class announcement

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

Inner Smile Meditation

The Inner Smile Meditation is an amazingly simple and powerful practice that will literally change your body, mind, spirit and life. It is a thousands-year-old, traditional Daoist practice for inner alchemy—to transform low-grade energy into flowing, healing high-grade energy. Low energy, when in excess, stuck, or stagnant, negatively affects our Qi, or life force energy, and may contribute to chronic disease. The inner smile, with its energy of love and joy, can transform energy in the organs, glands, muscles, nervous system, bones—the entire body.

The best way to understand the trans formative power of this meditation is to experience it, but there is also a growing amount of scientific information today that helps to explain the many benefits and effectiveness of this ancient practice. We now know, for example, through neuroscientific research, that the act of smiling activates neurotransmitters (chemical signals in the brain) that help to counteract stress.1 A smile also triggers the release of the so-called “feel good” neurotransmitters (dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin), which not only makes us feel good, but also can positively affect heart rate and blood pressure.Endorphins are also powerful natural pain relievers, and serotonin is a natural antidepressant. 3,4

The science of psychoneuroimmunology has explained that the physical act of smiling boosts immunity. When we smile the brain assumes all is well and that we’re happy, and happy people live longer. 5,6 If you’ve ever felt uplifted, loved, or relieved when someone smiled at you, you’ve experienced the powerful energy of a smile. A smile can literally change our energy.

In the Inner Smile Meditation practice, we open and activate the heart-mind—the heart centre, which emits electromagnetic energy that changes according to our present emotions. The heart also sends more signals to the brain than visa versa, influencing the brains’ perception, emotional experience, and higher mental processes.7

In the practice, we use our intention and visualization to capture the essence or energy of a smile and bring it into the body. The eyes, including the inner eye we use to visualize, are connected to all the organs and glands by way of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates their actions. With focus we move the inner smile energy through the body and do our transforming with the help of each organ’s natural virtues. We use colour, sensations, and our breath. The result is powerful and, when done regularly, cumulative and evolutionary.

I remember doing an hour-long Inner Smile Meditation one day when something incredible happened. I was working in the lungs and had been for many weeks. To be specific, I was working with grief. All of a sudden, the heart was radiating energy of love and the liver sent up some compassion. Instead of just trying to get rid of my grief and the physical symptoms and blocks it had caused, I realized I needed to acknowledge it with the softness and power of love and compassion. I was amazed at the wisdom of my organs and body, and excited to know that the Inner Smile Meditation could help in such a profound way.

Simple but powerful, this technique is natural, easy to do, and so very, very effective. You get to know your body and its organs and other structures in an entirely new way. A friendly, supportive, and loving way. It is a gentle tool that can do heavy work, melting long frozen fear, softening hard anger, and freeing stuck anxiety. Practice regularly and feel how it transforms you, your day, your health, and your life.

At the Inner Smile Meditation workshop we will take the time to dive deeper into this practice, learn and experience the benefits and techniques, and also try the different, even quick, ways to use it in your every day life. Your take-home booklet will provide more information, resources, and instruction.

Namaste,
Sandra

References:

  1. Abel E. and Kruger M. “Smile Intensity in Photographs Predicts Longevity,” Psychological Science, 2010: 21, 542–544.
  2. Seaward, Brian Luke. “Managing Stress: Principles and strategies for health and well-being,” Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Sudbury, Massachusetts, 2006.
  3. Lane, Richard DR, et al. Neural correlates of conscious emotional experience. In R.D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.), CognitiveNeuroscience of Emotion, 2000: 345-370.
  4. Karren KJ, et al. “Mind/Body Health: The effect of attitudes, emotions and relationships,” Benjamin Cummings, New York, New York, 20009.
  5. Beres, A. “Does happiness help healing? Immune response of hospitalized children may change during visits of the Smiling Hospital Foundation’s Artists,” Orvosi Hetilap, 2011.
  6. Lawrence, E. et al. “Happiness and longevity in the United States,” Social Science & Medicine, 2015: 115-119.
  7. “The Mysteries of the Heart,” HeartMath®Institute, Boulder Creek, California, 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.heartmath.org/resources/infographic/mysteries-of-the-heart/

© Sandra Tonn

FALL QIGONG

This practice of qigong matches nature and its season of fall by focusing on the element of metal and its corresponding organs, the lungs (yin), and the large intestine (yang). The corresponding sense organ for this season is the nose as well as our largest organ, the skin.

