Archive for August, 2011


Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Days after the big storm, we’re still without power, phone service, internet, and running water.  Still I feel grateful that the damages in our area were not more severe.

Qigong Masters in ancient times contemplated natural phenomena like hurricanes and drew inspiration for their practice.  I imagine they surveyed the damage after a big storm like Irene and noticed certain trees survived and others did not.  They may have noted that some survivors were willow trees that would bend but not break.  Others were thick, old and able to withstand gale force winds thanks to their deep roots.

So in keeping with the tao of nature, Qigong teaches us to maintain flexibility as well as a deep connection to the earth.  Incorporating these principles into our practice should help insure a longer, healthier life.


Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Just back from the National Qigong Association Annual Conference, which I’ve decided to call “Qigong Central.”  I feel inspired and energized from playing Qigong with some of the world’s best teachers.

One of my favorites was Chungliang Al Huang.  In his electrifying presentation, he said that he never does the same Tai Chi (or Qigong) twice.  So each day, he varies his routine and forms so his practice stays fresh and alive.  Another presenter, William Ting, emphasized the importance of focusing on the details of Qigong forms, such as keeping your shoulders level when moving right or left.  Also presenting was Daisy Lee, who taught me “Lotus Rises from the Water,” which may turn out to be my favorite form!

By the end of the 3 day event, my head was spinning but my body, mind and soul felt charged up with chi.  During the coming weeks I’ll be channeling some of that chi and sharing fresh ideas with folks in my classes.


Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

The Three Intentful Corrections – correct alignment, breath and mind – can be applied to everyday life as well as Qigong practice.  You have probably noticed that taking some deep breaths when stressed makes you feel more relaxed.  Likewise, straightening the posture – especially after sitting or slouching for a long time – can relieve stiffness and fatigue.

Applying mindfulness, the third intentful correction, is a powerful way to get better results from your Qigong and improve everyday life.   When we do Qigong mindfully, we stay focused on the present moment and allow any thoughts that come up to pass through our minds like clouds drifting across the sky.  Mindfulness induces a deep sense of calm and opens the gates to feeling chi.

Without mindfulness, Qigong would be, well,  just another form of exercise.

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Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

The “Three Intentful Corrections,” mentioned in my last post, are an essential starting point for every Qigong practice session.

We align ourselves with the forces of heaven and earth, take some deep abdominal breaths and stay present with whatever arises in the present moment.

Proper alignment means having spine erect but relaxed, knees slightly bent, head centered, and shoulders straight but relaxed. The theory is that energy flows more smoothly in a straight line, so the better your posture, the more efficient your chi flow.

Good posture may not be a cure all, but it does help correct bad habits that often lead to chronic aches, pains and fatigue.


Thursday, August 4th, 2011

There are thousands of forms of Qigong and Tai Chi, but just a few core principles that are common to all.  The most basic are what my main teacher, Roger Jahnke,  calls the “Three Intentful Corrections.” They are: allignment, mind/consciousness, and breath.

The first one I want to talk about is breath.  Just taking a few deep abdominal breaths is almost guaranteed to make you feel more relaxed and able to focus, calmly, on the present moment.  Too often in our daily lives we tend to breathe in a shallow way.  This deprives the body of the fuel it needs for cell repair, and increases the mental and physical effects of stress.

Taking a few deep, full breaths periodically throughout the day can produce significant health benefits and enhance your overall feeling of well being — even if you don’t have a regular Qigong practice.