QIGONG for DIGESTION workshop (April 6, 2019)

Breath with mindfulness and posture = qigong. All three, together, help to bring about the state in which we can improve digestion, remove energy blocks, and move stagnant energy, allowing Qi—life force energy—to flow. When Qi flows, we are healthy and can digest our food and our life experiences as nature intended.

Without proper digestion, a cascade of health imbalances result, including allergies and food sensitivities, inflammation,  irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, autointoxication, blood sugar imbalance and on and on and on. Digestion literally affects everything. Just as poor digestion affects the whole body, good digestion also affects the whole body—cultivating amazingly good health and energy.

Qigong’s approach to digestive function is through the stomach (yang) and spleen (yin) organs, which are associated with the Earth element and govern the process of digestion. Energetically, the stomach and spleen are where the body holds anxiety, over-thinking, and worry, all of which interfere with Qi flow and balance and, therefore, digestion. The natural energies of the stomach and spleen—the counter balance to anxiety, over-thinking, and worry—include trust, centredness, and balance itself. When we activate these energies within us and bring them in from the Earth, we can find the healthy Qi flow we need for relaxing and optimum digestion.

In addition, the gallbladder (yang) and liver (yin) organs, help to keep things moving smoothly and the intestines, small and large, take in nutrients and remove wastes. In qigong the gut is the location of the lower dantian (energy centre) and is considered the second brain, the only energy centre where energy can be stored. Master Mantak Chia teaches that the structure of the intestines is like a battery and it can charge energy. This is where we can recharge the body with Qi, including food Qi, and the Qi we breathe in from our environment. Taking steps to nourish and strengthen these organs, and move Qi through their meridians (energy pathways) helps to address digestion on many levels, including physical, emotional, energetic, and even spiritual.

If you’d like to join me for this important and empowering workshop, Saturday, April 6, 2-4 pm at Cran Hall, please email me to register as space is limited. The $40 workshop fee includes a take-home booklet of all learned to support a home practice.



Spring Dao Yoga and Meditation series (March 30 to June 1, 2019)

Following nature’s lead, this series of Dao Yoga classes will embrace the power and depth of cleansing and new growth. Now is the time to cleanse the old and set sights on a new vision to foster growth and flow in body and in life. The yin organs that resonates with this fresh, new season are the liver (yin organ) and the gallbladder (yang organ). The element that resonates with spring is wood and the animal is the powerful dragon.

Dao yogic movements and postures include a focus on the body’s energy pathways (meridians), as well as healing sounds, breath work, and Qi Self-massage (acupressure points). We move, breathe, and rest in the postures (all on the mat, no standing) to allow for deep release—a safe and relaxing opening of the body so that healing and balancing Qi can flow. Enjoy a deep release of tension and incredibly relaxing flow of life force energy.

For details of times and prices, check the schedule page.

To register, email me.

Spring Qigong (March 26 to June 1, 2019)

In qigong’s Five Element Theory, spring is the time to cleanse and detoxify with the help of the spring yin organ (the liver) and spring yang organ (the gallbladder). Just as in nature, our energy is ascending, out of the cold, still winter months, to start fresh, with new clarity, vision, decision, growth and flow. We work with the spring element of wood and the spring animal, the dragon, to move out anything old, stale, or stagnant, including the emotions we hold in the liver—anger, resentment, and impatience. We activate kindness, compassion, and the power of creativity. Join me for the inspiring and transforming practice of qigong, including Qi massage, Dao yoga, and guided meditation, with all the fresh new life force Qi of spring as our teacher.

I’ve designed the spring series of qigong classes to do the following:

  • Gently but powerfully cleanse and detoxify body, mind, and energy, and balance metabolism and hormones.
  • Transform the stuck—no longer useful—anger that causes blocks and stagnation in the flow of the human electrical energy system.
  • Activate and cultivate the natural, virtuous energies of the liver and gallbladder—compassion, kindness, clarity, new spiritual vision/perspective, decision-making power, the ability to act on one’s vision—to support new growth.
  • Cultivate strength, resiliency and flexibility (in life and in the tendons, ligaments, muscles, and fascia) so that energy in the body and in one’s life and new vision will flow smoothly.

