Basic Concepts of Chinese Qigong Practice

1.  Qi 气

Refers to either all kinds of air in the natural world; or respiration; or functions of the viscera; or climate; or taste; or concept of philosophy.

2. Genuine Qi 真气

Refers to either clarity of innate original essence; or healthy Qi; or combination of the natural Qi and grain Qi.

3. Primordial Qi 先天气

Refers to either the original Qi; or Qi of Yang in the extreme quietness; or Qi in the period of Zi (the period of the day from 11 PM to 1 AM in the afternoon); or the condition before the sky and earth were separated.

4. Qigong 气功

Refers to either regulation of the body, Qi and the spirit; or regulation of the functions of respiration.

5. Dynamic Exercise 动功

Refers to the techniques used to promote external movement, known as Daoyin in antiquity.

6. Static Exercise 静功

Opposite to dynamic exercise, referring to inactivity of the limbs in practicing Qigong with such an exercise.

7. Internal View 内观

Refers to either keeping the spirit inside for stabilizing the body; or keeping the spirit inside to observe the internal with both eyes.

8. Internal Vision 内视

Refers to enabling the eyes to look at certain organs inside the body (such as the heart, the liver and the kidney) mentally, not visually, and practicing Qigong in order to tranquilize the mind. Such an exercise of Qigong practice is just mentally observation, not really reaching the eyesight into the five Zang-organs (including the heart, the liver, the spleen, the lung and the kidney) and the six Fu-organs (including the gallbladder, the stomach, the small intestine, the large intestine, the bladder and the triple energizer).

9. Internal Concentration 内守

Refers to constantly keeping the spirit inside and avoiding the spirit to leak.

10. Daoyin 导引

Refers to regulation of the body and spirit through moving the limbs for the purpose of fortifying the body, which belongs to the categories of dynamic exercise for practicing Qigong in ancient times.

11. Exercise of Daoyin 导引法

Dynamic exercise, marked by practice after Chou (the period of a day from 1 AM to 3 AM in the morning) and before Mao (the period of a day from 5 AM to 7 AM in the morning) when it is a sunny day. Before practicing Qigong, hair should be freed and groomed in the four sides towards the top of the head for 365 times. Then the practitioner turns the face to the east, sitting with the hands holding the fists, closing the eyes, contemplating the spirit and clicking the teeth for 360 times in order to stabilize Qi. Such a way of practice can be continued for several times.

mawangdui daoyin Qigong

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12. Dan 丹

Refers to the result of Yin and Yang medicinals that have integrated in the body. It also refers to Qigong practice as Dan (pills of immortality), indicating an important appellation of Qigong.

13. Dantian 丹田

Refers to the region for producing Dan (pill or cinnabar) in alchemy, which is the root of human body where genuine Qi concentrates. Dantian is divided into the upper Dantian (the region between the eyes), the middle Dantian (the region below the heart) and the lower Dantian (the region below the navel).

14. Excercise for Qi Entering Dantian 气归丹田法

A dynamic exercise, marked by referring to sitting quietly to the east on the bed with closed eyes after Zi (the period of the day from 11 PM to 1 AM), breathing out obsolete Qi from the abdomen for two or three times, then suspending respiration for clear Qi in the nose to clean the mouth.

15. Qi Sea 气海

Refers to the fact that the original Qi is in the kidney and the kidney is the sea of Qi.

16. Fetal Respiration 胎息

Refers to either respiration in Dantian; or deep and long respiration; or concentrating the genuine essence, Qi and spirit; or respiration like embryo in mother's uterus; or regulating Yin and Yang in the body. 

17. Exercise of Fetal Respiration 胎息法

A static exercise for regulating the body, the spirit and Qi; marked by naturally sitting or sitting with crossed knees or lying on the back, holding the fists as that of a baby, interacting with the lips and teeth, breathing in and out through the nose, suspending respiration, closing the eyes and avoiding exhalation through the mouth. 

18. Controlling Qi 闭气

Refers to either regulating breath; or controlling respiration with consciousness.


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19. Excercise for Controlling Respiration 闭气法

A static exercise, referring to either regulation of the body, including clicking the teeth, swallowing fluid and the rubbing the face; or regulating Qi, including swallowing natural Qi and the transmitting Qi to the sea of Qi with consciousness.

20. Diet Reduction 却谷

Refers to eating less or non-eating. In ancient China, scholars for health cultivation reduced diet in practicing Qigong, or even stopped taking food in a certain period of time.

21. Stopping diet (Inedia) 辟谷

Refers to no hunger after practicing Qigong to a certain stage, during which the energy is not reduced and the body is not discomforted without taking food.

22. Renzhong 人中

Refers to either an acupoint located in the area between the upper lip and nose; or the cut-off point between the single orifice and double orifice among the nine orifices. This acupoint is a region usually used in practice of Qigong.

If you have questions about certain Qigong practice, feel free to leave a comment here. We are more than happy to answer your questions. 

Reference: Chinese-English Dictionary of Qigong,