Qi Gong is a path of regular practice and constant evolution. The flow, or organization, of every class must be consistent, enjoyable and gradually invite students into the levels of practice. This course is organized the same way. It will be a gradual and natural progression of skill specific exercises, knowledge and challenges to develop confidence and flow as a teacher. A thorough practice session, and this course, begins with postures and movements of humility, prayer and meditative presence. Arriving in this state of being acknowledges the greater energetic influences and possibilities that are involved in Qi Gong practice.
After learning about conscious presence, the course will focus on warm up exercises that open the joints and lengthen the tendons and nerves. This shift into conscious movement will improve co-ordination and challenge the habits of how each person embodies distress, fatigue and tension.
With better co-ordination, postural structure and a whole new level of conscious movement, exercises that reverse the effects of gravity and aging will be explored. These include practices like standing meditation, silk reeling, walking meditation and elements of Tai Chi. At this level of practice, most practitioners discover that meditative focus, postural refinement, breathwork and opening the energetic flow of their meridians can be explored anytime; while standing in a line up, or sitting in a chair waiting for someone.
The next focus will be on therapeutic movement. Many people suffer from chronic pain or are recovering from sports injuries or unfortunate accidents. Others may need healthier ways to deal with trauma, addiction or loss. This level of practice goes very deeply into the embodiment of distress, pain and emotional trauma. By combining very gentle movements, deep breathing and focused intention, practitioners are empowered with the skills necessary to begin the journey of healing.
Reaching into the treasure chest of Qi Gong practices, the next endeavors are relaxation, restoration and advanced breathing methods. People who are chronically in a state of emotional distress and/or physical tension are using 20%, or more, of their body’s energy (calories). Consistent and individualized relaxation practices help regain an abundance of energy, regulate sleep and appetite and restore a child like inspiration. Relaxation, guided breathing methods and curiosity are also essential when delving into the potentials of a thorough meditation practice .
At this point, participants will have learned to become present and aware, open their joints, lengthen their tendons and nerves, become very coordinated and graceful, as well as improve postural and movement patterns. Participants will also have explored their need for healing, delved deeply in the potential of relaxation and begun to explore the subtleties of advanced breath-work.
The next level of Qi Gong practice is to strengthen one’s muscles, tendons and bones. This begins with recovering normal strength and dexterity like core muscle rehabilitation and innate body movements that imitate the movement of animals. A more profound opportunity for strength comes from thousands of years of martial arts tradition. Participants will learn one of the most famous and sought after Qi Gong practices in the world called the Muscle Tendon Changing exercises from the Shaolin Monastery.
Qi Gong is all about balance. Becoming physically stronger must be balanced by becoming more flexible. Flexibility focuses on two things; contortion, or exploring the extremes of how far our bodies can bend, and dynamic flexibility. A dynamic flexibility practice involves, not only bending our bodies, but also adding rotation, momentum and resistance. This approach to becoming more flexible helps our body trust that, in these Yogic positions, one can handle little accidents like losing their balance or being jumped on by pets and children.
Along with a strong and flexible body one must also strengthen and stretch their mind. This is best done through meditation. Throughout the program, participants will be guided through many practices of seated, standing, walking and lying meditation.
In addition to being an excellent approach to physical and emotional well being, Qi Gong is also a profound form of Spiritual practice and Healing for our whole Beings. This aspect of Qi Gong is most often described as embodied prayer. An embodied prayer practice is very hard to describe, so, imagine being on a beach, gazing at the full moon or the sunrise at dawn. How would you connect more deeply with the Ocean, the Wind, the Earth, the Sun and Moon? How would you convey your awe and gratitude to your Sources of Life? What are the fundamental elements of existence and how can you use that understanding to heal or become truly whole?
The final opportunity in this program is to begin the journey of becoming a healer through the practice of hands on healing, or Medical Qi Gong. Participants who complete the program and become certified as Qi Gong Instructors will have the opportunity to spend another year or two to become certified Medical Qi Gong Practitioners.