The first three classes are for cleansing and detoxifying, the next three classes to empower a new vision or perspective, the next three classes to ensure that vision and one’s life can flow smoothly, and the last class to bring it all together. In addition to meditation, Qi self-massage, and Dao yin yogic postures and movements, we will practice the wonderful, ancient Swimming Dragon Qigong—a form that offers a wealth of benefits when done regularly, including weight loss, improved digestion, balancing of endocrine system, relaxation of nervous system, increase of healing Qi, and transformation of conscious energy. The practice is so beneficial it is called the “Qigong of Longevity.”

For details of times and prices, check the schedule page.

To register, email me.

Shibashi forms 16 and 17

Image result for public domain i ching wheelThis week we will review movements 14 and 15 of the Shibashi practice (Punching and Flying like a Wild Goose) then learn movements 16 and 17 to complete the entire Shibashi set. We already know movement 18, the closing form in which we scoop all the Qi we’ve cultivated into the lower dantian.

16. Turning the Wheel: This movement promotes blood circulation, aids in weight loss and relieves pain and tension in the back. Since the movement is initiated from the waist, it stimulates kidney and bladder meridians and is, therefore, deeply calming and releasing, boosting energy levels in a short time. This turning also helps to purify the liver and intestines, eliminating waste and stagnation, so that vital, balance, healthy Qi can flow more freely.

17. Bouncing a Ball: This movement increases coordination, balances left and right brain, improves balance, increases strength in feet and legs, and is very helpful for insomnia and fatigue. Energetically bouncing a ball helps us to balance logic and creativity.

I’m looking forward to practicing the entire Shibashi set with you during our last three weeks of winter practice. Many of you have shared that the set is cultivating calm, peace, and flowing Qi in body, energy, and life. It is a beautiful sight for me to see you practice it and to experience all of us moving together as a qigong community.


© Sandra Tonn

Shibashi forms 14 and 15

This week we will review movements 12 and 13 of the Shibashi practice (Playing with Waves and Spreading your Wings) then learn movements 14 and 15.

  1. Punching: This movement is also known as “Punching with an Steady Gaze to Increase Strength,” as it helps to move the energy/emotion of outdated or stagnant anger out of the liver. We do this, however, softly, with compassion, which is also a liver energy. A healthy release of anger increases inner strength and overall vitality, leaving us with positive change and clarity. This practice also improves conditions related to the lungs and nervous system and is very helpful in the case of insomnia.


  1. Flying like a Wild Goose: In China, wild geese are symbols of yin and yang because they migrate to avoid the yang heat of summer and again to avoid the cold and dark yin of winter. In doing this movement we can imagine our big, wild wings flying with the purpose of finding balance between yin and yang. The gentle, floating practice is very helpful for headaches, mental stress and anxiety and to quiet body and mind.

We’ll also practice Turtle Drinks from Deep Pools for the next three weeks, to further nourish and balance kidneys with the water element.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.


© Sandra Tonn

Shibashi forms 12 and 13

Image result for public domain images of wavesThis week we will review movements 10 and 11 of the Shibashi practice (Playing with Clouds and Scooping the Sea) then learn movements 12 and 13.

  1. Playing with Waves: This is probably my favourite movement in the Shibashi practice, not only because I love waves, but also because it generates so much calm but powerful Qi. If you experience insomnia, this is an excellent movement. It is also helpful for conditions related to the spleen, liver and lungs. Of course, working with the water element, playing with waves is also a good fit for our winter practice as it benefits the kidneys. Since pushing a wave is not possible, this movement helps us to practice wu wei (effortless effort) and cultivates ease and grace while strengthening body and energy.
  2. Spreading your Wings: A beautiful movement, this is soothing for the nervous system and conditions the heart and lungs while balancing Qi flow through their meridians. Since this movement gently opens and loosens tension or holding in the chest, it is helpful in the case of depression and low self-esteem. By embodying a sense of natural avian pride as we open our wings, we open up to self-respect and honour of true nature.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.


