Thursday, April 19, 2007

how Qi Gong changed my life

I was first introduced to Qi Gong five and something years ago during my first semester at Five Branches Institute. My first day of classes started with a Meridian Theory class. It was one of the most confusing classes of the entire program. All the concepts were so foreign and different from anything I'd ever studied. Even the way the material was presented was completely different from anything I'd ever been taught.

At 11 am that first Monday morning, with our heads buzzing from the first 2-hour lesson, my classmates and I patiently waited for our Qi Gong teacher to arrive, wondering what to expect from the next class. Little did I know then how much this class was going to transform my life! The practice of Qi Gong introduced me to a whole new way of approaching life. I learned how to be more centered and grounded. I learned how to live more consciously in my body. How to direct energy to various parts of the body. How to move energy when it gets stuck - and prevent it from getting stuck in the first place! How to combine movement with meditation. How to cultivate more energy for increased vitality. How to have a healing energy exchange with others.

After a series of more invigorating exercises and gentle stretches to warm up the body and loosen up the muscles, our teacher led us into a meditative flow. Slow, gentle movements, synchronized with the breath. Exercises designed to strengthen the body and bring energy to the various organ systems as outlined in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

We concluded the session with a short partner exercise, which involved massage of the neck and shoulders and knocking on the back. What a great way to end the class!

Anyone who has ever experienced acupuncture is probably familiar with the slightly light-headed and deeply relaxed feeling you often walk out of a session with, when the energy circuits in your body have been activated and you are 'buzzing' with Qi. Qi Gong leaves you with that same kind of feeling. After class, my classmates and I often felt like we were 'floating' out of the room, 'high' on Qi. It's not a surprise Qi Gong quickly became everyone's favorite and most looked-forward-to class! It was a welcome reprieve from the very confusing (and sometimes rather frustrating) first class every Monday morning and a great way to start the week! With the relaxation, centering, and stress relief that Qi Gong provides, I believe it is a great way to both start and end any day!

I took the mandatory Qi Gong II class in my second semester. Many of my classmates stopped there. But I was hooked! I took Qi Gong II again. Then Qi Gong I again. And Qi Gong Stretch (more similar to yoga). I went to all the Qi Gong workshops I could go to. Most of them taught by my teacher (
Lee Holden), and some by reknowned Chinese Masters travelling through the area. I did the Qi Gong teacher training, which included a weekend retreat that was mostly spent doing Qi Gong out in nature. Facing the moon in the evening after sunset, facing the rising sun in the early morning, and tapping into the energy of powerful trees in a beautiful redwood grove. It was amazing. Replenishing. Rejuvenating. I learnt a lot that weekend. About nature. About myself. About connecting with the earth and the universe.

Because Qi Gong had been such a life-altering discovery for me, I introduced my friends and family to it by teaching them the exercises I'd learnt in class. One day, several years back, Lee asked me to teach a class for him when he wasn't able to. This was my first professional Qi Gong class. When I started with Anna at Lokahi Acupuncture, I began teaching two Qi Gong classes a week in Willow Glen. I teach on Tuesdays at noon and Thursdays at 5:30 pm at
Halanda Studio on Lincoln Avenue.

Maybe you'll come join us for one of the next classes! I'd love to see you there and share my passion for Qi Gong with you!

Recently, my sister was in town visiting from Germany with her 3 kids. Here are some pictures of my 10-year old niece, Alicia, doing Qi Gong in our yard and my sister doing the partner-massage on her. Both Alicia and her 8-year old brother Leon came to my class and loved it! The other students were amazed to see the kids follow along with all the movements for a whole hour without getting bored or impatient!

I hope you'll discover the amazing benefits of Qi Gong as well - if you haven't done so already!

- Angie