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location: Frist page History & Culture Origin of Qigong
Origin of Qigong
  When the beginning of qigong practice in China was is not yet found, but there are some evidences show that qigong practice has possibly started from as early as the time before history.
  Same as many other studies, qigong is derived from the daily life experiences and practices of humankind. According to ancient books such as The Era of Lü (Lü Shì Chūn Qīu, 吕氏春秋), there were frequent flood in the age of emperor Yao, and people lived in a damp and somberly cold environment, many were suffered from swollen limbs and joint diseases caused by congealing and stagnation. People “created dances to disperse and remove it[1] (故作舞以宣导之)”, they used the movement of “dance” to promote the circulation of qi and blood, to stretch the sinews and exercise the bones and joints, for the purpose of promoting health and preventing disease. The “dance” here is indeed the beginning of dao yin, which is a part of qigong.
  On a painted pottery jar from the Majiayao Culture period, which was excavated in Qinghai in 1975, there is a color-painted relief human figure. The figure has eyes slightly closed, mouth shaped in circle and pouted, abdomen protruded, hands opened and laid beside the abdomen, knees bent slightly, and it stands with feet in parallel and part at a distance a little bit wider than the shoulder . This jar was proved to have over 5000 years of history, and the figure on it in fact shows a posture of how the ancient people practice a breathing exercise. With both male and female in the same body, it also reflects the philosophy of the primitive qigong theory - the unity of yin and yang.
  On another pottery basin from the New Stone Age, which was also excavated in Qinghai, there is a color-painted scene of three fifteen people group dancing, this is another evidence for the history of qigong and the origin of some qigong movements.
  To observe and imitate selectively from the nature is the simplest and most direct method the ancients used for understanding the nature, it is also the source of theories such as the harmony with nature, the relativity of dynamic and static, the growth and decline of yin and yang, the generation and restriction of the five elements. By observing the changes in the nature, the sun, moon and star, the movement of wind and cloud, the motion of birds, beasts, fishes, insects and other organisms, by imitating everything in the nature, and by continue observation and summary and repeated test and verification, the ancients developed a great variety of qigong forms and routines for the purpose of promoting health.

[1] The “it” here refers to stagnation and congealing.
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