Angular outside, circular inside


In moving Qigong, many methods contain straight and angular movements. When changing from one posture to another, angles are very obvious. Although some of movements are designed to activate meridian Qi, they lack finesse and smoothness. It also contradicts the principle of “circular and flexible.” There are two common techniques one can use to solve this contradiction.

  • Angular outside, circular inside: For example, in bending the elbows to form a 90-degree angle movement (between the upper arm and forearm), the elbows form a very obvious 90-degree angle outside. However, during the bending movement, the mind intent adds an outward expanding circular force in the inner side of the elbow. This outward expanding circular force creates the “angular outside, circular inside” posture.
  • Use both straightened and bent movements: The movements are straight, yet not straightened to the limit. The joints are relaxed to maintain their flexibility and to prevent over extension. One can also add undulate motions in straight line movements.

Nourishment Continue

In Nourishment (breathing), after one has chosen and learnt the breathing method, and understands the essence and purposes of the practice, one should stay within the following practice guidelines to achieve better results.

  1. Practice should be based on relaxations.

To practice Qi Breathing, one must have a good foundation in relaxation. If the body (specially the waist area) is tensed, Qi will not be able to sink. Using abdominal breathing prematurely can cause stagnant airflow in the chest area and create uncomfortable feeling. If the mind is not relaxed, the breathing will not able to become deep, fine, even and long. In order to strengthen the Qi vitalities, Qigong practice requires a good integration between relaxation and breathing.

  1. Do not pursue the goal blindly.

The goal means both the method and result. The practitioner should choose a method that is comparable to his own ability, not a so called “advanced method” that is not practical. As long as the method is suitable to the individual, it will produce results. Also, one should not expect instance results. Impatience and unrealistic expectations would lead to failures.

  1. Do not chase after “deep, fine, even and long.”

In breathing, “deep, fine, even and long” is the result of practice. It is a process and cannot be achieved overnight.

  1. Merge consciousness with breathing.

In Qigong, Nourishment (breathing) is not breathing exercises. It is to focus on the airflow’s in and out movements and has the mind/consciousness concentrated on the rhythm of breathing movements. It is to merge one’s mind activities with breathing movements or the airflow’s in and out movements. This not only can help the practitioner to concentrate his mind, it also can activate the Qi.

  1. Pay attentions to the respiratory

Tuck in the chin and withdraw the Adam’s Apple will help in achieving “deep, fine, even and long.”

The purposes of Qigong Nourishment (breathing).

  1. For concentration.

When one pays full attentions to the breathing and follows the inhalations and exhalations, one will be able to fully engage the consciousness.

  1. Change the temperament of the person.

One can change his own temperament with breathing; inhaling would help Introverted temperament, exhaling would help extroverted temperament. Deep breath can strengthen the vitalities; shallow breath can easily weaken a person.

  1. Strengthen the Meridian Qi circulating functions.

The circulation of Meridian Qi mainly depends on two forces. One is Shàng jiāo’s (上焦) Zōng Qì (宗气). Zōng Qì is also called Qi in the chest, it is directly related to breathing; another is Dantian’s contracting and expanding. Breathing can strengthen both Zōng Qì and Dantian’s functions and power the Meridian Qi’s movements.

  1. Strengthen Qi’s Up & Down, Open & Close functions.

The Qi functions refer to the Qi inside the body. Generally speaking, Qi functions are up and close when inhaling, down (sink) and open when exhaling. Normally, Qi follows the Governor Meridian in up (rise) function, follows Conception Meridian in down (sink) function. A good coordination between body postures and breathing can strengthen Qi’s open and close functions.

  1. An important part of Orbit Qigong.

“Cultivate Jing into Qi” is an important stage in Orbit Qigong. Taoist Qigong cultivates Wind, Fire and Herb in this stage. Breathing is a part of Wind and Fire cultivation. Wind means the air we breathe; Fire means the heat one feels in the Dantian; Herb means the special movement inside the body while practicing, normally it occurs after the Prenatal Yin and Prenatal Yang have activated.

  1. To exchange information with nature.

According to Qigong theory, we do not just breathe in Oxygen, we also breathe in the Primal Qi and Shuǐgǔ Qi (water and nuts Qi) which contain the information of the nature; and breathe out carbon dioxide and vital information. We connect to the Nature via breathing.

