In order to see Tai Ji’s mystery, practice transforming the qi into spirit.  In the state where there is no separation between the self and others, the mystery is united with nature.  When the Qi is full and the spirit complete, one approaches the Dao.  To know harmony is called permanence.  To know permanence is called enlightenment.  The practitioner should seek this diligently.  Success comes to those who are willing to take great pains in study and practice.

A Study of Taijiquan Introduction

            -Wu Xin Gu


There is no place in the body Original Qi does not reach, there is no place in time in which it is absent.  The internal and external are united in a single qi.  It flows ceaselessly without break.  Tai Ji is the one qi.  The one qi is Tai Ji.

A Study of Taijiquan

            -Sun Lutang




            Tai Ji Quan or T’ai Chi Chuan treats the individual body, mind and spirit as a single phenomenon, so any proper definition is obliged to identify it as a single activity, but without omitting any of its many divergent applications.  T’ai chi chuan, also called tai chi, is self-defense on the most fundamental level, that of sustaining wholeness in every sense.

            T’ai chi is usually done slowly.  This means that the practitioner becomes aware of every movement both large and small, and of the principles of movement.  Moving slowly also accentuates the healthful benefits of the movements on the body; and the mind becomes a quality invested in the movements so that form and the content are one, and tai chi becomes art.

            Physically, the wholeness of an individual can be assaulted by an enemy or by illness.  Tai chi movements, in this respect, can be applied to self-defense.  They also promote health by improving the flow of chi (life energy) from the lower psychic center, a space three inches below the navel and back into the low abdomen called the lower tan tien, and throughout the entire body.  In addition these movements calm the mind and thus benefit mental health as well.

            As a form of activity, tai chi can be described as ritualistic.  Its meaning however, is not buried far away in China, but rather is to be found in the archetypal attributes of every person, and in the unfolding of the existential condition.  This other side can be fully grasped when tai chi is practiced regularly.  When practiced regularly and ritualistically, it helps fortify the wholeness of one’s humanity and keeps it from being fragmented.  One is able to feel the interplay of the original primal opposites which are the source of our polarized psychic state, and which in Chinese cosmology are called yin and yang.

            This polarity, down through the centuries, has been observed by wisemen in the esoteric traditions of both East and West.  Because of it, we have consciousness, the double-edged sword with which we create or destroy.  Tai chi attempts to bring about a more effective dialectic, promoting creativity as well as peace in the soul.  The tai chi symbol represents this idea.

 Tai Chi Chuan:  The 27 Forms

            -Marshall Ho’o



            According to ancient Chinese cosmology the universe is one.  The universe started from one mass of Qi.  A different quality of Qi started moving in the primordial stage.  The light Qi ascended to form Heaven and the heavy Qi descended to form Earth.  Later, Heavenly Qi descended and Earth Qi ascended, and then intercourse occurred between Heaven and Earth and gave birth to the ten thousand things (everything). 

Everything originated from Qi and is connected together through the Qi.

            The universe has its own law, often referred to as the Way or the Dao, that weaves a web with Qi.  We are living in the web and belong to the web.  My Qigong practice has made me more aware of the Qi, more awake in my super-consciousness, and I have learned more about how the physical body and the spiritual body connect with the universe through Qi cultivation.  I can feel that my physical body, mental body, and spiritual body are well when my body Qi flows and connects with universal Qi.  I have gotten sick when I have had Qi stagnation or have been disconnected from nature.  As I recognized this connection, I understood that my body in not “mine,” and I realized that the truth is “the Great Dao uses Emptiness as its real body.”

            In short, Qigong is a way to awaken the Qi, the universal web or network, the emptiness and maintain wellness in the web.

Vital Breath of the Dao Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong – Laohu Gong

            -Master Zhongxian Wu



            Though Qi Gong exercises are fairly well known now, less well understood is the process of Nei Gong.  Nei Gong means “internal skill;” if we take the term literally, it is referring to a very specific series of changes that the body can go through if trained in the correct manner.  Nei Gong does not have any specific ‘exercises’ as such.  It is simply a process that is laid out in a very clear and surprisingly linear manner.  Movement through the Nei Gong process is the inherent aim within most classical schools of Qi Gong, whereby the Qi Gong exercises themselves are simply seen as ‘tools’ that are used to facilitate this process.

            For those wishing to practice Qi Gong exercises solely for the (more than acceptable) aim of relaxation or as a form of health exercise, there is no need for study of the Nei Gong process.  It is a long and complex path that only the most dedicated of students should really concern themselves with. 

            When first encountering teachings on the subject of Nei Gong, it can be a little overwhelming.  There is a great deal of philosophy involved, volumes of alchemical writings and almost impenetrable terminology which can initially seem very off-putting.  The good news, though, is that Chinese arts always tend to be the same: the theory is initially very complex, but the actual practice involved is fairly straightforward.  The theory is there to help shape the mind in the right way and guide us through the process of change we will inevitably go through, but ultimately, it is our engagement with the practice that will yield the results. 

            We can divide Nei Gong training into three main aspects – standing exercises, moving exercises, and seated practice.  Standing exercises are the starting point of the tradition.  These are aimed at developing certain fundamental skills such as ‘sinking the Qi’ and locating the ‘lower Dan Tien’.  From here there is a general progression into moving and, finally, seated practice.  Moving exercises help to circulate Qi through the body, and seated exercises are used for the more intricate aspects of the process.  At first when learning these arts, you will switch between the three types of exercises according to what you are practicing, but with time you should find that you gravitate more towards seated work; at this stage of the training, your standing and moving exercises will become less and less important. 

A Comprehensive Guide To Daoist Nei Gong

            -Damo Mitchell