Frequently Asked Questions
FEES, REGISTRATION, AND PAYMENTS
HEALTH AND HEALING
1. How do I get started?
If you don't live close enough to take a weekly class, you may want to check out the events section of the menu at the top of the page to see if we have any workshops or retreats coming up in your area. You can also use the Bruce Frantzis' Instructor Directory at www.energyarts.com to see if there is a certified instructor near you.
Another option is to take Bill Ryan's online course in Dragon & Tiger Qigong.
1. When can I start?
You can join a course during the first two weeks of each of our sessions. We offer six sessions a year, starting about every eight weeks:
Winter - January through February
Early Spring - March through April
Late Spring - Late April through Early June
Summer - Late June through Mid-August
Early Fall - September through October
Late Fall - November through December
We generally announce the exact dates of the upcoming session about a month before it begins. To receive email announcements about our weekly classes, please join our email list.
2. Can I drop in and pay by the class?
We do not offer our introductory courses on a drop-in basis because you need to attend the full 7-week course to gain fundamental skills.
You can attend Refinements courses on a drop-in basis once you have completed an introductory course in the same subject, or if you have equivalent experience and permission of the instructor.
3. When are the classes?
4. How do I decide which of your introductory courses is best for me?
There is a lot in common between our different introductory courses. All of our introductory courses will teach you fundamentals such as postural alignments, basic movement principles, and relaxation. The best way to choose is to try them, and see for yourself what feels best.
That said, here are some general guidelines to help you choose among our offerings.
You may prefer Dragon & Tiger Qigong if you: like to move and will enjoy learning and then refining a set of seven flowing, meditative movements; wish to develop more energy more quickly; and are a beginner or are an experienced qigong practitioner who wishes to learn how to feel and move chi more fully and clearly.
You may prefer Tai Chi if you: like to regularly learn and practice new movements; wish to learn about healthy posture and relaxation, and are intrigued with how you can unite your body and mind through movement.
If you have special health or other concerns, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to suggest the most suitable course to take. Please note that for chronic conditions other than back and leg pain we usually recommend Dragon & Tiger qigong.
5. Can I try a free class?
6. Can I come watch a class?
In general, we do not allow people to watch our classes, because it can be distracting to the students in the class. But if you would like to watch a class you may do so in our one of our introductory courses during the first two weeks of a session. Please see the above question for more information.
7. What do I wear?
Please wear loose-fitting clothes that do not restrict your movement.
To keep our floors clean, we ask that you remove your shoes at our entrance. You may take class in your bare feet or socks or clean indoor shoes that you bring with you.
We ask that you do not wear any fragrances or scented body products, to which some of our students are very sensitive.
8. Do I need special clothing or equipment?
No. This is a great thing about qigong and tai chi - all you need in order to do it is a little room to move around.
It is a good idea to wear comfortable clothing when you practice, so that you will be comfortable. But you don’t need any special clothing.
9. Will I be able to do it?
Qigong exercises can be modified to accommodate people of all ages, abilities, body types, and energy levels. They can be done sitting or lying down.
Tai chi and qigong are regularly practiced by older people to maintain or regain mobility, energy, and health. They are used by people with illness and injury to regain health and range of motion, and to improve quality of life.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss your specific concerns.
10. Is your studio accessible?
11. How long will it take to learn?
We teach all 7 movements of the Dragon & Tiger Qigong set in our 7-week introductory course.
However, you could spend a lifetime refining these movements, and adding layers of sophistication.
Simply doing the movements, even if you can't do them very well, can provide you with some excellent benefits. Once you have learned the movements, you can join our ongoing series of refinements classes to hone your skills and deepen the benefits of the exercises.
We teach a Wu Style tai chi 'Mini Form' in our Introductory Tai Chi course, over two 7-week sessions. The Mini Form consists of the first third of the Wu Style Short Form. Once you have completed the introductory course, you can go on to learn the rest of the Short Form over 4 more 7-week sessions.
So it takes about a year to learn the whole Short Form at our school. During that year of courses, we teach the form very thoroughly and give you a solid foundation in tai chi movement skills and principles. You will also learn supplementary qigong exercises.
12. Is this the same as what I learned elsewhere in a class or on TV or a DVD?
Unless you learned from an instructor who was trained by our teacher, Bruce Frantzis, or from one of his books, online courses, or videos, then it is unlikely that what we teach is the same as what you learned elsewhere. This does not mean that tai chi or qigong that you have learned elsewhere is completely different, but it may be.
There are many styles and schools of tai chi, and even more different types of qigong.
We invite you to come in and see if you enjoy the way that we teach.
13. Do you have books, DVD's, or other learning tools to help me remember the movements?
We sell practice DVD’s for you to follow along with at home. These DVD’s are not intended as a substitute for a live teacher, they are just to help you with your practice. Please inquire at the studio or contact us to purchase a DVD.