  1. To cultivate the Postnatal Qi into Prenatal Qi.

Using breathing to change Postnatal Shuǐgǔ Qi (water and nuts Qi) into Prenatal Yuan Qi and Yuan Jing is one of the most important parts of practice in some Qigong systems.

Choose an effective breathing method.

Besides the existing methods, one can choose any combination of the five essences to create a method to satisfy a particular need. Whether it is a correct method or not mainly depends on how it fits the individual.
For example, one can combine one of the most common breathing methods “Tǔ nà fǎ 吐納法” with the “Six Healing Sound” method to adjust the inner organ Qi.


Tǔ nà fǎ mainly uses breathing (inhaling and exhaling) to balance and adjust the body functions. The method uses full breath breathing technique. The practitioner relaxes the abdomen naturally and exhales fully; then expands the lungs and inhales to the maximum, follows by slowly exhaling. At the beginning, one can rest 2-3 minutes after each cycle of breath. The purpose of this breathing method is to use full breath to strengthen the breathing process and to exchange Qi inside the body. It is very effective in getting rid of fatigue and clears the mind.
The “Six Healing Sound” method uses sound to vibrate the inner organs. Besides using different postures for different sound, depends on the organ, the practitioner will face different direction while practicing. For example, liver faces east, heart faces south, lung faces west, etc. When one combines the “Six Healing Sound” method with “Tǔ nà fǎ” to balance the five inner organs (liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys) Qi, the practitioner moves the head slightly upward when inhale; pronounce the sound very slowly while exhaling. If the sound can be heard by another person, it is discharge (excess Qi); if the sound can only be heard by oneself, it is replenishment (Qi).

The Hard Style Qigong uses stoppage method to strengthen the Internal Qi. After each inhaling, the practitioner holds the breath until he is no longer able hold before exhaling. When inhaling, mind intent leads the Qi to a certain area, holding the breath would increase the absorption of the Internal Qi and strengthen the circulation of the Internal Qi.

How to excel in Nourishment (Breathing)?

In order to use breathing to change the Qi functions, one must: (I) understand the essences of breathing, (II) choice an effective method and (III) know the goal and the purpose of the method.


