class announcement

Summer Qigong (outside!)

Much of our summer qigong classes will focus on the element of fire and its corresponding organs, the heart (yin organ), and the small intestine (yang organ). The corresponding sense organ is the tongue (speech). The healing sound is “Haaa,” and the energy colour is red (or pink if you have high blood pressure or a heart condition).

Fire—the heart—is our radiant light, like the sun that sustains life on earth. This warm spark of life is what is traditionally called the “Palace of the Spirit.”

The heart centre is the location of the middle dantian—home of the heart mind. We now know, through scientific research, just how true this ancient idea of “heart-mind” is since there is more electromagnetic energy and neurons in the heart than in the brain.

The acquired emotions or states of the heart may include impatience, hastiness, sorrow, arrogance, cruelty and hate. The balancing and natural virtues of the heart include joy, passion, sincerity, honour, love, forgiveness, healthy boundaries, and order.

A closed or blocked heart, or imbalance in the fire element, are often related cold hands and feet, hot flashes, hard arteries, high blood pressure, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and anxiety. Digestive ailments, such as heartburn, diarrhea and constipation may be related to excess heat caused by an imbalance in the fire element.

When open and in balance, heart Qi is experienced as innate joy, nourishment and the feeling of warmth, the ability to build healthy relationships, a willingness to forgive, the ability to follow one’s passion and complete projects, and a feeling of interconnectedness with nature and life.

One of the easiest and best things for the heart is to laugh, which vibrates the energy of joy and lightness through the body, uplifting the spirit, so we will practice laughing qigong. We will also take advantage of the space and nature of the outdoors by practicing tree qigong and Qi walking, and will work with the element water (kidney) to help balance fire. Summer is also the time to work with the Earth element and the spleen and stomach meridians to cultivate balance and trust.

I hope you will come out to experience just how powerful qigong is in the outdoors and to help yourself find the balance and energy available in this sometimes hot and busy season.

I’m looking forward to practicing with you.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

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.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

 

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.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

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.

Namaste,
Sandra

© Sandra Tonn

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.

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