導引 和 氣功 Daoyin & Qigong
Daoyin (導引) and Qigong (氣功) are both part of the internal arts of China. They include a large variety of exercises from varying traditions. Although they are similar, they have slightly different emphasis.
Daoyin literally means guiding and leading. It appears much earlier in Chinese history than Qigong. The Mawangdui tomb contained a scroll of detailed Daoyin exercises believe to be dated back to 168 BC. Daoyin exercises generally emphasize clearing and stretching the tissue channels to open and invigorate the body. The mind is directed to the extremities and even a distance outside the body. Breathing also tends to be slightly more vigorous than Qigong. Daoyin exercises are often more complex with precise body mechanics to open and stretch. As such, it is more demanding and strenuous than Qigong. Daoyin’s intention is to cleanse impurities, move out stagnation, and align the tissues.
Qigong appears later in Chinese history. It is largely influenced by Daoist thought and its understanding of transformation reflected in external and internal alchemy. More emphasis is placed on nourishing and regulating the body. It works with the channels of the body that are consistent with Chinese medical theory. The mind is used to focus inside the body. It is a quieter, softer practice. Natural, abdominal breathing to regulate the breath is most commonly used. Movements are often simple, soft, repetitive and rhythmic in nature. Qigong’s effects are calming and cultivate a quiet mind.
In a sense, Daoyin is more yang in relation to Qigong’s more yin qualities. Both are employed to raise health and set the stage for deeper work.