Mon, 30 December 2013
Next month, we'll be starting a new Energy Gates course at Brookline Tai Chi, focused on Outer Dissolving and working through the Gates of the body.
When you work on dissolving the gates, you will inevitably be fighting the urge to:
In this episode of Qigong Radio, I'll give my recommendations for avoiding these pitfalls and for setting up the conditions for actual energetic resolution.
If you'll indulge me, I'll even share one of my favorite passages from Moby Dick and tell you why I think it's a perfect description of standing qigong.
Here we go!
Thu, 31 October 2013
As you know from other episodes of Qigong Radio and other interviews, I always try to track down authoritative sources when I want to learn more about a subject and share it with you.
Now that my teacher Bruce Frantzis is releasing two more DVD sets on Xingyi’s Five Elements, I wanted to talk to someone about these practices.
To the best of my knowledge, Isaac Kamins is the only person actively teaching the Energy Arts Xingyi curriculum who also trained with Bruce Frantzis in weekly classes for several years in the Bay Area in the 90′s.
Isaac has shared his deep knowledge of the Energy Arts system in past episodes of Qigong Radio and I think you’ll find that he doesn’t hold back on his training insights in this one.
Be sure to visit http://dankleiman.com/?p=4959 for a free Xingyi practice download!
Wed, 23 October 2013
When you set out to learn Taoist Energy Arts like Tai Chi, qigong, or meditation, you come across the lore of masters with supernatural abilities or techniques too deadly to teach openly.
Or more insidious, we grasp after images of unattainable perfection, always slightly beyond reach, unless we just find the right technique or are initiated into a secret practice.
And even if we’ve given up silly kung fu fantasies of flying through the bamboo reeds, on a subtle level we still chase ideas and dreams that only live in the mental realm.
The reality – and I’m not trying to disappoint you, but stay with me because the reality is deeply rewarding, meaningful, and rich too – is that Taoist Energy Arts must be lived-through and practiced-through to be truly discovered.
In this episode of Qigong Radio, Paul Cavel and I explore the disconnect you can sometimes feel in the day-to-day of your practice and the idea of where you ought to be in your practice – it’s not because you must be a chosen one or special to get it, but rather, because you can't directly perceive or experience energy when you operate solely on the mental realm.
We’ll give you some guidelines for how to recognize when you slip back into the mental realm of fantasy practice and talk about the struggles, as a student and as a teacher, of communicating your practice experience.
Paul also shares specific neigong techniques that will keep you present, engaged, and help you cultivate a direct experience of your natural internal energy, that can be applied to any energy practice.
Thu, 18 July 2013
In this episode of Qigong Radio, Don Miller and I explore the essential elements of Tai Chi Balance Training.
As you probably know, Tai Chi is being used more and more for falls prevention programs for the elderly and becoming a mainstream part of the Western medical vocabulary.
But what are the actual elements that make up a great Tai Chi balance training program?
How can you use them for your own well-being?
How do you share Tai Chi balance training with your friends and family?
Here are our thoughts on:
We explore student experiences, roadblocks, and concerns as well as giving you practical tidbits to play with while you listen.
Thu, 30 May 2013
In his new book, the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, Dr. Peter Wayne lays out the "8 Active Ingredients of Tai Chi" to help us understand the interface between traditional Tai Chi practice and the Western biomedical paradigm.
As the Research Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, jointly based at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and the founder of the Tree of Life Tai Chi Center, Peter blends more than three decades of teaching experience with ongoing inquiry into what makes Tai Chi an effective medical intervention.
In this episode of Qigong Radio, we explore the development of the 8 Active Ingredients and how help translate Tai Chi into a Western context
The 8 Active Ingredients of Tai Chi are:
Thu, 18 April 2013
For the last couple of years, I've been teaching regular workshops in Farmington, Maine. When I went up again last week, I had a fascinating conversation with one of the students. She was telling me how the core group had been coming along and that other people have come in and out of practicing with them. She said, "you know, it's not really for everyone."
Now, I don't know if that jumps out at you as a significant statement, but as a Tai Chi teacher, it's something I've been thinking about for years.
In this one casual statement, she was really saying that her motivation to practice now comes from inside of herself. Along with a small group of dedicated classmates, she gets everything she needs from the practice itself.
