When we were first introduced to qigong years ago, I didn’t really like it very much. And I never taught it. There was just too much holding positions and too many rules in the teaching of it. I was happy teaching the form and push hands. Over the years I taught it a bit at summer trainings and even taught an Experienceship. But at the summer training of 2018 I declined the invitation to teach qigong with Gerrie and Jon. I said I didn’t like teaching it.
But while I didn’t love doing and teaching qigong, I have always loved the philosophy of the five elements. It makes perfect sense to me. I have lectured on it in acupuncture classes and written about it and it has enriched my life.
As time went by and we did more qigong at trainings, I learned to like doing Embracing the Tao, Yin Yang Breath and Constant Bear. I now start my morning with them every day before I do my rounds. And I love the qigong tunings and knowing others are doing the same work in different parts of the world. I love aligning myself with the seasons.
This past year and a half I have been teaching at the YMCA and transitioned out of teaching the form and into teaching qigong. Teaching the form just wasn’t working in drop-in classes. I came to realize that I had always been afraid that people would be as bored with qigong as I had been in the beginning. And some people were. But I now have a core of students and others who come and go, and they love it! I teach a combination of qigong and 8 Ways and do whatever fits my mood on any given day.
I emphasize relaxation and breathing and focusing in the dantian. And I get very relaxed—much more relaxed than when I teach the form. It’s meditative. People get very quiet and internal and deeply relaxed. One class I teach is called Improving Balance. It’s still qigong and 8 Ways, especially Walking on Thin Ice, but with an emphasis on how to be better balanced. And it’s working!
I have also started adding more spirituality in my classes. I always start and end with TYB and BYT, and in the last Embracing the Tao, I sometimes expand to all the people in the world and ask students to wish them well, or to embrace the unity of us all. And when we come back to the body, to thank the body for still being here, or for doing the best it can. At the end of the class I ask them to notice how they are feeling and to take that feeling with them into their day. And everyone leaves with a smile on their face.
So, I realize that this is old hat for those who have been teaching qigong for years. But to those who have not embraced it, I encourage you to find your creativity and see if you can find a new appreciation of it. In my qigong class today, we worked the metal element and took time to acknowledge what we value and what inspires us. I value and appreciate the Professor and Patrick and Patty and Gerrie for the development of this work. It has inspired me and enriched my life.