I. The essence of Qi breathing.

  1. Avenues. Mainly they are mouth, nose, pores and acupuncture points. General speaking, breathing avenues normally refer to mouth and nose.
    1) Mouth: Mainly connects to Earth Yin Qi; it is effective in activating Conception Meridian functions. Also it is effective in concentrating saliva and changing it into Jing. Mouth breathing normally accompanies with tongue movements; depends on the purpose, the tongue can be either touch the upper palate or lower palate. The tongues touches upper palate can connect the Governor and the Conception Meridians.
    2) Nose: Mainly connects Heaven Yang Qi; it is effective in activating Governor Meridian functions. It is further divided to left and right nostrils. Left nostril connects to Yin, it has calming effects; it is best for day time practice. Right nostril connect to Yang, it has activating Yang Qi effects; it is best for night time practice. One can strengthen the body just by using this breathing method alone; it is a very good Qigong method by itself. There are many alternating nostril methods in Tibetan Qigong, but it is not that common in Traditional Qigong.
    The practice of mouth and/or nose breathing can be divided into 4 types.
    a) Nose inhaling, nose exhaling. This is the most common methods in all Qigong.
    b) Mouth inhaling, mouth exhaling. This method is good for people who is weak, with Yang Qi depletion and have difficulty to concentrate.
    If the practice involves a lot of physical movements, then one will use both a and b.
    c) Nose inhaling, mouth exhaling. This method connects the Governor and Conception Meridians, lots of Circulating Orbit Methods use this type of breathing. This is also a preferred breathing method in Sound Moving Qi Methods.
    d) Mouth inhaling, nose exhaling. Most Eating Qi Methods us this type of breathing. Many practitioners with Yin deficiency and weak Qi flow in Conception Meridian use this type of breathing to balance the Governor and Conception Meridians.
    3) Pores and Acupuncture points: Most practitioners will not be able to use this kind of breathing at the beginning, they will have to use mind intent to help to absorb the Nature Qi into the body. When inhaling, mind intent induces the external Qi inward; when exhaling, release Qi outward. Normally, the pressure points one uses are Baihui (GV20), Shanzhong (CV17), Huiyin, Mingmen, Laogong and Yongquan, etc. One should not use too many points at the beginning; otherwise, it is very difficult to manage.
  2. Depth.
    When select a breathing method, one must coordinate with the breathing depth. Qigong practice requires full breath. Full breath means when inhale, the abdomen expends, diaphragm move downward, bottom of the lungs expands, the chest opens up, the lungs open and expand to create the space for maximum intake. At the beginning, it is very difficult to maintain consistent full breath; one should not force the issue. When exhaling, body leans forward slightly, shoulders arc forward as if hugging someone, abdomen is concave to the maximum. In order to have full breath, one must have full inhalation and full exhalation.
    In Qigong, full breath requires deep (breathing depth), fine (the in and out air flow), even (the speed of the air flow) and long (the length of each breath).
  3. The stoppage.
    There is a stoppage between each inhaling and exhaling; also, there is a stoppage after each exhaling and before inhaling. For example:
    By extending the time of a particular stoppage one can change the body functions. The purpose of the stoppage is to strengthen Shen’s stability.
  4. Degrees of Strength.
    One can change the Qi functions in the body by increasing the strength of either the inhaling or the exhaling. General speaking, strengthen the inhaling can increase the Qi functions’ absorbing inward abilities; strengthen the exhaling can increase the Qi functions’ releasing outward abilities. The Qi functions refer to the movements and changes created by merging the consciousness and Qi.
  5. Intakes.
    Breath is not only breathing in the oxygen and breathing out the carbon dioxide; more important, it breathes in the Primal Qi in the air into the body. Combining the breathing with mind intent, one can increase the absorption of Primal Qi.

These are the five essences of breathing in Qigong; they are the roots of all Qigong Breathing Methods.

Listening to the breathing

Unrelated to Counting, Following and Observing the breathing, there is a technique called “Listening to the breathing” in Taoist Qigong. The practitioners put their auditory attention to breathing and carefully analysis the breathing sound. If one listens (uses the ears) to the breathing sound from the very beginning of the practice, one will gradually be able to hear the faintest breathing sound that is not related to the practice. Just by listening to the sound patiently, one’s breathing will become deep, fine, even and long. When that happens, the breathing sound will disappear*, and one will be able to hear the heart beats.


The next step is to listen to the heart beats. Once one can hear the heart beats, one should let go of the listening and progress to use the mind to follow and observe the heart’s contracting and relaxing. Since the heart is connected to the blood vessels, up to a certain point, one will be able to observe the pulse inside the blood vessels.

When the breathing becomes steadier and more even, and the breathing sound becomes so low that it cannot be heard, the next step is to progress to use the consciousness to observe and listen. This is called “when the ears are not able to hear, listen with consciousness.” When the consciousness is no longer able to hear, one will use Qi to listen. Up to a certain point, the breathing, consciousness and Qi will merge as one, and man and nature become one.

It is an “advance” and simple (but not easy) method, all one has to do is to concentrate and listen. Starting with ears, then consciousness and finally Qi, step by step, it will lead the practitioner to merge with nature.

*The ears can only hear a certain range of vibrating frequency, a slow and deep breathing vibrates very little and it frequency is out of the ears’ range.


As I mentioned in earlier posts, “Counting the Breath” is one of the most popular concentration techniques. If one combines the mental activities with breathing, it is called Shén Xī Xiāngyī 神息相依 (Shen and Breath depend on each other) Nourishment Adjustment Method. There are three stages in Shén Xī Xiāngyī. They are: count the breath, accompany/follow the breath and observe the breath.

  1. Count the Breath. General speaking, this belongs to “Mind Activity” territory; but from the Nourishment Adjustment’s point of view, it belongs to Nourishment Adjustment. The purpose of regulating the breath in Qigong is to change the normal breathing pattern to become deep, fine, even and long.

How can “Count the Breath” achieve this kind of breathing pattern? It is because once the mind and breathing merge as one, the mind will calm down and mental conditions will become stable; when that happens, the breathing will naturally become smooth and gradually forms a slow and even pattern.

There are three ways to practice in this stage.

  • Count (soundless) either inhale or exhale.
  • Count both inhale and exhale individually.
  • Count the breath (inhale and exhale as one unit).

With natural breathing, use one of the three ways to count the breath/breathing, count from 1 to 10, and then repeat. Among the three, number 2 has the best results in achieving merging the mind with breathing. One of the most important things about this method is that one has to use natural breathing, never force it. Counting is to “service” the breathing, one should not purposely use mind intent to change the speed of the breathing. Normally, once one can do the counting naturally, the mind will stay focused and the breathing will automatically become calm and even; this indicates the mind and the breathing have emerged as one; it will strengthen the breathing functions and gradually change the breathing pattern to become deep, fine, even and long.

  1. Accompany/follow the Breath. When the new breathing pattern becomes natural, one must let go of the counting; otherwise, one may not be able to improve to a higher level of practice. Once the counting and the breathing are merged as one, the nest step is to follow the breath/breathing. This process is called “let go of the counting, accompanies/follows the breathing.” There are two ways to practice this technique.
  • The mind follows the breathing. Inhale, the mind follows the air entering the body; exhale, the mind follows the air leaving the body.
  • The mind follows the chest and abdomen’s movements. It can be natural, reverse, chest or abdominal breathing. General speaking, abdominal breathing is preferred in Qigong cultivation.

With practice, the breathing will become deep, fine, even and long. It is very important that this breathing pattern comes naturally, not by conscious efforts; otherwise, Qi may be stuck in the chest area or the inner organs may drop down.

  1. Observe the breath. After cultivating “follow the breath” to a certain point (the mind intent and the breath/breathing are nicely combined as one), one should let go of “follow the breath” and progress to “observe the breath.”

Observe the breath means to observe how the air moves in and out of the body, and gradually to observe how the skin and pores open and close. This process is called “let go of accompany, follows the observation.” After one obtains a certain degree of proficiency in “count the breath” and “follow the breath,” the volume of air in his breath will increase and the sensitivities of his internal sensors will be strengthened. With a good foundation in “observe the breath,” one is be able to observe how the air moves inside the lungs, senses how it circulates inside the body and senses how the skin breathes.

This is one method with three stages of practice, from elementary to advance. If one bypass “count the breath” and begins with “follow the breath,” one may not understand the essences of “follow the breath.” When practicing “count the breath,” one would know he is not longer counting as soon as his mind wonders away; but it is not that easy to know when or how long one has wondered away in “follow the breath.” Begin with “count the breath” can strengthen the connection between the mind activity and the breath/ breathing and build a good foundation to achieve Shén Xī Xiāngyī.

Nourishment Adjustment

Among the three components of nourishment, nutrition is the most discussed subject among both practitioners and non-practitioners. There are thousands of books out there to tell people what to eat or not to eat, from all meat to all vegetables, solid to liquid, over-cooked to raw, etc. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, different flavor, different color nourishes different part of the organ/body. In Chilel Qigong, we recommend balanced diet.

Rest includes physical and mental. Everyone knows the importance of physical rest to the body, but lots time we do not pay enough attentions to the mental rest. Mental restless can do a lot of harm to the body. For example, worry can age a person overnight. Regulating both physical and mental rest is very important in Qigong practice. Traditionally, one cultivates mental rest in daily life. It has to do with virtue, ethics, temperament, etc.

General speaking, during practice, Nourishment Adjustment is to regulate the breath. In Qigong, one breath consists of one inhale, one exhale and the stoppage in between. Traditional Chinese Medicine’s definition of breath has moving/circulating implication; it says with each inhale or exhale, Qi moves three inches. The Qi functions in the pores are activated with breathing, and they will follow the rhythm to open and close (exhale from heart and lung, inhale to kidney and liver).


Besides exchanging air (mainly oxygen and carbon dioxide) with nature, human use breathing to connects and exchange information with millions of things in the universe. This called “inhale and exhale with Heaven and Earth.” If one can concentrate on the stoppage between the inhale and exhale, one can easily absorb the nature/universe Qi.

