How Qi (Internal Energy) Works Within the Body

How Qi (Internal Energy) Works Within the Body

The body and mind are deeply connected. We need many things to work efficiently. Some theories are mostly very fragmented and do not explain the whole universe of these principles. 

If one portion of our primary needs is not satisfied, we lack energy or cannot use it efficiently. The Daoist understanding is to reflect on nature and understand what we really need. The natural principles lay the playground for the way of humans.

So how do we get the most of our energy?

First, we need to understand how the individual is built to store and use energy.

The human body has a specific capacity and sensitivity for using energy; this is depending on the physical properties of the body. Let’s think about like a vase, or a vessel of some sort, it is possible to hold energy inside depending on its shape or form. Muscles, for example, do not mean we are energetically stronger; It is essential to find the balance in the body to be able to work efficiently, excessive large muscles will make your energy consumption higher and fatigue faster.

In general, it can be said if one physical appearance is stronger, than the potential for more energy capacity is there, but it can also mean the individual is more emotional and mentally unstable or lacks focus. The opposite is true for individuals with a weaker physical appearance; they have it harder physically but developed because of this a healthy mind and sharp focus. As I said, this is only general, and everybody cannot be generalized, but it is obvious to see that imbalance can bring these results.

It is the master who intends to balance these principles to pave a straight path of harmony for the student.

The path of cultivating Qi

I will list the essential understandings for cultivating Qi in its importance:

  1. Physical training, students within the Sanfengpai learn to become physically stronger, durable, and elastic. This training (Jibengong) will provide the body with the right foundation to develop Qi further on. Once the body can work with these requirements, the students start to use Qi by learning it naturally and practically.
  2.  Tai Ji training, is the control of the extremes, harmonizing our powers is vital for learning to control Qi efficiently. Once the student is physically ready, it is easier to stay calm and focused on these exercises, hypersensitivity, or unable to feel anything only results for students who skipped the first step. The physical body will harmonize the way how Qi works, and the mind can be at ease and focus.
  3. Wu Ji training, also understood as “returning to emptiness.” Once the student has a hold of Qi, the natural order is to find the origin of this internal cultivation. Western people often tend to skip necessary steps and think the Qi will guide by sheer will. We do Wu Ji training to understand ourselves further and preserve our energy. It is what results from the tedious training of body and mind, that our being can find harmony.

Let’s not overcomplicate things further.

There is no magic formula in cultivating Qi. But there are several other things you should keep in mind:

  1. Sleep plenty to let the body fix itself. After each training, the circulation can work, and resting is the only way of repairing damages within the body. Every improvement also means a change inside, and for this, the body needs to be able to activate its regeneration, which only happens during sleep.
  2. Focus on your breath, 90% from our Qi can be used with the right and natural breathing. Our body takes in energy from Oxygen, and this way, we can use Qi more efficiently.
  3. Eat healthily, another way of getting energy is to eat light and healthy food. It will give the body the fundament for improving and changing within. Variation is essential and the ability to feel what the body needs to eat now.
  4. Fix the circulation within the body. Cleaning the body from the inside works with our blood/Qi circulation. Our bone structure, tendons, and fascia can block or prevent this circulation. Therefore it is crucial to get back to the Jibengong training as mentioned above to fix these problems.

This information should all sound logical and natural because the way of the Daoists is a natural way. It is the media and alternative approaches that wake the interest of people who do not know this natural order. I guess that the main reason is to make money to learn special methods. As I said, there is no magical formula or a way to fool your body and mind. The path of Daoists is a way of consistency, hard work, and determination. I am sure it is not a suitable way for everyone, but from my experience, it is that most people change their way of thinking at a certain point in life and realize that their own body and mind is vital for preserving the life quality, and then they start training. In China, people lack social insurance, and self-preservation is an important topic. When people tend to make others responsible for themselves, it will only lead to ignoring our own needs.

Wudang Martial Arts – Flexible Body and Mind

Wudang Martial Arts – Flexible Body and Mind

In the traditional Chinese martial arts, it is important to be soft. Only the soft overcomes hardness, making the body stronger, more resistant and prevent sickness.

Wudang Martial Arts

The standard stretching routines in the traditional Wudang schools demand high flexibility to improve ones internal power. Being flexible puts less strain on the body and relaxation becomes more efficient. This will prevent injury and establishes freedom in the mind. Freeing oneself from physical and mental blockades to prevent stagnation of energy.

Only flexibility is not enough

It is a misconception in the Wudang martial arts that endless stretching may lead to a better condition. One more important factor is the power of the muscles and the elasticity of the tendons. It is common practice to use balancing stances to improve the fine-musculature of the body. The power to balance and hold the body is as important as the softness while being in this stances. This leads to better control of the body and more efficient use of the muscles.

Why it is important for power

Once the body can move unrestricted and freely, the power can be easily transferred through the body. Once we understand the Taiji – Yin Yang principles of power generation than it becomes clear how we train our coordination to work internally with our Qi. It is the time where students discover their Qi once they are flexible enough.

Why Qi Gong is not understood in the West

Why Qi Gong is not understood in the West

Qi Gong or Chi Kung?

The spelling Chi Kung (Wade & Giles) is outdated and was developed as a transcription around 100 years ago in Cambridge. Today we know how Chinese people emphasize and the current romanization is called Pinyin. It is also called Tai Ji instead of Tai Chi.

Breath or energy?

There are schools that say Qi Gong is about energy or breathing, but both are not entirely accurate. The fact that one tries to delineate the whole is typical of our Western conception and absolutely cramped.

After traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and classical Chinese medicine (CCM), which by the way are different from the commercialization of the Sino-Republican concept, the CCM is closer and more authentic to our Wudang understanding. Both teachings state the following:

  • Qi is energy
  • Breath is oxygen
  • The heart carries both over the blood
  • Power arises from this process
  • The heart stands for emotions
  • Therefore, it is important to keep calm in the breath and in the heart to gain strength

What is Qi Gong?

Qi Gong can be translated very precisely as a breathing practice that brings us energy. However, here the medical conception differs from the esoteric one. Energy is not obtained from the pleasant comfort in which the ignorant like to crawl. Qi Gong is a soothing and enjoyable practice where you learn to stand properly, breathe properly and relax. The focus is inside out and the practitioner gains control over himself. The path is to change, and for any organism, change is never pleasant.

Qi Gong is the foundation of the inner martial arts and health, the circulation created by these exercises gives the body the necessary energies to become stronger. Qi Gong is also the only practice recommended for healthy and sick people.

Recommended reads: