The Primordial Qigong form is one of the oldest Qigong practices known to man. It is believed to have been developed by Zhang San Feng, the creator of Taiji. I have been practicing this form for over four years now. It is one of the most powerful practices I know of and has been immensely beneficial to me. I learned it through my Taji school, the founders of which are associated with Michael Winn, likely this form’s biggest proponent. The Primordial is an inner elixir form. In other words it is an “Inner Alchemy” practice. Inner Alchemy is an advanced practice concerned with a spiritual medicine known as the golden elixir. The primordial Qigong is purported to act to reverse time in the practitioner, leading to a reversal in the aging process and a long life. Rather than leave the reader with the impression of mystical mystery I will here quote Roger Jahnke a Doctor of Oriental Medicine from his book The Healing Promise of Qi1:
“This alchemical fire [the Qigong process] burns away the illusions of our conditioned life, self-sabotaging habits, and compulsions to reveal what the ancient life scientists called true reality (Quan Zhen) and the true person (Zhen Ren). At this point, in the highest levels of Qigong, pure spirit is revealed and the practitioner is considered an immortal or a fully realized being. In chemistry, in the purification of gold, fire is used to burn off all impurities. In Inner Alchemy, all of the complexities and conditioned factors of the self are refined in the fire of personal cultivation to reveal the pure gold of the essential nature.” Pp. 80
Jahnke describes the Primordial Qigong as a form of Wuji Qigong. Wuji is the mother of Taiji. Wuji can be translated as the void or abyss, or as no extreme, as opposed to Taiji, which is grand extreme. So in Wuji there is no Yin and Yang, no differentiation, just the void, all that there is but at the same time no thing. Hence Wuji is in essence spiritual. In the particular lineage of Chen style Taiji that I practice Wuji practice is fundamental, and primarily experienced through Zan Zhuang, standing meditation, and Da Zuo, sitting meditation. Additionally, I Liq Chuan, my other primary martial art, premised on Taji and Buddhist principles, places prime importance on Zan Zhuang, and is itself considered a moving meditation. So, while the Primordial Qigong is not formally a part of either of these two systems, it is complimentary and an appropriate addition to either or both systems.
As noted above this is a powerful practice. But it is much more than a physical exercise designed to stretch and strengthen muscles and ligaments. This is a spiritual practice and by extension a medical practice as well. But don’t take my word for it, try it. I recommend Jahnke’s book to anyone interested in a deeper understanding of Qigong, and Michael Winn’s approach to the Primordial form specifically. The only things you have to lose are time and possibly ill health and aging. You may gain more than you imagine.
1: The Healing Promise of Qi: Creating Extraordinary Wellness Through Qigong and Tai Chi. 2002. Roger Jahnke. Contemporary Books.