Types of Qigong
Many years of developing Qigong have resulted in a few major schools of thought being established as the main sources of Qigong technology. These schools are: Buddhist, Taoist, Confucius/Scholar, Martial, Medical, and Populous. Each school has it goals and objectives which will now be explained in more detail.
Most people know of Buddhism as a religion started by a man named Siddhartha Gautama. Once he realized enlightenment of interdependent causation he began to teach others to realize the same start. What most do not realize is the Buddha Dharma was really the science of liberation from suffering. Now consider this, do not people suffer physically and mentally? If this be true then Buddhism had to have ways to ease suffering from physical ailments. The mind being the crux of life there had to be methods of using the mind to heal physical and mental suffering.
Buddhist Qigong has two main lineages known to the west; Tibetan and Chan/Zen.
From the Tibetan schools came many mantras, mudras, and yogic breath work. Chan/Zen, which comes form Bodhidharma, is related to the Shaolin Temple of Honan province which taught the infamous Yijinjing(Muscle Tendon Changing Classic) and the Marrow Washing Classic.
The aim of these methods is to strengthen and purify the body to help in attaining Samadhi which is typically a pre-requisite before realizing enlightenment.
Taoism is the result of many integrations of schools of thought with indigenous shamanism to create an eclectic spiritual blend. The aim of the Fan Shi (Taoist forerunners) was to create an immortal body. In this pursuit every piece of available data that would allow them to reach their goal was surveyed and possibly added to the store house of techniques. In time various schools of Taoism arose but most that focused of physical preservation centered on the conversion of Jing, Qi, and Shen.
Taoist Qigong originally focused on quiet sitting but eventually changed to emphasis awareness of the various subtle changes of the body and mind in order to command life force to an extreme level. Most of modern Traditional Chinese Medicine has been heavily influenced by Taoist principles and practices.
Confucius was a sage that taught harmony by development of character and society. The aim was to be the best you could in your given social environment. Considering the complexity of human interaction it would take a very wise person to accomplish the goal of Confucianism. Therefore the Qigong methods were primarily based in fostering a calm, insightful, and wise state of mind. This included having good health because how many people can be focused on a higher level of virtue then they are ill.
China was once a place of constant war and strife. The philosophy of might is right permeated this great land. Because of the volatile environment of Chinas’ past warfare and personal combat reached a zenith. A major part of mastering warfare is related to Qigong. Qigong allowed warriors to reach superhuman levels making them almost unstoppable on the battle field. The forms of qigong that dominate this specialty center around improving all aspects of improving power generation and making the body impenetrable to fist, feet, wood, and metal.
Health is at the forefront of life for humans. Even pleasure seekers gain a lot by paying attention to health. Qigong in general will improve health but some exercise are designed to stimulate the body at all levels to encourage radiant health in the body and mind.
A great portion of Medical Qigong comes from Taoism because the aim of Taoism is not mere health but immortality. Achieving great health must be much easier than trying to live forever.
The body has a network that connects the whole body from deep inside your organs to the surface of your skin. Medical Qigong seeks to effect this network to that communication in the body is not interrupted. Also, measures are taken to strengthen internal organs by breath regulation, sounds, massage, movement, and visualization.
Another area that Medical Qigong specializes in is using life force to induce healing. When a person does Qigong intensely the body will have such a abundance of life force that they will be able to share that energy with others. Once the power is realized you have to undergo a thorough education of the body and its systems to effectively use the life force without harm.
In the late 80’s after the Cultural Revolution ended Qigong was instituted into the Peoples’ Republic of China as part of the national health care plan. The powers that be realized that a western form of healthcare would bankrupt the government, especially in their case because they had to care for over 2 billion people. So the sift was to prevention. It just so happened that the traditions that they had tried to stamp out had the answers to their health care needs. Qigong became an integral part of the shift. Why? Because it is very inexpensive to train teachers and Qigong works as an effective strategy for staying off disease and healing disorders.
When the government started to promote Qigong to the masses many teachers answered the call. Due to the secret nature of many Qigong lineages it is sure that many masters took there secrets to the grave. Fortunately there came a time that teachers were more open to teaching larger groups of students in the form of a tryout such as in joining a sporting team. When you tryout for a competitive sport the front players are always the best athletes that are good at team work. Such it is for the selection of modern Qigong lineage holders. In any group of people only a few will have the karmic connection to the teacher and tradition to carry on that particular school. The large groups have become the recruiting grounds for those qualified to truly master and carry on a various Qigong technologies.
Populous Qigong has the feel of ease to learn, it is relaxing, recreational, community oriented, and health focused.
In all the various form are interesting to know about. There has been much cross training of disciplines in recent years. Mountain Way Qigong has elements of most of the mentioned schools. Your goals will generally dictate the best type of Qigong for you.