I spent the weekend at the beach with my galfriends - 'Sister Circle's' annual retreat at the Sylvia Beach Hotel - marvelous! It was rainy but not to cold; by Sunday had cleared off & there were high tides, so lunch at Depot Bay offered lovely view (without danger of being swept away!)
In a few weeks I'll begin Level III of Soaring Crane Qigong. ('chee gong') with Jo Ann Albrecht.
This form is designed to energize those in very poor health - "Professor Chen (who brought this form to Oregon) was diagnosed in 1982 with terminal cancer. Doctors gave her a 25% chance of recovery. In search for a cure, Professor Chen was introduced to Qigong.
"At that time, Professor Chen was an English Professor at University of International Business and Economics in China. After her remarkable recovery, Professor Chen became a devoted practitioner and has dedicated her life to teaching Qigong."
Jo Ann studied with Professor Chen & offers the teachings in a clear, dedicated way.
I have been practicing this form for ~ 8 years, having begun studying Tai Chi/qigong in my early 30s. My massage mentor suggested it as a way to learn good ergonomics, & felt it was well suited for exercise classes (& hoped we'd learn to teach it!)
When I lived & worked at Breitenbush Hot Springs, I had the opportunity to offer a 'daily well being' program & developed a style of 'drop in' Tai Chi which incorporated quite a bit of Qigong, focusing on the basics of breath, slow movement, attention to posture, & releasing 'negative' energy or chi, then bringing in positive energy.
Guests & fellow staff members often commented on my youthful appearance/radience after a class - & I looked forward to those bi-weekly offerings. When one of the cooks began offering Yoga classes, I sat across from her at dinner just after her first class, & noticed that same 'glow!'
In preparation for class, I've re-read the Soaring Crane level I manual, & been pulling out other qigong books. 'Qigong essence of the healing dance' by Garri Garripoli - one I ordered from Powells Books some time ago, is fascinating, with chapters on healing, on children & qigong (the author played with chi as a child, & assumed everyone did!) & interviews with masters from US, China & Canada; including one of his mentors, 92 year old Duan Zhi Liang. who does qigong in the morning, then 'spars with Kung Fu masters a third his age' before going to his offices & offering Chinese medicine & medical qigong (charging ~ $1 US per treatment!)
Gerri speaks of qigong as a dance, master Duan "uses the Chinese word hundun when he refers to his family's form of Qigong - 'chaos' ..." (p 26) mixing up movements, doing them in a different order each time, truely a 'dance.' This fits well with the classical Russian Ballet I began with (in my late 20s) where the teacher would listen to music, eyes shut, then give us the warm up routines for that day! One student, who'd studied ballet with my Tai Chi teacher (!) was quite puzzled that there was no set 'warm up' - it varried from day to day & class to class. Hundun.
This is the way I've taught Tai Chi/qigong; varying the order, using the same routines, but mixing them up, 'listening' for what to teach that day. The 'set form' of the Soaring Crane routines attracts me; will I actually teach this way?? (If I'm certified to teach it!!)
From Qigong essence: "When I began (with Master Duan) I had years of training in Tai Chi, ... in a world that seemed a bit crazy & unmanageable, perfecting my Tai Chi forms & repeating the prearranged sequence provided a sense of pride & security. Master Duan entered my life with his chaos theory & turned everything on its head. This 92 year old master never did anything in the same way or order twice." (p 17)
& "Bring the principles of Qigong into the basic activities that consume your life. With each step that you would normally take in a semiconscious way, bring consciousness into it. Link a deep breath to it. ... Reach for the door handle, . . . breath out. Pull it toward you . . . breathe in. ... Link a breath with action, this will slow you down." (p 33)
Essence of Qigong - bring presence to our daily activities!