Qigong Master Teaches in Soquel

Qigong . Natural Healing . Rejuvenation . Special Abilities . Enlightenment
Qigong Chinese

Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel, September 12, 2000

Qigong Master Teaches in Soquel

Sigrid McLaughlin

When I first heard of an extraordinary Qigong Master recently arrived from China, I had been doing Qigong for almost three years at Land of Medicine Buddha in Santa Cruz. Qigong means literally life energy (qi or chi; the Indian prana or Japanese ki) work or the benefits from persistent practice (gong or kung). If you are healthy, the qi is plentiful and clear, and flows smoothly like a calm stream. It is an energy that permeates everything, including animals and plants, mountains and oceans, our earth (Gaia) and the universe. For the individual human being qigong means working with life energy to prevent its pollution, stagnation, and blockages, and to balance yang and yin aspects of this energy. Yang means the more male, positive, forceful, sun-like qualities, yin the more female, negative, soft, cooling, moon-like qualities.

The result of practicing qigong is an improvement in the harmony and health of our body and mind/spirit. Qigong uses healing postures, movements, breathing techniques and meditation to reach the goal of self-healing. The Qigong exercises are practiced daily, from twenty to forty minutes, and there are Qigong techniques for every age and physical condition, done standing, seated, or lying down. Qigong empowers the practitioner to rely on himself and be responsible for his own health.

Qigong is as ancient as the beginnings of Chinese culture, probably going back to the animal dances of ancient Chinese shamans in the second and first millennium before Christ. Later Taoist and Buddhist philosophy influenced the meditative practices of Qigong, because both spirit and body need to be cultivated equally - an equivalent of our "sound mind in a sound body."

Qigong Master Qinyin came to the United States with an invitation to present her qigong system at the Second World Congress of Qigong in San Francisco in 1997. Her success there gave her the honor of "Distinguished Faculty" and "an alien with extraordinary ability" (Immigration Service) which entitled her to stay in the United States. Prior to this, she had been elected to be one of the elite members of the Chinese Qigong society (an honor which 1000 people achieve of the more than a billion Chinese), hailed as "little heavenly Qigong master" by the former chairman of the Chinese Qigong Research Association, Mr. Zhenhuan Zhang. Since then she achieved various honors and awards in the United States. When I learned of her existence and her new Qigong system of practices that resulted in astounding healings in China, I decided to do her training.

My first surprise was that this Qigong master is a young and beautiful woman brimming with energy, not the white-haired, wrinkled old woman I had expected. The Qigong exercises were easy for me (I am sixty years old) except one; and the results were astounding. I have kept doing these Qigong practices almost daily, and will continue, as I notice their beneficial influence on my mind and body. I decided that it would be of great benefit to everyone in the United States to learn her techniques. She agreed to this interview to share more about herself and her Qigong system.

McLaughlin: How did you get involved with Qigong in China?

Qinyin: I was born a sickly child in Hang Zhou, in southern China. To help me survive, my maternal grandmother, a pious Buddhist, taught me to sit with her in meditation when I was three. Of my family I was the only one who could easily quiet down and sit in full lotus position. I kept practicing. Years later, in my early teens, I discovered by chance that I could dispel clouds and make the sun come out if I could free myself entirely of random thoughts and call sincerely in the direction of the sun. That was a key experience. It proved to me that human beings and the universe were connected, that the universal energy responded to contact. I had many questions that no textbook could answer. I became interested in Buddhist and Taoist philosophy

When I was still in high school I went to one of the four most famous Buddhist Temples in China, to NanHai Pu Tuo. This is where Quanyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion became enlightened. There, I was lucky to be instructed many secret practices by Abbess Huikong herself. Her teachings and those of other grand masters later convinced me that man and the universe are united, are one and the same, and I realized that this had epochal meaning for the well-being of everyone on this planet.

I studied philosophy, graduated, started teaching. But the Chinese Qigong Research Society and the Somatic Science Association invited me to give presentations and Qigong workshops. They became very successful, and a lot of healings happened. So finally I said good-bye to my academic career and founded a small Qigong College - the Modern Purple Bamboo College, which I promoted on a national scale.

McLaughlin: I understand that you developed your own Qigong system. Why? And how does it differ from traditional Qigong systems?