That's a remarkable attitude. Every day, we get bombarded by messages that tell us to buy something to become something or fit in with other people. To be able to have a practice that lives inside of you, that's validated by performing it for yourself, and grows because you feed it with energy and time, is really incredible.
In this episode of Qigong Radio, we're going to talk about how you discover your intrinsic motivation to practice.
Let me know what you think!
Tue, 29 January 2013
In this episode of Qigong Radio, Energy Arts Senior Instructor Paul Cavel explains the 3 different layers of neigong practice:
Paul explains what to focus on at each level and how your learning spiral takes you back through them over time.
I found Paul's explanation of the relationships between the sets particularly useful. Specifically, understanding Energy Gates as direct preparation for Spiraling -- first you clear the downward flow of chi, then you strengthen the upward flow. Similarly, in Heaven and Earth you learn to expand the body (through opening/closing the joints and lengthening the soft tissue) before you really go into deep internal compression in Bend the Bow.
As we discussed the meaning of "integration," Paul explained how neigong is the basis for Taoist meditation and where neigong shows up inside your meditation practice.
Sun, 13 January 2013
In this episode of Qigong Radio, I answer some questions about different sensations readers have been experiencing when they practice.
In the Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong Instruction Manual, Bruce Frantzis lays out important guidelines for what kinds of "chi reactions" to expect. I want to show you how to apply these guidelines to your practice.
Listen to the episode to find out how to apply this principles to rising energy, activating the lower tantien, and differentiating between nerve flow, blood flood, and normal physical movement.
Mon, 12 November 2012
In this episode of Qigong Radio, Energy Arts Senior Instructor Eric Peters describes what it's like to work with the energy of the spine, using Bend the Bow Spinal Qigong.
Bend the Bow is an advanced qigong set that requires precise alignment and refined sensitivity, but it gives you access to a much deeper level of internal connection and coordination than standard ways of moving your body through space.
Once you download or listen to the episode below, you might also want to check out the description of Bend the Bow Spinal Qigong on EnergyArts.com.
Mon, 24 September 2012
At the center of Tai Chi practice, you cultivate your ability to listen — to your own internal state, to the energy of other people, and to the world around you.
When it comes to interaction, and intense interaction like conflict, your internal state matters.
The very first lesson you learn in Tai Chi Push Hands is that the outcome of an interaction is determined by your reaction, your internal state — whether you manifest tension or relaxation.
In this episode of Qigong Radio, we explore the different dimensions of this “law of interaction.”
Taking responsibility for the outcome of a situation by owning how you respond is a challenging idea, but the payoff is huge and maybe even transformational.
Mon, 27 August 2012
As you cultivate the mind-body benefits of Tai Chi, you will likely focus on solo training and interactive two-person practices like Pushing Hands.
There's a third kind of Tai Chi training, though, that will make the link between the other two stronger, Tai Chi Equipment Training.
Using stones, balls, disks, belts, and other objects you find in nature, you can develop important attributes of the Tai Chi body and mind.
Renown teacher and multiple-time national Push Hands champion Don Ethan Miller explains how to go about using objects to enhance your training in this episode.
Direct download: QR_Ep12_Don_Ethan_Miller_Tai_Chi_Equipment_Training.mp3
Category:Qigong -- posted at: 5:00am EDT
Mon, 6 August 2012
I'm posting this episode on my annual summer retreat/vacation/recharge, where I assess my practice and teaching from the past year and plan courses for the coming year.
This year, in the midst of big changes at Brookline Tai Chi, I've been wondering a lot about the way qigong practice informs your encounters with change in other areas of your life.
Of course, I always like to think that there's a strong connection, but this year everyone at Brookline Tai Chi is truly testing whether the art of smooth change in the classroom manifests itself in real life as well.
Mon, 16 July 2012
In this episode of Qigong Radio, I thought I was going to get a report about the Dragon and Tiger instructor training.
Yes, the six instructors who joined me for the episode talked about the training. If you missed Maui, you'll get a sense of what it was like.
But they also shared some true qigong gems with us, that I think you'll be able to apply to all of your energy practices.
