Tai Chi, Qiqong and TAO Yoga Movement Class Descriptions

What is Qi?

Many ancient cultures have had a concept of energy which goes by different names, (Ki, prana, pnema, etc.).  In the Taoist tradition it is known as Qi. Qi is life force in the most simplistic terms.  This is the energy that creates, sustains and protects our physical body, consciousness and spirit.

What is Qigong

Qigong means “energy work”.  It is the practice of learning to control your life force using your breath, mind and movement.  These practices have an internal and external aspect.  The practices I teach are mainly from the internal school, known as “Nei Gung”.  This system has been developing over several thousand years and has proven itself to be beneficial for chronic health issues, traumas, poor circulation, back problems and to help alleviate enormous stress and anxiety.

It is a complete system of personal development which encompasses three levels.  In the beginning stages, the emphasis is on the body and the energy that moves through the body.  As one progresses, the perspective of Qi as information is added on.  Qi contains data and knowledge in the form of functional energetic blueprints that link all the body’s systems.

Many ancient cultures have had a concept of energy which goes by different names, (Ki, prana, pnema, etc.).  In the Taoist tradition it is known as Qi. Qi is life force and is a combination of consciousness, information and energy.  This is the energy that creates, sustains and protects our physical body, consciousness and spirit.

Opening the Energy Gates Qigong

Level I

Standing Meditation and Body Alignment – 
Develops the use of your mind to release pain and tension from the body

Two swings –
The first swing opens the qi of the “lower burner” (legs, hips, pelvis, intestinal, urinary and reproductive systems)
The second swing energizes the “middle burner” (spleen, liver, stomach)

Cloud Hands –
Incorporates all the basic body alignments necessary for maximum energy flow

Level 2

Third Swing – 
Energizes the “upper burner” of the body (lungs, heart, brain) which enables you to instantaneously relax your entire body.

Spinal Stretch –
Completely relaxes the muscels of the back, neck and shoulders by feeling, releasing and moving each vertebra of the spine.

“Energy Gates” locations of the body are introduced in this class along with how to dissolve obstructions and blockages within the gates.

 


 

Wu Style Tai Chi – Short Form

Tai Chi was developed as an “internal” martial art, which is a combination of health oriented energy development practices and the fighting movements of external martial arts.  Today, however, most people practice tai chi to promote health, which is our focus.

This form is derived from the Wu style long form developed by Wu Jiu Chuan, the Wu style founder.  He taught the form to Liu Huang Chieh in the 1930’s, who in turn, taught B.K. Frantzis.  Frantzis, with Liu’s encouragement developed the short form.

This short form consists of a sequence of eighteen precisely choreographed movements, practiced in a slow, meditative manner.  These movements are specifically designed to promote health, develop calmness, flexibility, coordination, balance, stamina and increase energy.  The Wu style also facilitates the healing of injuries, especially back problems.

The form takes four to ten minutes to perform, depending on speed.  This beginner’s class incorporates the basic nei gung (chi gung) principles as taught in the Energy Gates chi gung practices.  Students can attend the earlier Tai Chi Basics class to learn “Opening the Energy Gates” and other material which will greatly simplify the learning process as well as deepen and clarify your understanding of chi gung.


 

Taoist Longevity Breathing

Breath awareness is fundamental to increasing our ability to feel inside and increase efficiency of our internal systems.  In this class, we will bring to our awareness all the potential physical mechanics of breath until they are consistently engaged and integrated, as well as progressively lengthened.  Ancient Taoists observed that this quality of breath could be sustained while doing practices, chores or any activity.   As this skill is developed and practiced throughout the day, it can lead to profound, life altering shifts within one’s being.

In a world dominated by computers and evermore techno inventions, we find ourselves constantly “on”.  The thinking process goes into overdrive and affects the body’s delicate nervous system which can result in destroying the potential for living a healthy and whole life.  Wisdom that comes from the ancient Taoist culture tells us that being deeply quiet in the midst of disorder or chaos can reveal the nature of healing for mind and body.  This energetic space allows us to breath and experience freedom.  Remaining present to one’s experience creates the environment and opportunity for true healing to occur.


 

Tao Yoga

100_1151Tao Yoga is a form of qigong.  All qigong forms are basically energy work for developing the power to heal oneself.  This practice comes from a 3000 year old Chinese Taoist system which instructs students in how to initiate healing from deep inside the body.  Most traditional systems work from the outside to inside.

 

 

 

How does TAO Yoga differ from Hatha Yoga?
Hatha Yoga uses postures or asanas and breath control (pranayama) to energize subtle channels (nadis).  Tao yoga uses gentle movements and breath to move and balance chi.  In Hatha yoga you stretch in order to relax, whereas in TAO yoga you relax in order to stretch.  You find the point that is around 70% of your physical extension or range of motion, then relax the body, mind and spirit.

TAO Yoga chi gung can improve hatha or any yoga practice because the internal training tunes the body to feel how the different poses are affecting the deep physical and emotional layers.  Chi Gung’s emphasis on moderation and softening give the nerves the ability to release the muscles so that the body gains the flexibility needed to get into and hold the yoga postures.  Awareness of chi movement or prana energy is also increased to prevent overstretching which can lead to injuries.

The goal is to progressively incorporate all the principles of internal Chi Gung (nei gung) within each posture.  Students will be instructed in detail on how to incorporate the Longeveity Breathing, as taught by Bruce Frantzis, into the 5 yoga postures, to experience whole body breathing. Students with Qigong experience, Yoga experience or no experience are all welcome and will benefit from this unique practice.

Gods Playing in the Clouds Qigong

God’s Playing in the Clouds is one of the most valuable practices for longevity and aging with energy.  It is an advanced nei gung practice consisting of six simple movements with internal mind-body interactions and physical bio-mechanical connections that are subtle and sophisticated.  This practice was the only chi gung set practiced by Grandmaster Liu Hung Chieh in his eighties.  He was a lineage disciple of the founder of Wu style tai chi and teacher of Bruce Frantzis.

This is a beginning and foundational class.  Emphasis will be on understanding the mechanics of the movement and depending on the class experience, appropriate components of nei gung principles.  One aspect of this movement is the development of foundational skills for meditative practice.

PA KONG DAO YING (8 Treasures)

The Eight Treasures is a practice that has been passed down from the Ni Family tradition and dates back to the Han Dynasty.  It predates the many forms of Tai Chi Chuan.  This form promotes health by activating eight specific points along the energy channels of the body.  These channels are know in Chinese Medicine as the eight extraordinary vessels.  The stimulation of these points allows energy to flow unimpeded throughout the body, preventing stagnation of qi, blood, fluids and the emotions.  This form also helps the body to gain flexibility and strength, especially along the spine.

The results of daily practice are inner peace and serenity and the absence of pain, fatique and confusion.  The Eight Treasures is suitable for all age groups and can be practiced as a complete cultivation form for life or as a foundational practice for other forms of Qigong.  This practice consists of 32 movements and is taught in two levels.  Students also learn the name of each movement, the 8 points and their location, and the anatomical locations of the vessels.