© Sandra Tonn

Shibashi forms 10 and 11

This week we will review movements 8 and 9 of the Shibashi practice (Carrying the Moon and Twisting the Waist/Pushing Hands) then learn movements 10 and 11.

  1. Playing with Clouds: This powerful but soft, beautiful practice relaxes the body’s “fight or flight” (sympathetic nervous system) response and switches us to the “rest, digest, heal” mode (parasympathetic nervous system). As a result, it is a very soothing movement that cultivates an alert, but relaxed state for the body and smooth Qi flow. The movement offers significant benefits to the digestive system and nervous system as well as increasing spiritual energy.
  2. Scooping the Sea: Our image with this movement is that we’re scooping up fresh, positive energy from the sea and using it to cleanse our body and energy. This movement is sometimes called “Touch the Sea, Look at the Sky,” lending the image of gathering Qi from both sources, yin and yang. This form brings benefits to the lungs and large intestine, our “taking in” and “letting go” organs, but supports all of the yin organs, helps strengthen the legs and back, and increases spiritual energy while soothing the nervous system.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.


© Sandra Tonn

Shibashi forms 8 and 9

This week we will review movements 6 and 7 of the Shibashi practice (Rowing the Boat and Holding a Ball) then learn movements 8 and 9.

  1. Carrying the Moon: This movement is perfect for this week’s new moon and Chinese New Year. It is helpful for conditions related to the spleen and stomach (earth element) and the liver and gallbladder (wood element). It is helpful, therefore, for digestion and weight loss, while boosting stamina. The spiraling of the movement increases Qi flow through the spine as well as the front and back body, which also tones the kidneys, heart and lungs. We use the image of the moon to soften and smooth our movements, while tapping into our ancient desire to understand and connect with the moon’s powerful cycles.
  1. Twisting Waist and Pushing Hands: This movement also strengthens the spleen and stomach, so is good for digestion, and also strengthens the lower back. We will use our “yi” (imagination or intention) to push from an inner strength to cultivate a strong centre and be grounded in the earth element.

In addition to our Shibashi practice, we will move our focus to the bones, which are governed by the kidneys, our winter yin organ. Since we’ve cleared away a lot of held stress over the past three weeks, we will go into a deeper cleansing with the Bone Marrow Cleanse.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.


© Sandra Tonn

QIGONG for WOMEN workshop (Saturday, March 9, 2019)


Join Sandra to celebrate International Women’s Day. She will guide you through a meditation, breath techniques, Qi self-massage, and standing Qi flow movements with a specific focus for supporting women in their body and life.

  • Empower three main energy centres
  • Balance hormones and nourish organs
  • Practice Qi self-massage and meditation
  • Increase Qi flow through energy pathways
  • Open the heart-mind, relax, and renew
  • Learn effective energy protection techniques
  • Find your centre.
  • Saturday, March 9, 2019, 2 – 4 p.m.
    Cranberry Community Hall (6828 Cranberry St., Powell River)
    $40 (price includes an original, printed resource for your home practice)
    Registration is required. To register email Sandra.

Shibashi forms 6 and 7

Image result for public domain images of rowing a boat in center of lakeThis week we will review movements 4 and 5 of the Shibashi practice (Separating Clouds and Twisting Waist/Rolling Arms) then learn movements 6 and 7.

  1. Rowing the Boat (in the Centre of the Lake): This very easy movement—circling arms back, up, and around to the front again—bring many benefits to the digestive system, opens the shoulders, and strengthen the arms, back, and kidneys. It is also said to increase mental clarity. The image of rowing in the middle of a calm and quiet lake cultivates a gentleness and peacefulness to our endurance. Also, notice that since you’re in the centre of the lake, you have already rowed half of your journey across. 
  1. Holding a Ball: This is a fun, light, movement—using the image of lifting a Qi ball across the body—and is said to increase spiritual energy and lift the spirit. Bringing some carefree and playful happiness to this movement, with a smooth and steady breath, increases the power and benefits cultivated. Because we’re twisting from the waist this movement is also very helpful for any conditions or imbalances, physical or energetic, related to the kidneys.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.


© Sandra Tonn