qìgōng (氣功)

literally means “qì (氣) achievement or skill.” It is the name for a wide variety of personal cultivation exercises. Qìgōng (功) exercises, like their precursor dǎoyǐn (導引), are based on bringing together physical movements of one’s body, movements of one’s breath, and the watchful (non-judgmental) attention of one’s awareness. Such exercises are especially valued in Daoist cultivation traditions, because they work by bringing together the ‘three treasures’ of each individual:

  • jīng (精) represented by the movements of one’s physical body
  • qì (氣) represented by the movements of one’s breath
  • shén (神) represented by the attention of one’s awareness
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