Qigong Mistakes

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

Published in The Empty Vessel, Spring 2002

Qigong Mistakes

Master Qinyin

Thanks to the efforts of many practitioners and enthusiasts, Qigong, the ancient Chinese healing art, has become more and more popular in America. The practice of Qigong is profound, and varieties of Qigong are numerous. As a result, beginning students often have a hard time finding a correct path of training and make mistakes in practice that I have noticed during the past decade of teaching Qigong.


The Chinese word "Qi" has different meanings. Under the context of Qigong, it means "energy" or "vital force". However, its most common meaning in day-to-day Chinese is "breath" or "gas". This has caused confusion and led many people to interpret Qigong as "breathing exercises" instead of "energy exercises". Excessive emphasis on breathing in some approaches has made Qigong more complicated, less effective, and in some cases, has caused side effects.

Consciousness or Visualization

A well-known principle in Chinese Medicine maintains that "consciousness leads the Qi". Hence, consciousness or visualization is often utilized in Qigong practice. Yet it can be easily overdone. To enter a deep Qigong state, one needs to be relaxed, calm, empty and detached. However, the frequent use of heavy consciousness works the other way - it makes one attached to the consciousness itself. Our human spiritual system is very sensitive. Repeated thinking would only make it tired and bored, and may even cause side effects or deviations in practice. Consciousness or visualization are just the means toward a higher goal: emptiness. There is a subtle balance in using consciousness and visualization. In general, slight visualization is better.

Qi Structure

Every Qigong practitioner wants to have more Qi in his or her body. But where shall one put the Qi? Does the structure or distribution of Qi matter? When one gets fever, one feels heavy headed and light footed. This is an uncomfortable and sickly state. Similarly, a good Qi structure would require having more Qi concentrated at the bottom of the body and less Qi on top. I often refer this optimal energy structure as the "Pyramid Structure". I've seen some approaches focusing on the Middle Dantian or even Upper Dantian as the starting point. This is inconsistent with the Pyramid Structure, especially for beginning students. They need to build a solid foundation and make their energy grounded first. Most fundamentally, whether one can build a good structure of Qi depends on the purity of his or her Qi (see a related point on detoxification below). Unclean Qi has the tendency to create a poor shape.


Since the introduction of Yoga into the West a few decades ago, meditation has become a household word and is practiced widely. However, since I came to America in 1997, many Americans have consulted me about their problems with meditation. Meditation is an advanced technique that should be practiced with care and proper direction. I have many high level masters who spent most of their lives in temples practicing, but still they told me that meditation was hard. Improper practice can lead to various problems generally called "meditation disease", which unfortunately can not be healed in hospitals. First of all, meditation should not be the only practice one does. Meditation acquires mostly Yin energy, which may cause Yin-Yang imbalance if it is not practiced in conjunction with other movements. Meditation works more on the mind/spirit and less on the body. Since mind/spirit is mostly in the head, meditation alone is against the pyramid structure principle, especially for beginning Qigong students. The neglect of the physical body means that meditation itself is not a complete healing system. Many people who have practiced meditation for a long time were not able to solve their basic health problems. With toxins and blockages still in their bodies, the extent of spiritual connection is also limited. Deities don't want to come close to anyone with too much toxins!


Besides the amount of Qi and its proper distribution in the body, the purity of Qi is also a crucial, yet often neglected aspect. The reason is simple. If you have a lot of energy in your body, but can not use it to remove toxins efficiently, then they will continue to coexist and the healing process can not happen quickly or completely. Therefore, a good Qigong healing system should include powerful methods of detoxification. Simultaneous energy infusion and detoxification often achieves better results in a shorter period of time. In my Qinway Qigong system, I use six major ways of detoxification to accelerate the healing process. They are spiritual, physical, informational, bigu (energized fasting), gasifying and supernatural detoxification.

Individual Instructions

The grand old tradition of Qigong instruction was mostly on an individual basis, i.e. one master would only teach one or a few disciples in his or her lifetime. In this way, a Qigong master was able to watch over his or her students and give timely personal directions. The relationship between a Qigong master and a disciple was a long term, sometimes lifelong, commitment. Modern Qigong masters broke this tradition to bring Qigong to the public. On one hand, more people can now benefit from Qigong; on the other hand, individual instructions are greatly diminished. Often after a beginning student attended a workshop from a Qigong master with dozens or even hundreds of other students, he or she was left to practice alone. Because of the subtlety of training and the different physical and spiritual signals of each individual, experiences can vary widely from person to person, and also from time to time for the same person. Practitioners are often at a loss about what is going on in their bodies, and what the next step to take. Therefore, at my Qinway Qigong Institute in Oceanside, California, I always try to keep the size of classes small to maximize individual directions, especially at the Fundamental Healing Retreat.

My sincere wish is that will benefit more people in years to come, and all practitioners improve their energy and virtue levels.

Last updated 08/19/07.


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