The following is a complete transcription of an interview with Chunyi Lin, the founder of Spring Forest QiGong, as he details the centuries old history and modernized development of Daoist QiGong. Please note there are a few alterations to the text for fluency purposes. You can see the complete video, History and Development of Qigong, here.
A long, long time ago, Chinese people through daily life discovered the beauty of the body, especially the formation of the body, and the formation of the universe and nature. They had already discovered a connection between the physical body, nature and the universe.
The first formal form of QiGong was developed about 4,500 years ago by the Emperor, Huangdi [The Yellow Emperor, 2697 to 2597 BC]. He led his people to do a lot of amazing things to survive. Then he got ill – especially he had arthritis – but as a leader, he still needed to do the ceremony every year, helping the people to worship God, and the Sun, the Moon and Nature, bringing prosperity to the tribes and kingdom.
He was not able to do the service anymore. Then he developed a dance called, “Yu Steps”. This was a slow dance. By doing this slow dance, he found out these movements could help him to ease his pain in the knees and the body, and for his arthritis.
He gradually developed this dance into a formal performance. By doing this slow dance, he healed himself from his arthritis. From that moment on, lots of Chinese doctors got involved and did all these studies about the body’s energy and the formation of the body. They found out amazing things about the physical body.
They found out the formation of the body and the formation of the universe were pretty much the same. At the time, the formation of the universe was related to what we now call the solar system. The body’s movement – the meridians – move around the movements of the sun. We have 12 meridians in our body, and we have 12 months.
12 meridians, and each gets to work 2 hours a day, then the cycle begins again so that the energy can flow. Each meridian is on duty for 2 hours, then passes its duty to the next. So if you know this wisdom and you do some specific movements along the movement of the sun and also the movement of the body, you bring your body in harmony with the movements of the universe.
When harmony comes, the energy can flow and all the meridians open, and then all illnesses, which are the cause of energy blockages, can be balanced – can be healed – some very, very quickly.
Another thing is, through hundreds of thousands of years, Chinese ancestors and doctors through observation of the powerful animals and how they lived their life, they found out some sudden movements could help to heal the body very nicely. That’s why QiGong has five animals – White Crane QiGong, Turtle QiGong, etc.
For instance, turtles can live for like 150 years. One of the major things turtles are doing is with their breath. Human beings, we breathe like 15 to 20 times a minute. A turtle is breathing only 3 to 5 times a minute.
Breathing is a very important element in the QiGong practice. The way most people breathe every day, they only change 60% of the air in their lungs. 40% of the air in the lungs is old air.
Instead, take long, gentle deep breaths. Scientist already studied this. If you slow down your breath from 20 times a minute down to 10 times a minute, dramatically you’re going to help yourself to reduce your stress, and as we know, stress is the number one added cause of any disease in the body.
Studies have shown that if you slow down your breathing rhythm from 20 to 10 times a minute, you’re able to lower high blood pressure big time. Breathing alone can help you to control all of the energy flow in your body. There are a lot of scientific studies in this area that have already proved that.
So by imitating the movements of a turtle, imitating the stretching movements with the arms open, you can open up the energy channels – the meridians – in different ways, for different purposes.
For instance, if you have a nose bleed, you put your hands up above your head. The bleeding stops within seconds, because once you put your hands up, you create a pressure that forces the energy back to its original channels. The hands’ meridians connect to the head, and then move the energy down to the center part and down to the feet.
That is the science of the body, and that is how QiGong got developed, through all these aspects of observations. It’s amazing!