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Tai Chi and Qigong: The Art of Inner and Outer Balance Part 2

September 25, 2023
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM PDT
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2023-09-26 00:00
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We continue and deepen where we left off in Part One. Now that we are connoisseurs of relaxation we will go deeper into the “first road” of the Yang Short Form, layering in important principles that will enhance your practice. Plus we will learn a couple of additional movements that can be practiced by themselves.

We will also go deeper into our Standing meditation practice, also known as Zhan Zhuang and Standing Like a Tree. It has been described as the secret of the martial arts by many practitioners and experts in the field and is believed to be the key to developing strong internal energy, or Qi. It is also a very effective and invaluable health practice.

We didn’t manage to get to the Tai Chi/Qigong walking meditation in Part One but we will explore it in Part Two. This is where we focus on our breath and the sensation of our feet on the ground. This practice involves taking slow and deliberate steps, while maintaining a calm and centered mind. In addition to the benefits of the standing meditation practice, the walking meditation also provides physical exercise and improves circulation, balance, and coordination.

We will also learn a new Qigong sequence – Yi Jin Jing (Muscle Tendon Change) – increasing our flexibility and mobility and enabling us to more easily practice softness in daily life, even when getting dressed, making breakfast, or typing an email.

Please join me for this relaxing, rejuvenating and nurturing class.

When I think of Professor Cheng, two qualities come to mind:  

The first was his unsurpassed radiance, which was what won me over the second I laid eyes on him.  “My goodness,” I said to myself, “I want that!” 

The second thing I remember most about him was his shoulders. He had the most amazing shoulders. If one can develop softness, then as Lao Tzu says, one can be like a child. Normally you can only see shoulders like the Professor’s on young children.  His shoulders hang with absolutely no tension; there is not the most minute lifting.  In some pictures you can still see Professor Cheng pointing or gesturing and the image is striking.  The shoulders hang.  Unlike the rest of us, when his hands gestured, his shoulders were not activated in the slightest.  They seem to have lost the almost universal way that people’s shoulders react to what the hands do.  (Try pointing at a clock hanging on your wall and note the quality of your shoulders.) 

The soft energy of Taichichuan comes from the ground, sprouts in the legs, is directed by the waist; finally coming to a point in the center of the back from where it moves outward into the hands.  The shoulders have no place on that path, the line of this energy does not include them. Professor Cheng’s shoulders optimized this flow of energy by not interfering in its pathway.

It also occurs to me that his radiance and shoulders are related.  They are both emanations of “Not Doing,” a liberating understanding that we should not attempt to exercise willful control of the life force.  If we can relax and let go, it flows through us with vast benefit.

Wolfe Lowenthal, one of Cheng Man-ch’ing’s students in New York in the seventies.

Tai chi needs no equipment and can be done in a very small space.

If you don’t devote
your daily practice
to complete relaxation
you’ll never get it.

You must achieve relaxation,
but without forcing it.

When you practice,
think of relaxation,
the concept or even the word,
with your whole heart and mind.

Li Yaxuan, Tai Chi Chuan master (1893-1976)

All classes are recorded and can be accessed live, or viewed later at your own pace for at least a year after you register.

Course Curriculum: 

  • Week One: Sinking the Qi
  • Week Two: Reverse Stretch
  • Week Three: The Foot Pump
  • Week Four: Continual Jin
  • Week Five: The Harmonies
  • Week Six: The Dang
  • Week Seven: Peng in Movement
  • Week Eight: Uniting the Elements

Facilitated by Paul Kaye

Live Class Dates: Monday, July 24 – September 25*, 2023, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, PT. (Recordings can be accessed any time to fit your schedule).
*There will be no class on August 7 and September 4.
Tuition: $200 (25% discount if you took previously Tai Chi: Stillness in Movement class, last April.)
Prerequisites: Tai Chi and Qigong: The Art of Inner and Outer Balance Part 1
Questions about the class? Email Paul Kaye at paulkaye@msia.org

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