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Qigong Instruction

"In stillness, action stirs. In action there is stillness." - Wang Zongyue

Qigong is a mind-body-spirit practice that improves mental and physical health by aligning us with the dynamic cycles of nature. This alignment is achieved through a combination of posture, movement, mindful breathing, self-massage, sound, visualization, and focused intentions. Qigong is rooted in the practical philosophies of the ancient Chinese sages who applied lessons learned from our world’s complex ecological systems to questions of human suffering and happiness. The qigong of today is one of the primary branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is considered a thoroughly-researched and beneficial alternative healing practice. While there are as many qigong schools, styles, and lineages as there are teachers, what unites them all is a belief in our ability to harness qi (or our vital and subtle energies) by way of skillful and compassionate practice (or gong).


My qigong training path is one of personal cultivation for greater well-being and contentment. And my teaching approach aims to be inclusive of all bodies, ages, and abilities. I especially encourage those who work to create a more just and peaceful world to explore qigong as a method of unraveling our traumas so we may show up for each other with more presence, kindness, and generosity.

 
 

Cultivating Vital Energy

Enhance your study of qigong with this illustrated workbook and journal, designed especially for my students. Packed with helpful coloring pages and quick-reference qigong form diagrams, this workbook will help you grasp this ancient healing art's foundational concepts and keep track of your personal practice.

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Qigong Classes and Workshops

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30 Minute Q & A Session

Complimentary

This short Q&A session will give you the chance to learn more about qigong before jumping into a full practice session. I’ll answer your questions, ask about your objectives, and, if time allows, can demonstrate a few simple forms to get you started.

Click the contact link below to request registration and booking information.

60 Minute 1:1 Introductory Qigong Session

Suggested Gift of $20-$30

An hour-long session will introduce you to a few foundational qigong forms. We’ll warm up our spines, sinews, and connective tissues, then cleanse, condition, and consolidate our qi. And I’ll leave you with forms you can practice on your own. Sessions can be recorded for your personal use.

Click the contact link below to request registration and booking information.

90 Minute 1:1 Qigong Flow Session

Suggested Gift of $30-$40

This 90 minute session will allow us time for in-depth instruction on traditional qigong flows. I’ll choose a flow (a specifically designed set of forms) based on your needs and interests and I’ll offer you resources so you can continue your practice on your own. Sessions can be recorded for your personal use.

Click the contact link below to request registration and booking information.

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Group Classes

Suggested Gift of $10-$20

A 60 minute group class hosted most Thursdays at 5:00pm EST via Zoom.

Click the contact link below to request registration information and the current class schedule.

Movement with Nature

ON HOLD DUE TO COVID-19

A 120 minute group meet-up at parks in Connecticut, Western Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Together, we'll learn about New England forest ecology, the Five Elements system, and find a spot to practice qigong. Care will be taken to find locations with wheelchair accessibility. Group sizes will be limited to ten participants.

Click the link below to request more information.

Seasonal Full-Day Workshops

ON HOLD DUE TO COVID-19

A 7 hour in-person workshop, diving deeper into traditional qigong flows, season-specific organ systems, meridians, and forms. Care will be taken to secure accessible locations. Group sizes will be limited to fifteen participants.

Click the link below to request more information.

 

FAQ

How do online sessions work?

Once you register for a group class or book a 1:1 session, you’ll be sent a link to a Zoom meeting room. To attend the session, you will need to download Zoom and have a working web camera and microphone. If you’ve selected a 1:1 session, I am glad to record the session and share it with you online for your personal use. Automated captioning can be offered, as well.

How much do sessions and classes cost?

I believe everyone should have access to healing and mindfulness, regardless of circumstance or socio-economic class. So, while group classes and 1:1 sessions have a suggested gift range, you are welcome to offer whatever you are able. Once you register for a session or class, you will be provided with links to offer funds through PayPal or Venmo. Workshops and retreats, however, will be offered on a sliding scale to cover location rentals, park permits, and, when applicable, meals.

How long have you been practicing qigong? Who are your teachers?

I began practicing qigong in the winter of 2019 while recovering from a series of debilitating health conditions. It was transformational! With regular, gentle practice, I was able to regain mobility, reduce chronic pain, increase somatic awareness, reduce anxiety, and stabilize my moods. During this time, I attended classes and workshops with instructor Mimi Kuo-Deemer and learned from YouTube instructors Nick Loffree, Yoga Lily, Marissa Cranfill, and Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming. In the summer of 2022, I completed a 12-week teacher certification program with Nick Loffree. And I intend to continue studying with Nick and other qigong teachers so I may pass along what I learn to my students and co-learners.

What are the benefits of qigong?

Here’s what science knows for sure. Regular qigong practice provides: 

  • Increased strength, mobility, stamina, and balance/proprioception. 

  • Reduced emotional reactivity and nervous system dysregulation (common in people with depression, anxiety, and PTSD).

  • Healthier vascular and respiratory function.

  • Balanced immune system response. 

  • Greater mental clarity and brain hemisphere synchronization.

  • Improved digestion and nutrient absorption.

  • Reduced joint inflammation.

  • Improved liver, kidney, and bladder function.

  • Reduction (and, in some cases, elimination) of chronic pain.

It’s also believed to help with a variety of other health issues and ailments, from declining vision and early hair loss to rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and Parkinson’s.

What is Qi?

In broad terms, qi (pronounced chee) is energy and life force. When we talk about qi in qigong, we are usually referring to all the complex, interrelated functions of our organs, nerves, bones, and fascia, as well the bio-electric field our body generates. At times, qi can also refer to more ephemeral concepts such as “spirit” or “essence.” Qi is meant to flow through us. When qi’s flow is blocked or diminished by injury or trauma (both physical and emotional), it can become trapped and stagnant, which leads to disease or chronic pain. The purpose of qigong is to gently and gradually open any areas of restricted or stagnant qi within us and then cycle in fresh, nourishing qi.

