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.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

 

Shibashi forms 4 and 5

This week we will review the first three movements of the Shibashi practice (Commending form, Opening the heart and lungs, and Dancing with rainbows), then learn the fourth and fifth movements.
4. Separating Clouds: Using the beautiful imagery of separating clouds over our heads, we circle arms, overlapping forearms at the Inner Gate (Pericardium 6) and Outer Gate (Triple Warm 5) points. This movement is calming and clearing for the heart and spirit and encourages fluid movement and the feeling cultivated by an opening sky—spaciousness, light, and freedom. Physically Separating Clouds is helpful for the shoulders and boost stamina.

5. Twisting Waist/Rolling Arms: We move from the waist in this form, which stimulates the belt meridian, our only horizontal energy pathway. When we stimulate the belt meridian, which circles around all our other meridians, we stimulate all the meridians. The twisting of the waist and rolling of the arms are wonderful movements for shoulders, elbows, wrists, and low back, and opens the lungs. Energetically we are also bringing Qi flow to the wood element organs—liver and gallbladder, which benefit us in countless ways including eye health and detoxification, and activating the virtues of creativity, kindness and generosity.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

Qi Self-Massage workshop (Feb. 2nd)

If you’ve been to my qigong classes, you know I consider Qi self-massage an important part of qigong.

Just what is Qi self-massage and how does it work? This massage technique, an ancient, traditional Chinese medicine practice, is a powerful, yet safe and simple, way to clear energy blockages from the body’s meridians (energy pathways) and rejuvenate the body’s senses and organs. In short, it’s a way to help release held tension and stagnation so Qi (life-force energy) can flow in the body. When energy flows, health grows.

There are different techniques to stimulate the flow of energy. Stretching opens the meridians. Massaging, most often by using the fingers to rub small circles on acupressure points along the meridians, releases stagnation and stimulates energy flow in the fascia (connective tissue). Tapping knocks out toxins and causes vibrations from the outside in, deep into the bones. Healing sounds cause vibration from the inside of the body toward the outside. We massage and tap along the natural flow (direction) of the meridians—up the kidney, liver, spleen, lungs, pericardium and heart (the yin channels); down the stomach, gall bladder, bladder, small intestine, triple heater and large intestine (the yang channels).

We also work with the organs. In qigong, the organs are associated with both acquired emotions and natural virtues. For example, stuck or stagnant anger or frustration (emotions held in the liver) may cause blockages or depletion in one’s energy and therefore in one’s body and life. By working with the liver meridian—for example, massaging a potent liver point on the top of the foot—the organ and meridian can be stimulated, allowing for Qi to flow, and the liver’s natural virtues of kindness and creativity to expand. Energetically, when a blockage is freed up, so is the organ, the body, and one’s life in this particular instance.

What’s wonderful about Qi self-massage is that you do not need to understand traditional Chinese medicine or be an advanced qigong practitioner to experience significant benefits. This practice is easy and feels good. There is a Chinese proverb, “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” Qi self-massage helps us to relax into health, balance and harmony with healing energy flowing to our body, mind and spirit.

If you have not yet registered for the upcoming Qi Self-Massage workshop (Saturday, February 2, 2019, 2-4 pm) and would like to, click here for more details and/or email me to register. No experience is necessary for this workshop.

Shibashi forms 1, 2, and 3

This week, we will learn and practice the first three movements from the Taiji Qigong Shibashi forms sequence.

As discussed in an earlier blog, this wonderful 18-form sequence, created by Professor Lin Housheng in 1979, is the most popular routine in China today and practiced around the world by more than 10 million people. The routine, which includes 18 easy movements synchronized with the breath, is truly a peaceful experience and deeply relaxing.

