This is an excerpt taken from a lecture I gave on a particular system of Qigong which I practice known as Hun Yuan Qigong. Though the lecture was concerning this particular style I felt that some of the info may be useful as some of these principles can be applied to other styles of Qigong as well.
Note that the text is directly transcribed from my lecture so the grammar may not be all that brilliant!
Hun Yuan Qigong is often translated as meaning ‘Primordial’ or ‘Congenital Qigong’ which is an appropriate name but it really deserves further exploration.
‘Hun’ by its nature refers to something that is mixed, something that is still a composite and hasn’t been divided into various parts as in Hun Dun which is often translated as original chaos.
‘Yuan’ literally means rotations or circles.
So the name of the Qigong set is actually Mixed Circles or Mixed Rotations Qigong. Why is this and what does this have to do with primordial?
A state of undifferentiated rotating energy is the original state of the cosmos according to esoteric Daoism. This was the state before Yin and Yang divided. It is the potential for something but nothing manifest. The ultimate state of Wuji is supposed to be formed of various mixed circles – Wuji is Hun Yuan. Out of these mixed circles come Taiji which is the catalyst for Creation so Hun Yuan literally implies trying to take yourself, your Mind, your Energy Body to a state before Yin and Yang divided when there is still just rotational potential for something – which is why often they’ll shorten all of that and say Primordial Qigong for example.
Most people will know Hun Yuan Qigong through a gentleman who died recently named Feng Zhi Qiang who was the founder of Hun Yuan Taiji, a variant of Chen style boxing. Feng also taught Hun Yuan Qigong which, prior to being part of a Taijiquan system, had alchemical Daoist origins.
Hunyuan Qi Gong is quite interesting as it uses very different principles form the commonly practices medical Qigong which dominates the Qigong world today. Sometimes you will see people try to equate Hun Yuan Qigong with Medical Qigong and try to say that the movements, say, lower the Liver Qi or nourish the Spleen or strengthen the Lungs etc. but actually it doesn’t work in that way. It follows a completely different theory from TCM, it’s far older in origin.
When you learn Hun Yuan Qigong it is divided into three stages.
Stages of Hun Yuan Training Development
The first stage of Hun Yuan Qigong is based around relaxation, Fansung Gongthe skill of letting go and clearing things out of the Energy Body; letting the body become soft.
The second stage is to start to add in the rotations, the mixed circles. Hun Yuan becomes very difficult at this stage because you can’t standardise it, you can’t go ‘this elbow has to be here’ or ‘this knee has to be here’ because it will vary depending upon how long you’ve practiced it and whether you have reached the stage of adding rotations or not. Sometimes your movements will be quite small and sometimes they might be quite large – it’s a very individual style. For that reason, in some ways, it is quite tricky to teach. It has to be done purely internally and it will evolve with time.
The third stage is what they call Hun Yuan because Hun Yuan isn’t really the name of the exercise; Hun Yuan is a state that the exercises are trying to take you to, to help you to get to Hun Yuan. This stage is the stage where those circles start to recombine inside the body and start to connect with each other – they link together. Gradually those circles start to become smaller and they start to take place purely inside the energy body so you go full circle back to hardly moving your body at all. This is Hun Yuan.
Hun Yuan is important because of Yin and Yang. If you take any Chinese Medical belief back to it’s roots, it is only discussing Yin and Yang. Anything else is just trimming.
Let us try and understand this: A Chinese medicine practitioner of the TCM style may, for example, tell you that your Kidneys are weak and so this is causing your body to become imbalanced and your Qi to flow poorly etc. If they think on this level then they would probably treat the organ itself and possibly the meridian pathway which has been affected. This is only one level though, a more skilled therapist would actually go deeper than this and treat Yin and Yang themselves at the deepest part of your core. One of the greatest skills in Chinese medicine diagnosis is being able to strip away layer after layer to take every condition back to its core. This is the beauty of simplicity in Chinese medicine. Sadly this is a concept which I see too often forgotten in contemporary Chinese medicine practice.
Hun Yuan Qigong tries to do the same; it tries to by-pass the surface level of imbalance and go straight down to Yin and Yang to try to rectify those two so any change in your health becomes a by-product of that process.
Yin/Yang and Rotations
Yin and Yang inside the body combine with each other via rotational movements. This is how they interact with each other. The symbol for this is obviously the intermingling shapes of the Taiji image.
The key rotations that take place inside the body move within the Qi Jing Ba Mai, the Eight Extraordinary Meridians or the Congenital Meridians. These rotations dictate the balance of these two poles. The most obvious ones people would be familiar with are the Du and the Ren meridian – the meridian up the back that governs our Yang the meridian which passes down the front of the body which governs everything pertaining to Yin. If these two channels are in harmony with each other, then the two great poles of Yin & Yang are harmonised and then of course inside we have other rotations that we can work with as well. These rotations take place within the rest of the congenital meridian pathways which I have discussed elsewhere in detail so I wont recap here.
Hun Yuan is not the name of the Qigong system but rather an indicator of the state that it is trying to take you to. This is the stage of moving past correct alignments, breath control and relaxation to the state of opening up various energetic loops inside the meridian system. This is a principle heavily emphasised within this particular set of exercises but should also be applied to other internal arts as well.