There are over a hundred kinds of breathing methods. The most common ones are:

  1. Throat Breathing. The practitioner uses the throat’s contraction and retraction to breathe; normally, during the inhaling and exhaling, practitioner would add sound to strengthen the Qi function. It is a very special breathing technique and it is common in “Eating Qi” method. When “Eating Qi,” the practitioner would use the mouth to inhale and say the syllables “Hē er 喝兒” during inhaling; exhale through the nose, some methods use natural exhaling, some would say the syllables “Hē er 喝兒” during exhaling.
  2. Lung Breathing. The practitioner uses the thorax’s contraction and expansion to breathe; it is also called Chest Breathing. When the thorax expanses, it will create negative pressure inside the cavity and allow the air to enter the lungs. If the breath is shallow and the air only enter the upper part of lungs, it is called “Shoulder Breathing;” if the air enters the full lungs, it is called ”Full Breathing.” Although the breathing is following the natural rhythm of the practitioner, the goal is to slow down the breath’s frequency and becomes soft, smooth and natural. Practicing this type of Breathing Method can strengthen Qi’s Up and Down functions in the body. When inhale, Qi would move up, when exhale, Qi would move down.
  3. Abdominal Breathing. The breathing is done by contracting the diaphragm. It can be divided into two categories.
  • Natural Breathing. Most practitioners use the combination of chest and abdomen; the movements of the chest and abdomen are very obvious, sometimes it is called “whole breathing.” When inhaling, the diaphragm moves downward and the abdomen expanses outward; when exhaling, the diaphragm moves upward and the abdomen contracts inward. It is normal breathing pattern for most people, so it is called “Natural Breathing.” It does not only increase the lung capacities, it also massages the inner organs. With the diaphragm moving up and down, it will activate and strengthen the zhōng gōng 中宮 functions (zhōng gōng is the area between Middle and Lower Dantian). Most Qigong use this breathing method.
  • Reverse Breathing. When inhaling, the diaphragm moves downward and the abdomen contracts inward; when exhaling, the diaphragm moves upward and the abdomen relaxes outward. One must have a good foundation in Natural Breathing before he can progress to the Reverse Breathing. The purpose for the Reverse Breathing is to increase the pressure in the abdominal area, so Qi will be concentrated and become stronger in the Lower Dantian. In Reverse Breathing, when exhale, the Postnatal Qi moves down to Dantian area; when inhale, the abdomen contracts, Huiyin moves upward, Prenatal Qi will move upward and merges with Postnatal Qi.
  1. Fetus Breathing. Like a fetus, one breathes through the navel. Sometimes it is called Navel Breathing. It is an advanced breathing technique. Practitioners visualize the air is in and out of the navel, and it feels like one no longer breathes through the nose and mouth. The mind intent is focused on the navel’s “open and close” movements, not the physical breath. When inhale, the navel closes (has a contracting feeling), when exhale, the navel open (has an expending feeling). But if the mind intent is aware of the physical breathing (Lungs or Abdominal), it is no longer Fetus Breathing.
  2. Skin Breathing. When one cultivates breathing to a point that he is no longer aware of the breathing and/or the movements of the breath (air), he uses mind intent to breathe through skin and pores (skin and pores’ open, close, in and out movements), it is called Skin Breathing. Inhale, (it is a feeling) air permeates into the center of the body through the skin and pores; exhale, air leaves the center of the body through skin and pores. Lungs’ functions are existing yet not existing. In the beginning, it is the skin and pores’ open, close, in and out movements, gradually, one and nature merge as one. At that point, the center of the body is the center of the universe; when one inhales, the Heaven and Earth inhale, when one exhales, the Heaven and Earth exhale.
  3. Yin and Yang Breathing. Some Qigong consider nose connects with Heaven Qi, mouth connects with Earth Qi. Right nostril connects with Heaven’s Yang Qi, left nostril connects with Heaven’s Yin Qi. A day is divided into 12 periods, 6 Yang and 6 Yin. The practitioner balances the body’s Yin and Yang by working on the right side during the Yang period, left side during the Yin period.

