Approach to Teaching
One aspect of my practice of Chinese medicine is teaching, sharing and supporting people to take care of their own health, physically and energetically. This provides options beyond relying on others, professionals, to “fix us.” Individual sessions and small group classes are available.
I enjoy teaching a wide range of subjects within the scope of Chinese medicine including bodywork, herbs, tai chi, meditation.
My approach to teaching has evolved over the years. At first, I thought I was teaching people a correct and effective way of meditation, chi kung, or whatever. Now I view teaching in a more general and open way: we all learn from each other.
When we gather together to genuinely explore some common interest, say tai chi, the energy of the group facilitates a natural learning process. This is not an "expert teaches unknowing student" approach. It is based on the observable experience that we all possess the natural way within us. In a supportive context and with simple attention and awareness, this natural way arises and leads us to learn whatever subject may be before us.
Listening, following, supporting this natural learning and teaching each other process is often more effective, fun and enjoyable than a lecturing, expert, “this is right” approach. For more information about this approach to teaching, click on Teaching Others.
Most of the classes I teach are within the general area of meditation and chi kung. I use these terms interchangeably, referring to practices that cultivate attention, awareness of chi (energy) and internal energetic processes.
There are many kinds and approaches to these practices. Mine is a Taoist approach, following the philosophy that there is a natural way to each and every thing. In the most broad sense, these practices help us to explore what that natural way is by exploring the physical body, like the organs - liver, lungs, brain - or the bone structure. We can also explore the emotional body: joy, anger, sadness or grief. In addition, these practices may be used to explore the spiritual body, whatever that may mean to you. These internal explorations complement and are mutually supported by our exploration of the external environment: the Earth, the sky, the cosmos.
Below are brief descriptions of some of the classes I teach.
Introduction to the Healing Tao, A free presentation about the Taoist Chi Kung/Meditation practices. Overview of practices and demonstration.
Six Healing Sounds are simple sitting postures and a sound vibration that help us connect with the internal organ systems utilized by Chinese medicine: lungs, kidneys, liver, heart and triple warmer. They are gentle and effective ways to release tension & stress and bring positive, nourishing energy to the body, mind and spirit.
Inner Smile & Chi Self Massage focus on bringing the natural healing and energizing qualities of our smile to internal organs and the spine. We often share our smiling energy with others; this practice brings that same energy to ourselves.
Microcosmic Orbit describes a circulation of energy through the body, flowing up the spine and down the frontline, following acupuncture meridians. This general flow connect with all of the organ meridians, providing chi and nourishment. Pre-requiste: six healing sounds & inner smile.
Iron Shirt I includes standing meditations to develop rooting, structure and the ability to ground body energy with the earth. Standing Iron Shirt postures provide a context to learn about the interplay between physical and energetic structure.
Alignment of bones and joints, relaxation of muscles, spiraling of tendons and ligaments all support internal energetic movement and balance.
When physical structure is in natural alignment and rooted to the earth, internal energetics occur easily and naturally. Without this, the internal aspects take much effort, which interferes with the natural process.
Tao Yin uses floor exercises and movements which help relax, open, and strengthen tendons, spine, and the psoas muscle. The class involves a series of floor exercises, stretches, and movement – something like a cross between hatha yoga and tai chi. These exercises are performed on the floor rather than standing. Lying and sitting positions make unique benefits possible.
Conditioning can be achieved that improves chi flow and structural alignment. This strengthens movements and postures in standing and sitting positions. The principles of Tao Yin are essentially the same as in Iron Shirt and Tai Chi. This allows the three forms of exercise to mutually support each other.
Tai Chi Chi Kung I includes a simple 13 step form based on the structural integrity learned in Iron Shirt I, applied to a moving form. Within the Healing Tao chi kung system there are sitting, standing and moving practices. Tai chi is used as a way to incorporate the stillness of sitting and rootedness of standing into flowing movement.
In essence it is meditation in motion. Practicing meditation in motion - playing tai chi- allows an exploration and learning of how to accomplish the same thing through while moving through daily life.
One may choose to play tai chi for many different reasons: physical exercise, body energetics, calming the mind, following the breath, balancing yin and yang. The beauty of this practice is adaptability that provides any of these aspects to each person based on their interests.
Fusion of the Five Elements I is an advanced form of the Microcosmic Orbit. Focus is on transforming chi to a higher quality and circulating it through the body.
Fusion is Sitting Stillness. It is for those who have experience with the Microcosmic Orbit. It is a process of gathering chi from the organs, and elsewhere, then condensing it into a higher quantity and denser quality.
The refinement of this chi can then be circulated through various meridians, organs and physical structures. This refined chi is also a basis of cultivating an energy and a spirit body.
Chi Nei Tsang I includes using our hands and meditations to facilitate healing in ourselves and others by direct application to the abdomen, including the major organs and body systems.
Chi Nei Tsang (CNT) is an abdominal and organ bodywork process from Mantak Chia's Healing Tao meditation and chi kung system. I feel it is 50% massage technique and 50% chi kung, which provides for a very unique and powerful way to support and nourish body, mind and spirit. There are many and diverse bodywork styles and techniques out there; this one is quite special. Accessing the sophisticated and intricate energetic system of Chinese medicine through hands-on touch of abdominal organs feels elegant, simple and often magical. This class is for anyone, whether you are a professional bodyworker or just love to explore the natural way of these marvelous human bodies. The focus is very experiential; most of each class will be devoted to trading treatments.
Weekly Group Meditation - will be scheduled when enough people have taken the basic practices & there is interest in meeting weekly. Format of the class will evolve over time and input from those attending. The intention is to provide a place for people to practice together and integrate the various Tao practices.
Individual teaching sessions may be arranged outside of the regular class schedule. Subjects, length of sessions and frequency may be arranged to fit each person's needs.
Some people like to supplement small group classes with individually focused sessions. Private instruction may also be used prior to joining a regularly scheduled class.