There are two main components of Qigong training practice: Nei Dan or Inner Alchemy and Wai Dan or physical practice. The ability to merge these components is in some way a form of art. In China, Inner Alchemy was a sacred knowledge and only hardworking and trusted students were given an honor to receive this knowledge. This was done for the good reason. If beginner students start merging Nei Dan and Wai Dan practices too soon, it can result in negative consequences and may impact their entire practice. That is why it is very important to find a professional teacher at the early stage of your Qigong journey, who will guide you and help you to gradually follow all the required steps until you can unite Inner Alchemy and physical practice for the highest benefit of your Qigong training. One of the Qigong gurus once said: “The beginning student who practices Qigong the wrong way is like cutting with a butter knife. The student who has developed a lot of Qi and practices the wrong way is like cutting with a chain saw”.
Wai Dan and Nei Dan
Wai Dan or physical Qigong practice incorporates all the movements and forms a practitioner performs to generate Qi energy in organs and channels. Nei Dan or Inner Alchemy, on the other hand, is an internal work of Qigong practitioner. It mainly aims to promote the circulation of generated Qi throughout the body and use this Qi for healing purposes. Nei Dan practice is much more challenging than Wai Dan practice and can be much more intensive. That is why it should not be merged with physical practice unless the practitioner has a good base in Wai Dan.
Merging Inner Alchemy with Physical Practice
At the initial stage, Inner Alchemy should be learned and practiced separately from the Wai Dan practice. There will be a little value in incorporating Nei Dan knowledge into physical practice until a practitioner learns how to open the meridians and relax the organs. In your physical practice, you should achieve the level when you can do all the forms and movements without thinking too much about every little detail. Before integrating Nei Dan with Wai Dan practice, you should also have a deep understanding of what Inner Alchemy is all about. Once you learn Inner Alchemy at a deep level and master physical practice, you can start merging them step by step (first, adjust the breath, then, add the mind adjustment).
Building your Qigong training practice according to this fundamental concept will help you to achieve desired results much faster and will allow to have significantly more powerful Qigong practice.