  1. Commencing form: This movement pumps qi from the lower dantian so it can flow through the whole body. It also helps to create grounding, deepen the breath, calm the mind, settle and unblock the liver, and inspire patience and composure. It is very easy to do, but the more one focuses on synchronizing the movement with the breath the more benefits are cultivated.
  2. Opening the heart and lungs: This movement softens and opens the chest, conditioning the heart and lungs, and moves qi through their meridians (in the arms). This movement is very helpful for those with high blood pressure. It encourages smooth blood flow through both the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and is a great benefit to the nervous system as well. You may notice this movement helps cultivate a relaxed and spacious feeling in body and energy.
  3. Dancing with rainbows: In this beautiful movement we imagine rainbows moving (dancing) between our hands (shining from the lao gong points) as we scoop colourful, healing qi into the bai hui (crown) point, benefiting the whole body. Physically, this movement also helps relieve back pain and decrease excess fat from the waist area.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

Qigong for Stress and Anxiety

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Sandratonn CLASS ANNOUNCEMENT 0 Comments

One of the ways qigong is effective for those of us feeling stressed or anxious is through the power of the breath. In fact, the Harvard Medical School names qigong as one of the ways in which to “turn down your response to stress.”1The breath can bring space and softness to tension and held or blocked emotion. The lower belly breathing we do—breathing into the lower dantian or energy field—loosens up tense muscles and signals the brain that we are relaxing, so it can turn off the flight or fight stress response. Long, smooth breaths, in and out of the nose, shift us from the sympathetic nervous system (where we react to stress) to the parasympathetic nervous system (where we can rest and also digest both nutrition and life experience).

Registration is open for the upcoming Qigong for Stress and Anxiety workshop where we will use the breath during guided meditation, dao yoga body breathing, and also our flowing qigong movements. We’ll also practice self-help sound healing and Qi self-massage to specifically move and address stress and anxiety.

Saturday, January 12, 2019, 2 – 4 pm
Cranberry Community Hall (6828 Cranberry St., Powell River)
$40 (price includes an original, printed resource for your home practice)
Note: If you’ve already taken this workshop and would like to attend again you may do so for half the price.

Classes are scent-free. Please dress in layers. The room will be well heated, but windows will be cracked open for fresh Qi to circulate. For this workshop please bring indoor shoes and a blanket.

Class size is limited. To register email Sandra.

  1. Harvard Medical School. “Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response,” Harvard Health Publishing, Boston, March 18, 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

WINTER DAO YOGA–deep peace

Following nature’s lead, this series of Dao Yoga classes will embrace the power and depth of stillness and quiet. Now is the time to recharge and rejuvenate our physical and energy bodies. The yin organs that resonates with this cool, dark season are the kidneys—our energy batteries and the home of our original Qi (life force energy).

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

The kidney meridians regulate all of the fluid in the body, including water, the blood, hormones, bone marrow, cerebrospinal fluid, lymph, and joint lubrication. Water, the element that resonates with winter and the kidneys, will help inspire us to go with the flow for our winter practice.

Students in past Dao Yoga classes have commented on the deep relaxation and calm they feel during and after the class and how their sleep has improved. It is a wonderful way to slow down, calm the nervous system, and bring balance to a busy and/or stressful lifestyle.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.

If you’ve not yet registered for a winter session of classes, you can see more details on the schedule page and email me to register.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

WINTER QIGONG series–deep calm and nourishment

Winter, in qigong’s Five Element Theory, is the time to recharge our energy batteries, the kidneys, and to sink down in to the silence, stillness, and deep calm this time of year allows for and encourages. The kidneys help to regulate all of the fluid in the body, including water, the blood, hormones, bone marrow, cerebrospinal fluid, lymph, and joint lubrication. Water, the element that resonates with winter and the kidneys, will guide and inspire us to go with the flow.

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

  1. Renew and build up energy reserves by nourishing the kidneys,
  2. Gently but powerfully transform the stress and fear that cause blocks and stagnation in the flow of our human electrical energy system.
  3. Activate and cultivate the natural, virtuous energies of the kidneys—deep peace, calm, wisdom, stillness, gentleness, vitality, determination, will power, and equanimity.

