First it may be important to understand the real meaning of Qi Gong to avoid falling into a simple “new age” version of fitness. We must understand that Qi Gong did not originate from a need for exercising, getting fit, looking good, or having a healthy social activity. Qi Gong originated from the need for survival. A few meaning for “Qi” would be energy, vital force, or breath and for “Gong” work, cultivation, or refinement. So brought together we understand that it is about using the breath to increase or refine the quality of our energy.
Qi Gong can be classified in four categories: Popular Qi Gong, Martial Qi Gong, Medical Qi Gong, and Spiritual Qi Gong. Although each category come from the same source and have many points in common they are distinct primarily by their goals and by specific training specific to these objectives.
Popular Qi Gong is mostly practiced by masses with the intention of activating the energy of their body to maintain health. It is a kind of a holistic workout most likely wrapped into a short form that can be performed relatively in a short time.
Martial Qi Gong is mainly a training that complements the forms. Let’s say that the form would be the container and the Qi Gong would be the training that helps the practitioner grow power into the form. We must understand here as well that originally Martial Arts were not a sport or an eastern type of dance or physical expression but a mean to protect yourself, your family, and your country from real invasion. Again here it was about survival. Per example martial artists would train to build power and to project this power for self-defense purpose. They will build and iron shirt or develop steel fingers etc.
Medical Qi Gong involves the knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Not that you need to know TCM prior to learn Medical Qi Gong but you get to deepen your knowledge along the way. This category aims to maintain but also improve or even heal the holistic being. It implies practicing different types of exercises with awareness to unlock blockages, and restore the energy flow along every meridian and inside every organ following the laws of Yin & Yang and the Five Phases. This type of Qi Gong, although it contains various forms cannot be reduced into a single form. More than practicing a form the practitioner will learn to stretch energy channels, practice self-massage, and use various patterns of breathing according to the need.
Finally the Spiritual Qi Gong is he highest form of the name. Those practicing this level have the knowledge of all the others but involve the practice of Nei Gong, internal energy refinement alchemical practices to support their spiritual quests. This is the type that will make the disciple develop supernatural skill either physical or psychic.
Wandering Dao wants to prepare the disciple for the highest practices by teaching the 3 first types of Qi Gong and by focusing mainly on healing the body-mind.
by Daniel Li Ox