Firegoat, have you studied Kundalini Yoga as well? I’ve considered taking it for a while now, but then feel like trying to master qigong is already plenty on my plate. Do you feel it is the same energy they are working with or are there differences? Why does Kundalini Yoga only seem to raise and not lower the energy? My guess is that sinking to the dantian has martial applications, which is not Kundalini’s primary goal…? I’m very interested in the relationship between Qigong and Yoga, but have only really had time for Qigong so far (also, I think it’s very hard to find a qualified Yoga instructor who focuses on the energy, rather than the postures).
Osu, my mother introduced me to Hatha Yoga when I was very young; she has practiced it for over 40 years now, though she has never studied it to a high level; it’s just part of her life. She and I are both ‘bookworms’ rather than TV watchers, so have a rather substantial library of yoga info covering Hatha, Kriya, Karma, Rajah, Mantra, Gnani, Bhakti, Jnana and probably other branches of Yoga. I really have only ever skimmed through a few of them for interest and to see how it compares to Taoist philosophy.
A couple of my martial arts teachers have studied Yoga in much greater depth and often compare certain Yoga techniques with Taoist and Buddhist techniques from China. I also have had students who have done a lot of Yoga and are interested in the ‘cross-over’ between practices.
I have a lifetimes worth of work ahead of me just practicing Qi Gong and martial arts, so will probably never study Yoga in great depth. I love the path I have chosen. As a teacher of Tai Ji Quan I really shouldn’t say this, but for most people with limited time I think from a health point of view they would benefit more from Hatha Yoga than from Tai Ji.
Yoga’s Pranayama exercises have the same energy development aims as Qi Gong. For the reason Qi Gong works mainly with the lower dantian (in it’s first few years) I will quote from the book I recommended, as Bruce puts it better than I would! :
From B.K. Frantzis ‘Opening the energy gates of your body’:
This (the lower dantian) is the first main focus of all Chi Gung and Taoist alchemical practices. Taoist practices all begin from the premise that physical health is the foundation upon which spiritual development is built, and it is in the Lower Dantian that all the energy that affects the physical body is processed, purified, and generated. This energy can later be connected to the middle and upper dantians for purposes of emotional and spiritual growth.
Eventually, many of the health problems caused by the premature development of the higher psychic centers can be alleviated through practices that involve the lower dantian. For this reason most of the energy and meditation practices of Japan, China and Korea, ranging from Zen, to Chi Gung, and to the martial arts, pay particular attention to the lower dantian.
Development of the energy of one dantian does not necessarily lead to development of the others. We have all met people who are physically healthy and emotional/psychic/spiritual wrecks. It is also common for people who are advanced on the emotional/psychic/spiritual planes to have incredible health problems. This is often because the energy of the higher centers is creating more pressure than the body can handle. B.K. Frantzis
Hopefully this answers your question. Yoga’s chakras and Qi Gong’s dantians have a general correspondence. Qi Gong always ensures the lower DT is developed first. Traditionally in India, Pranayama (energy development) students would always have a Guru to study under on a frequent (often daily) basis, so the guru would decide which chakra a person needed to work on, and he was at hand to monitor any problems.