practice.

When Buddhist Yoga mixed with several other philosophic currents, as well, as with the ancient DAOYIN techniques, the religious Qigong, where different Qigong styles were developed, was born.

 

 

 

WU QIN XI : the Five Animals Game

 

With many different contributions by physicians, teachers and monks, Qigong developed further, and it presently has five different schools.

In due time, and taking advantage of the fecund culture of its birth country, Qigong was enriched with the ingenuity of great wise men and Chinese philosophers. Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, medicine and martial arts schools, contributed to a great extent to the growth of this wonderful art.