Qinyin: My teaching made me realize that traditional Qigong at times was too complicated, or obscure, and practice took a long time before health benefits became apparent. I also realized that people nowadays are more stressed than ever, and have less time. I wanted to design the most efficient quickest way for healing. So I closed my college for a while and searched for legendary Qigong masters residing in the countryside, and difficult to find. I managed, after much hardship, to be instructed by some extraordinary hermits, and I explored and experimented on myself. I discovered that health benefits could be achieved quickly if qi could be used for getting rid of toxins. So I combined qi infusion with detoxification in an energized fasting of varied length for different people, and the results were astounding. I also streamlined traditional qigong practices into a set of simple clear and more powerful Qigong exercises. These innovations in theory and practice I offer under Qin Way to Health and Rejuvenation (Qinway Qigong) in an energized fasting workshop and subsequent more advanced workshops that build on the completion of this first one and ultimately teach the trainee to become a healer. In the workshop participants learn to open up their acupuncture points and energy channels and connect with universal energy almost immediately. The attendants were able to fill themselves with qi—instead of food--, expel toxins, and miraculously heal hypertension, diabetes, overweight, arthritis, skin diseases, insomnia, migraine, and other chronic ailments.

McLaughlin: How would you say does Qigong differ from other practices such as Taiji, Yoga, or Zen Meditation?

Qinyin: Taiji shares with Qigong that it also aims at the maintenance of health and at healing, but Taiji includes the study of self-defense, of developing martial arts power, which Qigong does not. Both coordinate breath and movements, and fine-tune awareness of the different kinds of breathing and the states of consciousness breathing awakens. Again, there are lots of parallels between Qigong and Yoga which originated in India. Yoga is also about accumulating prana, life energy, through breath control exercises and physical postures. It also has a Yin-Yang theory of balancing solar and lunar currents of life energy, and it is probably older than qigong and may have influenced its development. Movements in Qigong tend to be circular and slow; and holding stances are less frequent than in Yoga postures. In Qigong, often long sequences of movements are taught, but not in my system. Zen meditation tries to achieve the point of inner stillness and balance through meditation alone, and considers this the precondition for health and healing.

Anyway, there are many different versions of Qigong. A major characteristic of Qinway Qigong is that it opens the energy channels between the human being and the universe in a short time and accumulates energy quickly.

McLaughlin: What do you mean by detoxification?

Qinyin: It operates on the physical and mental level. You get rid of toxins and metabolic wastes in your physical body. And, just as important, you let go of incorrect or harmful information, and you aim at being spiritually pure, that is you aim at cultivating positive emotions: equanimity, kindness, compassion, patience, love, happiness, for example, and you want to repent and avoid such negative feelings as anger, hatred, jealousy, envy, impatience, greed, self-righteousness etc. which are the toxins of your mind or soul and undermine your health. In other words, the goal is to find the balance point between yin and yang, a place of stillness in the midst of movement. (like Thoreau's witness self, I think to myself)

McLaughlin: Given that we are overstressed and eager to get quick results with as little effort as possible, is there something you recommend that will have an immediate positive effect on our health?

Qinyin: Yes, the best is really my energized fasting Qigong retreat. I give them regularly at Qinway Qigong Center in Oceanside, CA. I connect people with universal energy; give them two Qigong CDs with exercise directions and music, energized for them; and twice daily I send them energy, they drink energized tea and water etc.

McLaughlin: how long do people do Qigong fast and how do they feel?

Qinyin: The longest Qigong fast was over forty days (so far by 2002), and a rare skin disease disappeared and the person lost pounds permanently. People feel differently, depending on what kind and how many toxins they have in their bodies. It is common to feel cold, or hot, tired, weak, you may perspire and urinate more; you probably will discharge tarry stool, you might smell badly, get a rash, maybe vomit. And a lot of people feel very few symptoms. They are usually not hungry. The minimum Qigong fast is three days, and the average people fast a week to eleven days.  

McLaughlin: Where do you think Qigong will take me as I go deeper into its practice?

Qinyin: That's hard to predict. Deeper Qigong practice means that you will probably eat less, feel more energized and lighter, you will probably shift your diet and eat fewer acidifying foods, such as meats and grains, and more alkalizing foods such as vegetables and fruits. You will become more sensitive and gentle, feel more loving and kind toward yourself and others, more emotionally balanced and joyful. You might sense the energy in other people, in foods, in pictures, in things and beings around you. That is, you will stay in a qi-field most of the time. You are not likely to get ill a lot. You might communicate with universal energy, and have it support your wishes.

McLaughlin (jokingly): Do you think I'll be able to bend a steel spoon as you did with such ease a while ago?

Qinyin (laughing): Who knows, you might! It means that you have to practice much more Qigong, accumulate a tremendous amount of qi inside and then be able to direct it at will.

McLaughlin: what are your plans for the future here in the United States?

Qinyin: I would like to have an Qigong institute for teaching my Qigong, for training other teachers, and also for healing people who can't get help anywhere else. I am very eager to share my knowledge and benefit others with it.

The interview was done in part orally, and partly in writing, both with the help of a translator. I have taken the liberty of streamlining the English.

Last update 08/19/07.


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