I have had an interest in Eastern culture for some time. I studied Japanese language and practiced Tae Kwan Do and Aikido in college, and read avidly on mysticism, philosophy, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. As a bodyworker I took classes in energy work such as Reiki and Esoteric Healing, and in Spring Forest Qigong. It all came together for me though when I found the Taoist Water Method approach of Bruce Frantzis and his school at Energy Arts. For the first time here was someone clearly and easily describing how all the things I was interested in worked and how they fit together, as well as introducing me to his system that I could begin to practice at my novice level and make slow but steady progress. The following video, and especially the meditation at the end, were what convinced me that here was someone who knew.
In 2012 I bought a couple of Bruce's books (Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body and the Tao of Letting Go), but had a hard time knowing if I was practicing correctly. Then I heard Bruce say that he recommended Dragon and Tiger Medical Qigong because it "can be practiced badly and still get 80% of the benefit". I thought "Hey, I can practice badly!" So I ordered the books and DVD on Dragon and Tiger and began practicing daily in 2014. In 2015 I also signed up for the Training Circle that Energy Arts has online which gives a wealth of information each month, and began practicing various parts of the interwoven system in addition. In June of 2017 I took the two week Teacher Training intensive with Bruce in Dragon & Tiger Qigong, and was certified to teach it in 2018.
Dragon and Tiger Qigong
Dragon and Tiger Qigong is what is known as a Medical Qigong, because in China it is used in clinics and privately to help people regain or maintain their health. It is a system to balance and energize the body. It consists of 20 repetitions of 7 movements, each one building on the one before to create an overall effect. Practice time of a full set can be done in 20 minutes or less from start to finish. The classes I am teaching are 10 weeks, one and half hours a week to learn the whole Dragon and Tiger set. You can look for upcoming classes on my "Classes and Events" page.. Click here for a description of the benefits of qigong.
Energy Arts also teaches a system of breathing distilled from Taoist training that is called Longevity Breathing. Breathing is a pretty important part of our lives, as Bruce likes to joke, "Try not doing it for a few minutes sometime". When my Dragon and Tiger learning curve highlighted for me how much I was holding in my breath, following the Taoist principle "separate and then combine" I began practicing the breathing exercises on their own. Now I am working to integrate them into the Qigong form. Because I was amazed at how much difference they made for me, I am teaching a workshop of some of the basic elements of Bruce's system, though I have not certified in it yet. Bruce has said that he considers the Longevity Breathing to be the most important thing most people can learn, and if he could only teach everyone one thing, that would be it.
Integration with Myofascial Release
I have found that the philosophies outlined in the Taoist approach align well with those espoused by John Barnes in his Myofascial Release therapy bodywork. The Taoist work has allowed me to become a better bodyworker (more grounded, focused, and clear with a much more relaxed work presence) in addition to the personal health benefits - more energy, better balance, and easier sleep..
In July of 2018 I completed a one week intensive with Bruce Frantzis learning the beginning of the art of Qigong Tuina. This gentle form of bodywork has profound effects - releasing tension in the nervous system and physical body, and helping to clear energetic blockages. The two primary methods employed are rhythmically opening and closing the joints and twisting the soft tissues of the body.