Our teacher, Bruce Frantzis, has published intstructional books about Dragon & Tiger Qigong, which contain illustrations of the movements. We do not sell his books, but they are available through his website www.energyarts.com. He has publsihed several non-instructional books about tai chi that you may be interested to read, but he has not published an instructional tai chi book.
Bill Ryan has created an online course in Dragon & Tiger qigong, which is available through our teacher Bruce Frantzis’ website, www.energyarts.com.
FEES, REGISTRATION, AND PAYMENTS
1. How much are your weekly classes?
We generally charge $140 dollars for our 7-week courses. There are some exceptions. Our introductory courses are $120, because the first class is free.
2. Do I need to register before I come to class?
No, you can just show up to the class you would like to register for during the first two weeks of the session.
If you would like to register ahead of time, you can follow this link to read about your options for doing so.
If you are unsure whether you meet the prerequisites for a course, please contact us ahead of time to discuss this.
3. Can I register online?
4. Do you take credit cards?
We accept all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
5. Do you offer discounts/sliding scale/scholarships?
We do not offer a sliding scale, but we are willing to work with you to make it financially feasible for you to study with us. We ask that you pay for one session of classes, and then if you are committed to continuing to study with us, we can work out a reduced fee or a payment plan that works for you.
HEALTH AND HEALING
1. What health conditions can qigong and tai chi help with?
These arts have the potential to balance and revitalize you on many levels - physical, energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Our exercises strengthen and balance your chi (qi) or life energy, which in turn tunes every system of your body from your joints, organs, and spine to your nerves, muscles, and immune system.
Over the years, our students have found our practices helpful for:
Lower back pain
Joint pain (e.g arthritis)
Neck & shoulder tension
Repetitive stress injuries
Anxiety & depression
And many other conditions
2. I have a particular illness or condition. Will this help?
1. What is qigong?
Qigong (also spelled chi gung) is the art of developing the life energy of your body, which the Chinese call chi (pronounced "chee", sometimes spelled "qi").
It is thought that qigong originally was developed in ancient China. People sought to increase their vitality on all levels and studied the natural world in an effort to learn how to do so.
Chinese medicine teaches that if your chi is full, freely flowing, and balanced, good health will follow. Qigong exercises help to increase and balance the flow of chi through your system.
Over the years, qigong methods have been practiced and developed by people in all walks of life, for purposes including spiritual practice, health and healing, martial arts, athletic performance, and mental acuity.
Today there are thousands of different types of qigong. Some qigong systems, like the ones we teach, have been preserved and refined over thousands of years. New systems are constantly being developed and introduced.
2. What is tai chi?
Tai Chi was originally developed as a martial art rooted in qigong. Tai Chi’s basic practice consists of a gentle flowing progression of movements known as a form. Today, most people who practice tai chi use it as a health exercise, by practicing the form without the martial arts training.
You can think of a tai chi form as a very sophisticated qigong exercise. It is less repetitive and requires you to learn more movements than the qigong forms we teach. However, it incorporates the same movement principles and energy development techniques, and confers similar benefits.
3. Are Tai Chi and Qigong religious practices?
While the practices we teach originate from Taoism, people from all walks of life participate in and enjoy our classes. Everyone is welcome.
1. What are your credentials?
Our founding teachers, Bill and Kathryn, are students of Bruce Frantzis, who is a Lineage Holder in the Taoist Water Tradition. Bruce is one of America's foremost experts in Chinese energy arts for health, healing, and martial arts.
Bill and Kathryn are longtime students of Bruce Frantzis and have received certification from him to teach these arts. Between them, Bill and Kathryn have over 40 years of teaching experience and have taught thousands of students.
Before opening Toward Harmony, Bill founded and ran Brookline Tai Chi near Boston, which at one point was one of the largest tai chi schools in the country, with a peak enrollment of over 450 students.
Dan Winter has trained intensively with Bill and Kathryn for over 5 years.
2. How is your approach different than other schools that teach tai chi and qigong?
Following the model of our teacher, Bruce Frantzis, we first provide students with a thorough grounding in the foundational postural and movement principles of tai chi and qigong. Our attention to detail in teaching the physical mechanics of our arts prepares our students for success and helps to prevent injuries.
We then begin to teach the chi or energetic aspects of the arts. The majority of the health benefits one can gain from practice of these arts comes from the internal energy content which is layered inside of the external physical forms.
Because this content has traditionally only been taught to high level disciples, few people truly know it, and fewer still are willing and able to teach it. Bruce Frantzis is one of these people, and he has passed much of it onto us.
We are fortunate to have this deep knowledge of internal components of the arts, and a cohesive system for imparting it to our students. From early on in your training we will begin to teach you the internal energy principles that make tai chi and qigong work.
Bruce trained in the Taoist Water Tradition, and our teaching of qigong and tai chi is informed by that tradition. The water tradition emphasizes relaxation and letting go, working with gravity, and wearing away at obstacles slowly over time.