The lungs, like metal, offer strength, structure, and all the ability to bring in Qi from our external sources of life energy. This element, as with the lungs, large intestine, nose and skin, governs the ability to take in and let go—of oxygen and carbon dioxide, nutrition and waste, energy, ideas, habits, relationships, life. The lungs offer protection as well as a home for courage, integrity, grief, and sorrow.

The acquired emotions or states of the lungs when out of balance, deficient or in excess, may include grief, sadness, sorrow, depression, shame, guilt, and despair, as well as anxiety. The balancing and natural virtues of the lungs include integrity, resiliency, courage, strength, reverence, justice, righteousness, and detachment.

Blocks or imbalance in the metal element, are often related to constipation, diarrhea, headache, lung disorders (such as asthma), sinus congestion, allergies, fatigue, and loss of enthusiasm for life. Unresolved grief is often at the root of many physical lung problems. Holding on to the energy of grief, sadness, and the past I the lungs can lead to colon ailments. When we hold, instead of feeling emotions and allowing them to move through us, we stop and block energy flow.

When open and balanced, metal Qi is experienced as the ability to encounter difficulty with openness and strength, quiet integrity, confidence, and a willingness to release physical and emotional wastes, including old beliefs, habits and behaviours, and unhealthy relationships.

The ability to experience our moments as precious and be present in them, whether they are happy or sad, is the power of lung Qi. Strong and balanced lung Qi and the metal element provide us with the courage to bring in life and also to let it move through us in a timely way.

Our fall practice will use the inner smile meditation and lung healing sound to practice the alchemy of transforming held or stuck energy. Our Qi self-massage will focus on stimulating the lung and large intestine meridians (energy pathways) to further allow for energetic balance and flow. Our stretching, posture, breath work, and flowing qigong movements will connect us with our lungs, open, clear, purge, tone, and cultivate fresh and supportive Qi into the physical and energy bodies.

We will work with the healing sound for the lungs, which is “Ssss,” and the energy colour, which is a pure, brilliant white. We will practice Ocean Breathing, Tiger Claws, the Daoist Five Tonification movements for Heart and Lungs, Lung Healing Sound, Silken Form, Compassionate Heart Qigong, and more.

See the fall schedule here.

Namste,
Sandra

 

© Sandra Tonn

SUMMER QIGONG

We’re two weeks away from the end of the Spring Qigong Series and people have been asking whether I will be teaching qigong in the summer. The short answer is, “Yes!”

The longer answer is that for me, personally, qigong is a way of life and I practice daily, all year round. Part of my commitment to qigong as a way of life is working to make it a significant part of my career so I can share it with others through significant offerings in our community. That means I am committed to making classes available year-round. I think you’ll find the more you do qigong and invite it into your routine, your body, and your life, the more you will realize its cumulative effect and want to keep building on and benefiting from it.

All of that being said, I recognize that summer is a busy time and that we want to be free to partake in summer activities and festivals and also to be outside. So…I’ve decided to make it as easy and convenient as possible for you to come out and continue a qigong practice.

Summer classes—for all of June, July, and August—will be all drop-in (no need to commit to a block of classes or notify me ahead of time). All summer classes will be only $10 each, and all the classes will be outdoors! Classes are all 50-60 minutes long and all standing so there is no need to bring anything. (Sitting, as always, is perfectly do-able, but please bring a portable chair.)

So, all you have to do is show up! In fact, I’ll be offering more classes than usual—four every week—so that you have more options for fitting your practice into your busy and shifting summer schedule.

There will be a three-week pause between spring and summer practice, except for the Qigong for Women workshop May 19th. During that pause I’ll be taking a week off work. Please note that I’ll be completely offline for some of that time—meditating, practicing, and being in nature—so don’t think I’m ignoring you if you message or email and I don’t respond. Then I will be preparing classes for the summer.

I’m so excited about practicing outdoors with you. Qigong outside, in nature, with the elements, is absolutely amazing. You’ll see. In June we’ll practice TREE QI, in July we’ll practice SUN QI, and in August, EARTH QI.

Here is the summer schedule, which is also available on my website at this link.

  • Tuesdays: 10-11 am at Willingdon Beach Park (rain or shine; meet by the Rotary Pavillion)
  • Tuesdays: 5:30-6:30 pm at Lindsay Park (7179 Cranberry St., East of Marlatt)
  • Thursdays: 10-11 am at A. Evans Park (6749 Drake St., between Manson and Ortona)
  • Saturdays: 10-11 am at Lindsay Park (7179 Cranberry St., East of Marlatt)

Please note that a business licence, commercial booking fee, and insurance has been paid to teach in these City of Powell River parks.

If you have any questions, just let me know.