Specifically, we discuss:
Mon, 25 June 2012
We just started summer classes at Brookline Tai Chi this week, which means new students are coming in for the first time and experienced students are coming back after a break.
That means there are lots of good questions floating around about getting started, making progress, and the frustrations you encounter along the way.
In this episode of Qigong Radio, I hope to address some of those concerns.
Specifically, I discuss:
Mon, 11 June 2012
What do we mean when we say we "put our mind inside our body" when we meditate, do qigong, or Tai Chi?
Dr. Cathy Kerr helps us understand this question from the perspective of modern neuroscience. In addition to being a Tai Chi practitioner, Cathy is the Director of Translational Neuroscience at Contemplative Studies Initiative and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Brown University.
Drawing on a growing body of research from mindfulness meditation, her own work on sensory processes, and ancient texts, Cathy explains these Eastern practices develop your Western brain in areas that span physical health as well as mental and emotional well-being.
Mon, 28 May 2012
The Spiraling Energy Body Qigong set is one of the toughest in the Energy Arts system, so I asked Energy Arts Instructor Isaac Kamins to tell us about his experiences with this practice.
In this episode of Qigong Radio, Isaac explains how as a teenager he came to appreciate the counter-intuitive approach the internal martial arts take to fighting and especially how developing the energetic sensitivity cultivated by Spiraling has influenced how he interacts with other people and the world around him, far beyond the martial arts.
Read more about Spiraling Energy Body Qigong.
Tue, 22 May 2012
If you've learned many different meditation, qigong, breathing, and movement practices over the years, you may be faced with the problem of trying to decide what to practice each day.
In this episode of Qigong Radio, I'll show you a framework for thinking about your different modes of practice and show you the single most important goal of an energy arts practice, regardless of the mode or specific techniques.
Specifically, we'll look at:
In this episode, I also recommend that you check out Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford if you want to learn more about seasonal practice.
Mon, 30 April 2012
When learning qigong or Tai Chi, people are often either more tuned into to energy or to their physical bodies. I asked my first qigong and Tai Chi teacher, Energy Arts Senior Instructor and founder of Brookline Tai Chi, Bill Ryan to explain why this is.
More importantly, Bill teaches you how to navigate the experiences of developing your internal energy, regardless of how you first become aware of them. It turns out, you're probably already more tuned in than you think.
If you are very sensitive to energy, Bill also has some great advice about how to become more grounded and balanced.
Read more about Qigong with Bill Ryan.
Wed, 11 April 2012
One thing that's been on my mind since Bruce was here teaching a Push Hands Intensive is what it means to follow instructions in your training. He basically laid out a year or longer curriculum during a week. What do you come away with? What should you practice? How do you reconcile "downloading" a whole curriculum at once vs. really upacking it and learning to use it over the next year.
These are interesting problems to have, right?
Wed, 4 April 2012
When you spend a month training Tai Chi 10-12 hours a day, what happens when you go home? What does it feel like several months later when your life has returned to normal? Is it a let down? Do you need to be inspired again to continue your training?
What have you continued to discover about your practice? How has the intensive training infused your teaching?
I sat down with several Energy Arts Tai Chi instructors to discuss these issues for Episode 3 of Qigong Radio. Here’s what they had to say. Since we were all together for a Push Hands training, designed to be a follow-up to the Short Form training, we also talked about the ways we were seeing connections between the two topics.
Read more about Tai Chi Intensives.
Sat, 24 March 2012
I sat down with Energy Arts Senior Instructor Paul Cavel to discuss the developemental process of the soft tissue of the body - muscles, fascia, ligaments - in the internal arts. Paul talks about the different stages that you will go through and how to recognize when you are ready to move on to the next one. Learn more from Paul at CircleWalking.com or RelaxationMeditation.co.uk and you can always visit me at DanKleiman.com.
Read more about Soft Tissue Development in Qigong.
Thu, 22 March 2012
Why is the Marriage of Heaven and Earth - and it's primary neigong technique of "opening and closing" - considered the bridge between beginner-level and advanced practice? I asked Energy Arts Senior Instructor Eric Peters, who first learned this exercise 30 years ago, to explain. We are joined by several other Energy Arts Instructors for the conversation.
Read more about the Marriage of Heaven and Earth Qigong.