The difference between ‘Qigong’ and ‘Neigong’
‘Qi’ (or ‘Chi’) is the Chinese word for ‘energy’ or ‘life force’. It is what differentiates a living body from a dead one. The modern term ‘qigong’, meaning ‘energy work,’ is used to cover all forms of Oriental energy exercise, however there are actually two distinct forms of such exercise:
Qigong – which starts outside the body and works inwards.
Neigong – which starts inside the body and works outwards.
Although Qigong (pronounced ‘chee-gong’) is an old term, it has only come into general use over the last fifty years or so, and with a different meaning to the original one. In that time, it has come to be used as the general designation for all energy practices. However, when used as a technical term (as it is on this web site) it refers to those exercises which affect the energy meridians on the surface of the body and through these affect the energy deep inside the body. Qigong uses the breath to move the qi, and activates only one or two energy lines at a time.
Neigong (pronounced ‘nay-gong’), meaning ‘internal work’, is an ancient term (over three thousand years old) for those practices that are the original source of all exercises that are today covered by the general term qigong. It focuses on the deepest energy channels, which then open and strengthen all the meridians of the body. In neigong the qi is moved directly by the mind and many energy channels are activated simultaneously. In total there are 16 components of neigong.
Strictly speaking, everything we teach is neigong, with the exception of Dragon & Tiger which is a meridian qigong system.
The best place to start is with Fundamentals (Energy Gates Neigong), it is the foundation of everything else we teach. It is possible to join a Fundamentals clas at any time, unlike Dragon and Tiger, which needs to be joined within the first month of the course.
Both qigong and neigong work differently to Western forms of exercise.