Namaste,

Sandra

 

© Sandra Tonn

QIGONG for WOMEN workshop (Saturday, May 19, 2018)

Join Sandra as she guides 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, May 19th, 2018, 10 a.m. – noon
    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.

Join me for World Qigong Day

So many of you stop to thank me after qigong and dao yoga classes and I often say, “Thank you, too,” or  “I couldn’t do it without you,” which you may think is just a nice thing I say, but it’s absolutely true. A teacher needs students. I could not dedicated myself and part of my career to investing in and building to a qigong community, creating classes and workshop, and continuing my own practice and studies in such a serious way if it weren’t for your interest and dedication.

You showing up means I can keep showing up. You showing up shows me that the natural, healing power of qigong is an important practice for me to share with people. You showing up means I can share my passion and what I believe is, at this point in my life, my life’s work.

As a thank you, I’d like to invite you to join me for some free Qi, on World Tai Chi and Qigong Day–outside at Willingdon Beach Park–Saturday, April 28th at 10 a.m. Save the date!

If you are able to join me, you will be among thousands doing qigong (the grandmother of tai chi)  in 80 countries, starting at the earliest time zones of Samoa and ending in the last time zones of Hawaii. Everyone starts at 10 a.m. in their own time zone. While this invitation is especially for you, please feel free to spread the word and invite or bring anyone who may be interested in trying qigong. The class will be accessible for new and experienced practitioners. We will start promptly at 10 a.m.

Come out to experience and add to the flow of Qi across the globe!

  • No charge and no registration necessary.  Please note that a business licence, commercial booking fee, and insurance has been paid to teach in this City of Powell River park.

QIGONG for STRESS and ANXIETY

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.”1 The 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).

There are a few spots left in 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.

Here is a link to more information about the workshop and to register: https://qisandra.ca/2018/02/19/qigong-for-stress-and-anxiety-workshop/

  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

SPRING QIGONG and SPRING DAO YOGA

Spring Qigong (8-week series):

Join Sandra as she guides participants through the spring season with a focus on cleansing, renewal, and growth. The spring element is wood, both rooted and reaching, like a tree, and the yin organ is the liver–the body’s major detoxifying gland. The emotional and spiritual aspects of this season include the transformation of held anger and frustration, and opening up to the energy of kindness, generosity, creativity, and compassion. Find your inspiration and your grounding.

  • Tuesdays: 10-11:15 am  (Mar 20-May 8, 2018)
  • Fridays: 10-11:15 am (Mar 23-May 11, 2018)
    Cranberry Community Hall (6828 Cranberry St., Powell River)

Each series listed above is $112 total. (Those attending two classes a week are discounted to $192 total.) Drop-ins are welcome at $16 per class if space allows. Spaces fill up quickly and class size is limited. To register email Sandra.

 

Spring Dao Yoga (8-week series):

Join Sandra to slough off winter and sigh into spring with a focus on cleansing, renewal, and relaxing into new energy. This class is done entirely on the mat. Enjoy guided energy meditation; Qi-self massage on acupressure points; slow and accessible stretches to open energy flow through the joints, connective tissue and energy pathways; breath work; seated qigong flow movements; and guided deep relaxation. The spring element is wood, both rooted and reaching like a tree, and the yin organ is the liver–the body’s major detoxifying gland. The emotional and spiritual aspects of the spring season include anger and frustration vs. kindness, generosity, creativity, and compassion. Find your release and your spring of energy.

  • Tuesdays: 5:30-6:45 pm (Mar 20-May 8, 2018)
    Cranberry Community Hall (6828 Cranberry St., Powell River)

This series is $112 total. (Those attending two classes a week (one qigong and one dao yoga) are discounted to $192 total.) Drop-ins are welcome at $16 per class if space allows. I need eight people registered to make this inspiring new class a go. To register email Sandra.

QIGONG for STRESS and ANXIETY workshop

There are many ways qigong can help us work with, ease, and shift stress and anxiety. Not only that, qigong can help us replace that energy with grounded peace, calm, trust, and gratitude. In qigong we are working with Qi—life force energy. Such energy is calming and energizing at the same time. Qigong gives you a chance to close the door on old stress, work positively with current stress, and start a new, fresh chapter in your body and your life—one that offers tools to cultivate true calm and deep peace.

In this workshop you will learn specific breathing techniques, sound healing, mind power, Qi self-massage, and energy flow to create a simple daily practice to support, soothe, and uplift both body and energy.

Saturday, March 17, 2018, 10 am-noon.
Cranberry Community Hall (6828 Cranberry St., Powell River)
$40 (price includes an original, 14-page printed resource for your home practice)

Registration is required. To register email Sandra.