One of the methods in Fú jiā mìzōng 佛家密宗 (Tantric Buddhism) is to alternate right and left nostril during the breathing. According to them, there is a tube that circulates Zhen Qi inside the Central Meridian. The right side of the tube is red and connects to Yang Qi, the left side of the tube is yellow and connects to Yin Qi. This tube (right and left) connects with the nostrils. When inhale from right nostril and exhale from left nostril (Yang in and Yin out), and vice versa, one can balance the Yin and Yang. The method is as follow:

Begins with right hand, right thumb touches the right nostril, index finger touches the top of nose bridge (slightly below Yintang), middle and ring fingers touch left nostril. Inhale, close the right nostril with the thumb and breathe in from the left nostril. Exhale, close the left nostril and breathe out from the right nostril; repeat 24 or 36 times. Change hands and do the same with left hand.

Most Qigong breathing is slow, long and soundless. In order to increase the volume of air in and out of the lungs, some Qigong such as Guo Lin Qigong (郭林氣功) use “Wind Breathing.” The breath is very strong and accompany with breathing sound. Some Qigong use “Odd Number Breathing” to increase the oxygen intake. Instead of one inhale and one exhale, they use two inhales and one exhale or four inhales and three exhales, etc.

Qigong Online Live (Webcast) Courses

Starting next January, we will offer Online Live (Webcast) Courses:

Qigong & Wellness Series

The tentative dates for the courses are:


Jan 23, 2016           M1-1 Chilel Qigong Foundation Method

Jan 24, 2016           M1-2 Lift Qi Up and 3-Center Merging Method

Jan 30, 2016           M1-3 Lift Qi Up and 3-Center Merging Method Cont.

Courses outlines:

M1-1 Chilel Qigong Foundation Method

Learning Objectives
Participants completing this program will be able to:

1) Describe the basic principles of Chilel Qigong.
2) Describe the proper Qigong posture.
3) Describe the key features of Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down Method.
4) Describe the proper way to practice Lift Qi Up.
5) Describe how the information in this course can be utilized to improve health and reduce stress.
1) The characteristics of Chilel Qigong.
2) The proper Qigong posture.
3) The key features of Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down Method.
4) The Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down Method—the practice.
5) The correct way to practice.

M1-2 Lift Qi Up and 3-Center Merging Method

Learning Objectives
Participants completing this program will be able to:

1) Describe the purposes of each movement in Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down Method.
2) Describe the finer points in each movement.
3) Describe the key features of 3-Centers Merging Method.
4) Describe the proper way to practice 3-Center Merging Method.
5) Describe how the information in this course can be utilized to improve health and reduce stress.

1) The purposes of each movement in Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down Method.
2) The proper movements.
3) The key features of 3-Center Merging Method.
4) The correct 3-Center Merging Method postures.
5) Practice.

M1-3 Lift Qi Up and 3-Center Merging Method Cont.

Learning Objectives
Participants completing this program will be able to:
1) Describe the ways of combining Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down Method with 3-Centers.
2) Describe the finer points in each movement.
3) Describe the ways of combining practice and nourishment.
4) Describe the proper way to balance movements and mind intents.


1) The ways to merge each movement in Lift Qi Up and Pour Qi Down Method with 3-Centers.
2) The originating point of each movement.
3) Ways to practice.

Who Should Attend?

Chilel (Zhineng) Qigong practitioners.
Individual who is interested in self-cultivation.
Anyone who wants to broaden his understanding of non-Western approach to health, and disease.


9:00 am – Program begins.
10:00 am – Break
10:10 – Program resumes
12 noon – Adjournment

How The Webcast Works
1) The time-zone listings for this Webinar (online live seminar) are presented using Pacific Time (PT). By using a PC or Mac computer, students can participate in this seminar from anywhere. The computer must be equipped with Internet access.
2) Computers (PC or Mac) with external speakers and/or headphones are required to listen to the Webinar.
3) Only students who have pre-registered for this Webcast can participate.

Mental/Mind Adjustment

The fundamental difference between physical exercise and Qigong is how the mind is employed. In physical exercise, it is the body’s reflexive action that causes the mind to direct the movements. In Qìgōng, the mind is inward focused and consciously directs every movement within the body, it is a learned behavior. The participants need to learn how to purify the mind (get rid of distracting thoughts), concentrate on the movements, follow and adhere to the requirement of the method.  The way to employ and use the mind activities during the practice is called Mental/Mind Adjustment. Mind activities are one of the most important parts of Qigong practice.


