Zhineng Qigong is a branch of Qigong created by grandmaster Pang Ming in the 1980s in China. Grandmaster Pang Ming simplified classical Qigong so that anyone, even those suffering from illnesses, can enjoy its benefits.
Zhineng Qigong consists of a comprehensive philosophy and series of movements (called “Methods”), performed in a state of relaxation, that range from basic to advanced levels.
In Zhineng Qigong, directing the internal activities of the mind-consciousness is as important as performing the actual physical movements. Students learn to regulate their internal Qi flow to improve their health and wellbeing, help recover from illnesses, enhance their mental faculties and promote longevity.
Practitioners can also use Qi to heal themselves and other people, drawing from the limitless reservoir of Qi from the universe.
What distinguishes Zhineng Qigong from other disciplines is that it is simple, easy to practice, effective and safe.
For over thousands of years, the Chinese have recognized Qi as the life force or vital energy that is the basic building block of the universe and living beings. There are two types of Qi: vital energy of the universe (universal Qi) and vital energy within the human body (internal Qi). According to Qigong theory, the life process involves the healthy interaction and interchange between universal Qi from nature and our internal Qi. This is because man and nature are one.
According to traditional Chinese medical theory, Qi flows through the human body along a network of Qi channels or meridians. Metabolic processes rely on Qi and Qi, in turn, is generated through the metabolic process. Thus energy converts into matter and matter converts into energy. It follows, therefore, that disease and illness are the result or manifestations of blocked Qi or deficient Qi, and the re-establishing of good Qi flow, in turn, restores the body to health.
Jing refers to the physical body and structures such as cells. Qi is the life force or energy source. Shen is roughly translated as mind/consciousness.
Consciousness (shen) is the master of Qi, while Qi dictates the physical body (Jing). Likewise, the body nourishes Qi and Qi nourishes the consciousness. This holistic view of humans as an integration of jing-Qi-shen forms the underpinning of Qigong healing and therapy.
There was something formless and perfect
before the universe was born.
It is serene. Empty.
Infinite. Eternally present.
From it, like from a mother,
everything living has come.
It has no name
so I shall call it Tao.
It has no limit
So I shall call it the infinite.
It flows through all things,
inside and outside, and returns
to the origin of all things.
it manifests as the spaciousness of the sky.
it manifests as the vastness of galaxies, stars, and planets.
it manifests as human life.
Tao Te Ching - verse 25
In Chinese, “hun” means to blend and transmute; and “yuan” means unity or one-ness. HunYuan Entirety Theory, a rational theoretical system with various far-reaching implications, is the foundation of Zhineng Qigong set forth by Grandmaster Pang Ming.
Another key idea in this theory is that all matter possess three elements—mass, energy and information— and exist in three classifications—substance, field and primordial energy (Hunyuan Qi). We already know that substance possesses mass (energy and information are concealed within this mass) whereas fields (eg magnetic, electric fields) possess energy (with mass and information concealed within the field). According to HunYuan theory, HunYuan Qi is the third classification and exists as information (with energy and mass concealed within). Essentially, Qi allows nature to become flexible enough to permit the seemingly inexplicable transformation of non-matter into matter, time into space, mass into energy.
Without delving deeper, suffice to say that human consciousness (shen) is the activity of HunYuan Qi of the human brain. The practice of Zhineng Qigong at an advanced level will involve harnessing that consciousness.
Nonetheless, as you can see, words in the English vocabulary like “consciousness” or “mind” or “spirit” are inadequate in encapsulating the meaning of shen or other terms and phrases as posited by Grandmaster Pang Ming. One must read his works to understand the nuances of each concept that we have summarily explained with simple accessible language here. For most Westerners, there exists neither the context nor the practical experience to understand these terms without further study.
In English it is called Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down, it is the first level of Active Zineng Qigong and represents the essence of Zhineng Qigong at its basic level. The method involves drawing Qi from the universe, lifting up this Universal Qi, and channeling it through one’s body and energy meridians.
In this method, the body stretches and extends, moving rhythmically and pulsating with mild effort and relaxation. The body’s biological functions are harmonized as the energy flows through the meridians. The effect is detoxifying as Qi begins to flow freely, eventually forcing out impurities, and the body is diffused with life-enhancing energy drawn from the universal Source.
Most significantly, students learn to use their consciousness / intent to direct Qi and to connect with the universe / cosmic void. The establishment of this connection with the Universe is the foundation of greater health and wellbeing.
Also known as Body and Mind Method, it is the second level in active Zhineng Qigong. It should be practiced only after the student has built a solid foundation through Level 1 practice and established a strong connection to the Universal Qi.
This method involves a higher level of difficulty as its movements utilize every part of the body including seldom-used muscles and joints and require more exertion. Unlike Level 1, which focuses on channeling Qi with the consciousness, the Body and Mind Method focuses on channeling and directing the flow of Qi through physical movement and thereby integrating the mind and body.
It requires a balancing of many seemingly opposing factors: one must exert oneself while maintaining a state of relaxation, pay close attention to the many small movements of the body while simultaneously performing very large movements, and maintain rigidity but also flexibility. And finally, one must seek calm amidst motion and eventually bring the consciousness to a state of complete calm and, thus, unity with the body.
San Xin Bing Zhan Zhuang or the Three Centres Merge is one of the more popular “passive” standing forms.
This Method focuses on merging or connecting the three extremities—the crown, hands and feet— with the Vital Energy Centre or dantian, which is our reservoir of Qi located in the lower abdomen. Since there is very little movement in this form, you can focus on gathering Qi in the dantian and pay attention to the positioning of your legs, pelvis and spinal column.
If you are in the correct position, the method will help to open up your lower back and you will feel the Qi in your Energy Centre and a clearness and calmness in your head.