Taiji & Qigong have a long list of health benefits & with all the new research being done the list is just getting longer. First, come to a few classes, unless you’ve done this stuff before & know what you want to get back into! The best way to understand the differences between Taiji & Qigong is to try them out. Fundamentally, they are both internal arts to achieve very similar goals—they are an ideal way to stay healthy, fit, flexible & happy in mind & body! They help you cultivate greater awareness to avoid illness & injury, to understand how stress is affecting you & what to do about it and are a great way to maintain equanimity & a positive presence in your daily life. Regular repetition is the key to unlocking all the benefits & the ritual of a class or personal practice feeds the spirit & soul.
Yang Style Taiji
Yang style is characterized by its slow, steady pace. It is an ideal way to find your ‘inner tortoise’ while working your legs hard, softening chronic tension patterns & coaxing the mind to give you a break from the constant chatter of a hectic life. Well-known for its health benefits, starting a practice of Yang Style Taiji is best—younger than older, sooner than later & more often than less! When you are 85, you’ll appreciate having started at 25—acutally you’ll have earned the right to be pretty dang smug about it!
Taijiquan differentiates itself from Qigong in that it is historically a martial art, cultivating better health and one’s abilities in self-defense. Taiji trains internal awareness and also the dynamics of relationship with others through the interactive training called Push Hands. ‘Push Hands’ or ‘Sensing Hands’ practices incorporate training with a partner to cultivate one’s ability to engage with another. The core energies of Taiji Push Hands play uses ‘Sticking,’ ‘Listening,’ ’Understanding,’ ‘Receiving’ and ‘Neutralizing’ as a way to stay connected to a partner. Many teachers, myself included, believe that the full benefits of Taiji are realized through the triumvirate of meditation, solo form & Push Hands. The ‘Taiji Classics’ actually say that the path to spiritual enlightenment is through the practice of Push Hands!
My classes spend plenty of time on form, but also work on meditation skill & get into the basics of Push Hands.
5 section (20 movement) Solo Taiji Form:
This Short Form is great for beginners! You learn the architecture of the progressive movements while learning Core Principles that will be true for Taiji as a lifelong practice. Give this form a few sessions to memorize & get under your belt. From here, you can continue to deepen the form, begin a study of Push Hands & it also serves as ½ of a 2 Person choreographed form! Plenty of room to grow.
Traditional Long Form (108 movement) Solo Taiji Form:
Longer, slower, deeper, this form guides a practitioner into the innate benefits through cultivating a dedicated “gong”. A skill that is achieved by dedicated practice over a period of time. This form takes more time, most folks find that in 2 years an excellent understanding of the movements is realized as well as the basic applications & how the solo form resonates with interactive practice.
5 Week Taiji Intro:
For brand-spanking NEW beginners & those who just want to have a go at the basics again. The intro classes to give you an opportunity to experience the core principles and basic movements of Taiji and will prepare you for other classes throughout the schedule, where you can learn a complete “form” or series of successive movements.
Sensing Hands ~ Push Hands
Any practitioner is fortunate to be presented with the moving application principles of Taiji ~ known as Push Hands. Make sense of this Martial Art with fun, interactive & engaging drills that are the natural extension of solo form study & help support one’s true understanding of centering & connecting within a non-competitive, totally non-aggressive context. Seriously, we mostly laugh a lot! Learn how to listen to your partner & stay centered at the same time. Through basic drills & moving step pattern we study how to ‘Stick,’ ‘Listen,’ ’Understand,’ ‘Receive’ and ‘Neutralize’ while staying connected our partner and keeping the nervous system in balance. Tools EVERYBODY needs for daily life not just in a Taiji class. This study has the potential to change how you think & what you do ~ it is that good!
Get a little ‘qi’ action, make your legs sore, your core burn, stretch out to some mellow tunes & finish with a meditation. It’s all there in 1 hour & 15 minutes. This class is a place to share, laugh, be irreverent & reverent. It’s fun and will get your day moving!
Hands of the 18 Luohan:
The Luohan Gong originates around 520 AD, when a Buddhist monk from India, Bodhidharma or Da Mo, travelled throughout china finally settling at the Shaoling Temple in the Henan Province. He was the founder of Chan or Zen Buddhism. The Hands of the 18 Luohan is considered to be significant in the roots of Shaolin Kung Fu and many martial arts. It was designed along the another classic Qigong form, the ‘Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic’ to promote better health and strength for the monks of the temple. Luohan practice works on the body structurally & energetically; it affects bones, tendons, ligaments, joints, vessals and internal organs. It focuses on building energy in core areas for vitality and increases energy flow throughout the body. It is a stellar form for strength, flexibility & calm. It will take 1+ years to get comfortable with this form & it is so worth it. Think a great yoga class (well! it did originate in India after all) where you move steadily through postures to achieve suppleness in mind & body.
5 Week Qigong Intro:
For brand-spanking NEW beginners & those who just want to have a go at the basics again. The intro classes to give you an opportunity to experience the core principles and basic movements of Qigong and will prepare you for other classes throughout the schedule, where you can learn a complete “form” or series of successive movements.
5 Element Qigong & Meditation:
I’ve been cultivating this practice, using ideas as launching pads from others, as well as developing it on my own as a profound Qigong form on its own as well as an ideal Qigong that directly serves a Taiji practice. The response has been resounding! Based on 5 Element Theory in Qigong & Chinese Medicine, we study the nature of the elements–Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water–and how they relate to the cycles inherent in life…the change of the seasons, the fluctuations of Yin & Yang, the phases of energy in the body.
8 Treasures Qigong:
8 Treasures Qigong has been passed down through the generations as an exercise set to maintain good health and increase vitality. There are many variations of the form, each with slight differences, but the basic movements still maintain many similarities. The 8 Treasures has eight routines that serve to expand breathing capacity, increase energy and blood flow, strengthen the legs and torso, increase flexibility as well as calm the body and mind. It is a deceptively simple routine that yields great benefits to the conscientious practitioner. It can be learned within a session as is a great beginner’s practice!
Balancing the Heart Qigong:
Balancing the Heart Qigong is the practice of “cleansing the heart and balancing the blood.” It is considered a modern form of Qigong, to address the issues of modern illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stress. As a form of Medical Qigong it is designed to alleviate stress and its by-products that may manifest as heart disorders.
The powerful energy of the Heart governs the blood & blood vessels as well as houses the Shen, our complex prism of emotions, mental thoughts & our sense of spirit. On a physical level, healthy Heart energy results in even warmth in the body & a well-regulated pulse. On a spiritual level, the Heart governs a steady, positive & productive personality, able to experience a balanced sense of Joy.
5 Word Qigong:
This Qigong/meditation employs the words “Breath, Calm, Center, Root, Energy” to investigate basic meditation, breath and movement skills. This is a deeply relaxing practice that revitalizes energy flow and creates a pervasive awareness of calm and center.
1000 Hands Buddha Qigong:
This nurturing Qigong form is an excellent way to center & calm. It is based on hand positions, called ‘mudras’ that help clarify one’s intent in the movement. While based on traditional Buddhist meditations, this form is not religious in its nature. Rather, it is about fostering healthy principles of the human experience like creating clarity, a sense of assurance, purity & truth in one’s internal experience. This form can be done seated & is easily learned in a session.
This very meditative form uses movement and intent in a gentle, slow-paced manner to help build a tremendous amount of energy & vitality throughout the body & the internal organs. So calming & nurturing it is a great form for deep self-care.