No matter what type of Qigong one practice, all movements and postures are under the direction and commend of the mind activities. Also trainings on movements and breathing patterns follow the mind’s directions.

Although each Qigong method has its unique mind activities, they all focus on concentration at the beginning stage. There are a few steps in the concentration process.

  1. Withdraw the scattered mind. In a non Qigong state, one’s mind scatters all over the places. By focusing on one point or one area of body such as Dantian, Mingmen, etc, one withdraws the scattered mind and stay within the point/body.
  2. Stop the distracting thoughts. When one cannot stay focusing and has lots of distracting thoughts, next step is to stop the train of thoughts and gradually bring the attention back to the focus point.
  3. Relax the mind. Do not get annoyed or impatient when you are not able to concentrate. It takes a lot of practice before one can stop the distracting thoughts.
  4. Mellow the mind intent. The mind intent (focusing) cannot be too intensive. It should be focusing yet not focusing, mind intent is there yet not there, has and has not.

One of the goals of Qigong training is to concentrate Qi in a particular area (it can be a point/area of the body or something in the nature) or to move Qi in a certain way/route. It is performed under the direction/control of the mind. If one cannot concentrate, “Concentrating Qi” and “Circulating Qi” are empty words.

The most common concentration methods are:

  1. Focusing method. The mind focuses on one point or an area. It can be internal or external. The most common focusing points are:
  • Dantian is not a point; it is an area (three dimensions). There are three Dantians in the body – Upper, Middle and Lower Dantian. The locations of the Dantians are not the same in all Qigong, but most agree Upper Dantian is located at the center of the head, Middle Dantian is located at the Center of the Chest and Lower Dantian is located at the abdomen (slightly below the naval). Besides the three Dantians, some Qigong add Front Dantian (naval area) and Back Dantian (Mingmen) to form five Dantians. Ming (physical body) Gong normally focuses on Lower Dantian, Xing (Mind) Gong focuses on the Upper Dantian.
  • Yǒng quán湧泉(KD 1). Kidneys storage the Prenatal Jing (Qi), focusing on these points can nourish the Prenatal Jing, strengthen the Yuan Yang and increase the vitalities.
  • Zú sānlǐ 足三里 (ST 36). Stomach is main source of Shuǐgǔ Qi (Shuǐ means water and gǔ means grain, together it means food), focus on Zú sānlǐ can strengthen the digestive system.
  • Nature scenery. Beautiful scenery can improve metal clarity.
  • Combining External and Internal. One of the most popular methods is Chán guān (禪觀), a Buddhism Qigong technique. The practitioner focuses on an external image first, then brings the image in and merges it with internal body. For example, one focuses on a waterfall, watches the water rushing downward; then brings the waterfall inside the body, visualizing the water rushing down from the top of the head, going through every part of the body and washing out all the impurities.  Or one can focus on the blue sky (the invisible Qi) , and then gradually bring the blue sky into the body, feel  the Qi permeate and nourish the skin, muscles, bones, etc. (This is called Kōng lán lái lǐ 空藍來裡 in Traditional Qigong)
  1. Relaxation Methods.

All relaxation methods require concentration and vise versa.

  1. Counting the breath. One breath consists of one inhale, one exhale and the stoppage in between. Depends on the method, some count the whole breath, some count just inhale, exhale or the stoppage in between; the common practice is to count from 1 to 10, then repeat.
  2. At the beginning stage, practitioners can verbally pronounce the Mantra. In a more advanced stage, the Mantra should repeat soundlessly. Instead of Mantra, some practitioners use affirmation. The length of affirmation should be between 3 and 9 syllables. For example, Zhineng Qigong uses the affirmation Hùn Yuán Ling Tōng (混元靈通). Hùn Yuán means primal Qi (before Yin and Yang), Ling means efficacious, Tōng means unobstructed. As a whole, it means once the primal Qi can permeate the body without obstructions, one can achieve whatever one wants to accomplish.