What is a form?

A form is a meditation that employs posture, breath, and, at times, movement to cleanse, condition, consolidate, or otherwise direct the flow of qi. Many forms are designed to exercise or massage specific organs and their corresponding energy pathways (or meridians). And some forms employ sound and visualization practices.

What is a flow?

A flow is a series of qigong forms created by a qigong master and handed down through ancient text, oral tradition, or more modern transmission. Flows typically seek to meet specific physical and/or emotional needs (such as improving tendon strength and joint mobility, easing emotional distress, focusing healing sounds and intentions into specific organs, or preparing the mind and body for seasonal stressors).

Do I have to stand the whole time?

No. While standing is the traditional “default” position, the most important rule of qigong is “no pain, no pain.” Bodies are built differently and some positions will not work for everyone. If a form is uncomfortable or painful, you should stop and find an alternate way to do it. If a minor postural adjustment doesn’t help, most forms can easily be adapted to seated or lying positions. Our compassionate effort to circulate qi is what matters most.

Is qigong exercise?

Yes. But perhaps not in a stereotypical sense. Depending on a person’s level of physical fitness or mobility, some forms may feel more physically demanding than others. It’s possible to go an entire session without breaking a sweat or having your heart rate increase significantly. But there’s a saying in qigong pulled from the “The Song of the Thirteen Postures” by Wan Zangyue: “In stillness, action stirs. In action there is stillness.” What appears still and calm in qigong may require a surprising amount of effort!

What should I wear to a session?

As ease of mobility and blood and lymphatic circulation are keys to a beneficial qigong practice, it is important to wear loose, comfortable clothing that does not constrict circulation or restrict movement. Wearing clothing that helps you maintain a neutral body temperature is also helpful; so wear lighter clothing in the hotter months, and warmer clothing in the colder months. If possible, practicing barefooted helps your toes root your stance and, if practicing outdoors, allows you to connect more closely with your natural environment. However, you should take care to keep your feet warm with socks in cooler months, as it is believed cold feet can negatively impact your body’s immune system.

What else should I consider in preparation for a session?

Practitioners are advised to avoid eating substantial meals within an hour or two before a session. The purpose being, digesting meals requires a great deal of your body’s resources and qigong practice may interrupt digestion. However, being hungry or having a low blood-sugar during a session can also cause unhealthy imbalances in your body, so having a small snack (like a handful of nuts or fruit) more than 30 minutes before a session is advisable if you’re feeling hungry. Consuming intoxicants or stimulants before a session can, similarly, impair your body’s natural functions and are not encouraged. However, a small glass of green or herbal tea (such as ginseng or oat straw), may help gently enliven your senses if you are feeling lethargic before a session. You may be getting the sense that there are few hard and fast rules here: it’s all about enabling your body’s natural inclination toward balance.

Can qigong be harmful?

Not if a person is practicing qigong with the mindfulness and kindness it was designed for. But injury can happen if a person fails to pay attention to their body’s needs and breaks the “no pain, no pain” rule. Additionally, thinking of qigong as a “sport” or “physical fitness routine,” competing with yourself or others to force your body to execute a form “perfectly,” or otherwise directing your qi with aggression, fear, or unkindness can certainly lead to injury or other harmful outcomes.

Is Qigong a religious practice?

No. Or, at least, not necessarily. Though it was developed within the philosophical framework of Taoism (and later Buddhism), it has long been viewed as a secular health practice in line with the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM). And its efficacy in a variety of health applications has been rigorously investigated and proven by scientific research. There can certainly be a spiritual focus of the practice (such as aiding in one’s path to an enlightened state), but this focus is not required to accrue qigong’s many benefits.

What is TCM?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a system of holistic healing that sees the quality of a person’s health as interwoven with the health and wellbeing of their mind and environment. Where Western medicine tends to view the body in more mechanical terms, TCM sees the body as a complex energetic system within a greater ecosystem. Poor health is the result of the imbalance or stagnation of qi. Optimal health is the result of the flow of balanced qi. And, instead of offering “quick fixes”, TCM usually employs a variety of longer-term remedies and preventative practices (such as herbal supplements, sustainable lifestyle changes, acupuncture, acupressure, and qigong) to help a person return to and maintain a state of optimal health.

What are meridians?

Meridians are pathways of qi within and, in some cases, around your physical body. There are twelve principal meridians that correspond with and cycle qi through the body’s twelve primary organs. And there are eight additional “extraordinary” meridians that connect the previous twelve and store qi for the body’s use. Moving qi through this web of energy conduits is the primary purpose of the practices of qigong, acupuncture, and acupressure. As with receiving an acupuncture treatment, one can gain the benefits of qigong without knowing anything about the meridians. The qigong forms are designed to do the work of moving qi through the meridians for you. So, while it can be interesting and useful to learn about each of these pathways, it’s not necessary for practice.

What is Taoism?

Taoism is a philosophical framework that arose from the mindful study of nature and its dynamic cycles. It began to take shape over three thousand years ago in China, but was first translated into a coherent written philosophy in the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. Taoism views all of creation as the result of interacting oppositional forces. These forces are broadly summarized in yang and yin: yang being the expansive, warming, and active, and yin the consolidating, cooling, and more passive. And Taoism asserts that the true nature of existence is change, or movement that tends toward the equilibrium of yin and yang. Therefore, human suffering is the result of resisting change, our disconnection from nature’s cycles, and, ultimately, the disharmony of yin and yang.