Trying to describe the vast number of Qigong forms here could keep us here for a good, long while. There are said to be around 35,000 different forms of Qigong.
Even though there are many different forms of Qigong they all essentially use the same principle. The goal is to remove tension from the body and increase the energy flow.
If we focus on calming the mind then we can open the qi channels (or meridians) and direct our energy (qi) along these pathways. In essence you are directing oxygen, blood and new energy to increase the circulation and remove stagnation. This will ward off disease.
Qigong can be performed: standing, sitting, still, moving and lying down. In the still forms: seated still, lying down or standing still you begin with meditation and then possibly just use your mind and breath to channel the energy or you can place your hands in various postures to activate energy flow to that particular part of the body.
In seated moving or standing moving qigong you use the pumping or expanding and contracting of form with breath to activate and strengthen the energy. You can create a connection to your energy and then begin to move it internally or externally over the body.
Another way to differentiate Qigong is by the different types: Taoist, Confucian, Buddhist, martial and medical. The first history of Qigong exercises were recorded by Lao Tzu (premier Daoist philosopher) on pieces of silk dating back to the third and fourth centuries B.C.
The Chinese practiced Qigong to enhance their martial arts practice. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) utilizes the same pathways so when you practice a Qigong form you increase your vitality.
There are many schools of Qigong that strive for the same goal but through a very specific form and structure: Shaolin, Taiji ( Tai Chi), Jin Gong, Flying Crane, Shaolin Damo , Wu Qin Xi, Ba Duan Jin and Yi Jin Jing are just a few.