The History of Qi Gong Exercise


Qi Gong is a term that describes a practice that has martial, spiritual, and physical

benefits. The term itself does not mean one particular qi gong exercise, but rather a

term that was created by the Chinese government. In contrast, there are over 1,500

exercises (1) that the term encompasses.

Qi Gong was described in the earliest text as Tuna, Dao Yin, or simple breathing

exercises. With origins from China’s common folk, the qi gong exercise would evolve

into a practice that can effectively improve a person’s body, mind, and spirit.

Humble Origins From Slow-Paced Farmers

As with many ancient Asian health practices, qi gong exercise had humble origins

and didn’t originally come from royalty. The slow-paced farmers became heavily

influenced by their surroundings – a practice that would welcome Buddhist


The farmers become intrinsic observers of nature; gaining insight from the strength

and wisdom of mother nature herself. The life of plants and animals seemed to

effortlessly emanate from nature. Where survival was always a struggle for ancient

man, nature revealed a better solution.

The earliest known (2) movements that resembled qi gong exercises were animal

dances. The strange movements may have been invented to help counteract the

cold and wet climate of China. Evidence of these ancient movements have been

found in rock art throughout China.

Influences From The Book of Change (I Ching)

The introduction of The Book of Change would end up changing the world of qi gong forever. According to ancient Chinese spirituality, Tai Chi (the modern term for “Tai Ji Quan”) is the source of all things. Its precepts that everything works within the

balance of Yin and Yang would work its way into the qi gong practices of the day.

When ancient Chinese qi gong practitioners were introduced to tai chi, it became the new guiding force for their qi gong exercises. The study of the relationship between heaven, earth, and man became a major part of the early development of qi gong.


Many of the world’s most beneficial health practices have very humble origins. What

was once a set of simple movements that was inspired by mother nature is now a

pillar for an abundance of health for millions of people around the globe.


1. History of Qi Gong — Taoist Sanctuary of San Diego. Taoist Sanctuary of San Diego. Accessed

July 12, 2022.,exercise


2. History of Qigong – Holden QiGong Accessed

2022 07, 2022


Photo Credit: Big Stock


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