Introduction to Qigong
The Buddhist Master Bodhidharma, an Indian Prince before his renunciation, went to the Shaolin Monastery 1500 years ago and meditated in solitude for nine years. At the end of his retreat, he taught several systems of Qigong (Energy Yoga) to the monks at the Shaolin Monastery so that their constitution was fortified, to give rise to heightened vitality, for Dharma practice. These Qigong systems include ‘Yi Gin Ching’ – Sinews Changing Classics – which strengthened the health of the monks and empowered their physique, and ‘Shii Soei Ching’ – the Marrow Washing Classics – which deals with qi cleansing, marrow rejuvenation, and the fusion of energy for enlightenment. Pathgate.org
A major theme in Buddhist Mindfulness practice is insight into impermanence. There is a deep link between the experience of impermanence in Mindfulness and the Taoist concept of Qi (Chi) as used in East Asian medicine and martial arts. In a sense, they approach the same phenomenon from opposite yet complimentary points of view. In Mindfulness practice, we simply pay attention to ordinary experiences: mental images, internal talk, physical and emotional body sensations. As the result of this, it sometimes happens that ordinary experiences become extraordinary. Thoughts and sensations break up into a flowing energy that expands, contracts, undulates and vibrates.
*Tao Te Ching Tao and Virtue Classic ~ Translation by Derek Lin
*Tao Te Ching – J. Legge, Translator (Sacred Books of the East, Vol 39) 
Qigong (and Inner Alchemy) practice starts from the other end. It involves exercises that activate the experience of flowing energy. To combine the two practices, then, is to invoke the best of both worlds. The Buddhist Mindfulness training increases our awareness skills, allowing us to detect the energy/vibratory nature underlying ordinary experience. On the other hand, the Qigong subtly activates that energy – and since we have the magnifying glass of mindfulness we’re able to better detect that subtle activation.
In Chinese medicine, health is associated with a smooth, abundant and balanced flow of qi through the meridians. Dis-ease, on the other hand, appears when there is a deficiency, stagnation or imbalance of this flow of Qi. Qigong practice works to supplement energetic deficiencies, as well as to move stagnation and create a harmonious flow of life-force through our body-mind’s channels of awareness (meridians). Since Mindfulness trains us to open to – rather than congeal around – internal mind/body experience, it perfectly compliments and deepens these processes initiated by Qigong practice. The combination of these Buddhist and Taoist practices therefore amplifies the potential for profound healing and insight into our True Nature.
Qigong (pronounced “chee-gung,”) is translated from the Chinese to mean “energy cultivation” or “working with the life energy.” Qigong is an ancient Chinese system of postures, exercises, breathing techniques, and meditations. Its techniques are designed to improve and enhance the body’s qi. According to traditional Chinese philosophy, Qi is the fundamental life energy responsible for health and vitality.
In Chinese thought, qi, or chi, is the fundamental life energy of the universe. It is invisible but present in air, water, food and sunlight. In the body, qi is the unseen vital force that sustains life. We are all born with inherited amounts of qi, and we also get acquired qi from the food we eat and the air we breathe. In qigong, the breath is believed to account for the largest quantity of acquired qi, because the body uses air more than any other substance. The balance of our physical, mental, and emotional levels also affect qi levels in the body. Continue reading ☯ Buddhism and Qigong