How to Build a Practice Routine

How to Build a Practice Routine

One of the great challenges of learning an art such as qigong or tai chi is developing a consistent practice. Here are some thoughts, based on my own experience.

Just a few minutes

When I first started learning qigong and tai chi, my teachers, Kathryn and Bill, emphasized that a few minutes of practice was better than nothing.

I’m glad they said this because I often didn’t feel like practicing, or felt like I had too many other things to do that seemed more urgent than practicing, so I was reluctant to set aside time for it. But I would tell myself, “I’ll just practice for a few minutes, It’s better than nothing.” More often than not, I didn’t stop after a few minutes.

Read More

How to Sit in a Chair for Meditation: Release Your Back

How to Sit in a Chair for Meditation: Release Your Back

This is the fourth and final (for now, anyway) installment of our video series on how to sit in a chair for optimal chi flow - whether you are meditating, working, or doing any other seated activity.

In the video below Bill teaches how you can use a kwa fold exercise to release tension that may build up in your back while sitting in a chair. This exercise can also be done standing - for more information about that, and about the kwa in general, please see this post from last year.

Read More

How to Sit in a Chair for Meditation: Stretch Upward

How to Sit in a Chair for Meditation: Stretch Upward

This is the third installment of our video series on how to sit in a chair for optimal chi flow - whether you are meditating, working, or doing any other seated activity.

In the video below, Bill show you how to lengthen your body upward from the feet to the top of your head, which helps to keep your energy channels open, allow healthy blood circulation, and avoid compression of your spine, hips and internal organs.

Read More

How to Sit in a Chair for Meditation: Back Support

How to Sit in a Chair for Meditation: Back Support

This is the second installment of our video series on how to sit in a chair for optimal chi flow - whether you are meditating, working, or doing any other seated activity.

In the video below Bill demonstrates how to use the back support of a chair to sit with good alignment. This is a good option if your back gets tired when you are sitting, or if you have back problems that make it difficult for you to sit up comfortably without support.

Read More

How to Sit in a Chair for Meditation: Introduction

How to Sit in a Chair for Meditation: Introduction

Bill and I recently recorded a series of videos about how to sit in a chair for optimal energy flow through your body.

Below is the first in our series of four videos on this subject. Next week we’ll post a video about how to support your back with the back of a chair if you have back issues, or if your back gets tired.

The techniques that Bill teaches in the videos were originally developed for meditation, but they are also helpful for doing other seated activities, such as work, crafts, artwork, or music.

Read More

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day

Saturday, April 27 was World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, which falls on the last Saturday in April each year. It all started with a gathering of 200 people in Kansas City, Missouri in 1998. In recent years World Tai Chi & Qigong Day gatherings have taken place in hundreds of cities in over 80 countries around the world.

This year, I worked with other local teachers to hold a World Tai Chi & Qigong Day gathering here in Northampton. It was an inspiring experience to be a part of. I wasn’t sure if many people would show up. Saturday morning was cold and cloudy, with sprinkles of rain.

Read More

A Powerful Relaxation Tool: Your Breath

A Powerful Relaxation Tool: Your Breath

After every class at least one person would remark on how much more relaxed they felt. Even before they said anything, this was apparent. Of course, people generally seem more relaxed at the end of a good tai chi class. But after these classes the students were very noticeably more relaxed than usual, and lingered longer chatting before heading home. 

Some students came to class and reported, week after week, how the benefits of the breathing practice were spilling over into their daily lives. One person said that he felt calmer and more able to respond to stress and interpersonal conflicts. He said he was more aware of his breath throughout the day, and able to use the techniques to calm his mind by deepening and softening his breath. 

Read More