In addition to meditation, Qi self-massage, and dao yin yogic postures and movements, I’m excited to offer teachings in the wonderful Taijiquan Qigong practice of Shibashi. The Shibashi Set One practice is the most popular routine in China today and practiced around the world by more than 10 million people, including Malaysia and Indonesia where it is considered a national health exercise. The routine, which includes 18 easy movements synchronized with the breath, is truly a peaceful experience and deeply relaxing.

A regular practice of Shibashi is said, by my instructor Master Wing Cheung, to reduce mental stress and physical tension; improve conditions related to the heart, liver, lungs, and nervous system; improve high blood pressure; help to relieve physical pain (including back, shoulder, wrist, elbow, etc.); improve digestion; aid in weight loss and decrease fat around the waist; increase lung capacity; boost stamina and vitality; decrease insomnia, anxiety and headaches; aid in balancing hormones; increase mental clarity; increase spiritual energy, and much, much more.

My hope is that by the end of our 10 weeks of winter practice together you will feel deeply nourished, peaceful, rejuvenated, and also have the 18 movements of the Shibashi practice to take away with you.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.

If you’ve not yet registered for a winter session of classes, you can see more details on the schedule page and email me to register.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

Winter Solstice DAO YOGA class

When seasons change, our Qi (life force energy) should automatically, according to natural law, adjust to match nature’s new frequency. In our modern life this does not always happen smoothly or naturally. Without a smooth transition we are more vulnerable to imbalance and illness. Water is the element that represents and resonates with winter, so we will use it in this class to help during this special and important time of transition—winter solstice.  The yin organ for winter is the kidneys. The healing sound is “Choo,” and the energy colour is a deep blue and/or black.

Winter brings us to the time and place of moving inward. It is a very yin, slow, quiet, still, and meditative time. Just as nature draws inward and slows while growth takes a pause, it is our time for deep resting, regeneration, building and conserving energy, and filling up our reserves. Winter is also a time to tend to and transform fear, stress, and loneliness. I’ve wondered lately if the busy and bright Christmas season, with all of its spending, socializing, drinking, and overeating, has become an acceptable way to escape our intuitive need and natural drive to sit down with the darkness—to embrace it and feel it and learn from it.

The balancing emotions and virtues of the water element, which reside in the spirit of the kidneys, include deep calm and peace, deep wisdom and self-understanding, stillness, determination, will power, and the ability to go with the flow—like water—and adapt to the constant and inevitable changes in our lives.

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

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

Home Practice workshop

I often hear from qigong students that they have trouble remembering what they learn in our qigong classes and so cannot practice qigong at home. Memorizing movements and sequences is not the goal of qigong in class or for at home. Memorizing is a mental practice. Qigong is a practice that is very much rooted in the body. I do not memorize qigong. I practice it until I know it, in my body and my energy, and you can do the same.

Understanding how to work with your energy and knowing ways in which to do so is a more authentic and rewarding means of establishing a home practice. With an intention to help your Qi flow, some trust in your own wisdom, and some practical experience and guidance, a home practice can greatly increase the benefits you are already cultivating through attending regular group practice.

Even a brief, but regular, home practice is amazingly transforming and powerful. In the upcoming Home Practice workshop, I will outline how to structure a home practice, whether you want a short daily practice, a weekly long practice, or something in between.

 

The workshop, and your accompanying booklet, will cover the following:

  • Eight options for meditation
  • The most important and potent Qi self-massage (acupressure) points from which to choose a short, medium, or full practice.
  • How to structure a standing qigong flow practice including options for:
    • Opening the flow of Qi
    • Warming up the spine
    • Clearing and purging
    • Daoist Yang Tonifying movement
    • Daoist Five Yin Tonifying movements
    • Centering, circulating, and storing Qi
    • Ending your session

Your take-home booklet also includes a chart for the five yin organs along with their associated element and season, energy colour, acquired emotions, and natural virtues, as well as a summary page to help you choose options with which to format your practice.

Attendance will be limited to 15. Please do not sign up if you cannot fully commit to attending. If the workshop has a wait list I will offer it again as soon as possible. This workshop has been created from my heart and passion to empower you to invite qigong into your life outside of class time, in whatever little or big way that is perfect for you.

Email me to register.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn