Monday, January 26, 2009

February Qigong Update, Happy Chinese New Year!

Greetings everyone,

In this update:

*** Adventures in Thailand
*** China Trip
*** Chinese New Year
*** Upcoming Qigong & Meditation Events:
------ Qigong & Meditation Retreats
------ Medical Qigong Certification at Five Branches University

*** Adventures in Thailand

On January 19th, I returned home from my Thailand adventure, refreshed and renewed. The Thai culture is remarkably sweet, and the people are very kind, gentle, respectful, and easy going. It is so wonderful to slow down to their speed, and to really notice each day filled with so much depth - a richness that we so often miss at home with everything moving so fast. Quite often, one day literally feels like 3 days, as time slows down to a serene and gentle pace. Sometimes called the "land of a thousand smiles," Thailand lives up to its name, as there are many upon many genuinely happy people there, with real heartfelt smiles.

The majority of my sightseeing includes temples (called 'wats' in Thai) which are quite numerous both in rural and metropolitan areas. In many locations, there seems to be a wat around each corner and on every street. As I make my way through the streets, roads, and back roads of Thailand, I am sure that all the meditation, changing, and spiritual practices performed in these wats really helps keep the collective consciousness more pure, clear, open, and peaceful. Generally speaking, the psychic atmosphere seems so much less polluted by the negative energy we see and feel in other parts of the world.

A slideshow of temples, some group photos, and other noteworthy adventures, can be viewed at:

Teaching the Qigong course in Thailand was a powerful experience in many ways. Sometimes it pushed my growth edges and challenged me to expand, and at other times it was the sweetest forum for sharing Daoist cosmology, meditations and energetic practices. I am grateful to have had so much time to practice, to share the practices with others, and to be immersed in such a beautiful place while doing it too! The overall conclusion: traveling and teaching are the best!

*** China Trip

While in Thailand, often I felt a strong and clear presence of my Daoist home at Qingchengshan (青城山), China. Floods of images came to me including temples as well as the mountain's natural beauty and charming tranquility. Eventually, it occurred to me - how wonderful would it be to bring a group to this magical place! Qingchengshan is one of the holy mountains of China, one of the ancient cradles of Daoism, and a place of sublime magic and healing energy. And so, like a seed, the intention was born to coalesce a group of people to bring to the sacred mountain, a perfect place to share and practice Qigong and the Daoist arts. I will share more details about this in the coming weeks. If this idea lights a spark inside you, please let me know!

*** Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year begins with the new moon, this year on the morning of January 26th, as we transition from Rat Year into Ox Year. Rat is the first of 12 Chinese zodiac signs, a time of new beginnings. Perhaps you've seen many new beginnings in your life as we brought in this new 12 year cycle over the course of the last 12 months. Certainly, as a nation we began a whole new chapter, filled with the seeds of change, possibilities, and new directions. Ox Year is all about stabilizing these new seeds, ideas, and directions into definite paths, making our idealism manifest into form, with concrete, steadfast, and consistent action. If Rat Year brought you the opportunities for new directions, the new year is a time to transform them into tangible reality through even, steady, and unwavering commitment.

*** Upcoming Qigong & Meditation Events

Many exciting events are planned for the winter and spring of 2009, in terms of retreats as well as the pursuit of Qigong as a medical practice. Our two retreats are listed first, and following are certification courses in Medical Qigong at Five Branches University (FBU) in San Jose.

------ Retreats ------

Eight-Fold Noble Path Series: RIGHT VIEW & UNDERSTANDING
A Day of Meditation plus Qigong
with Shaila Catherine & Tom Leichardt
Saturday January 31, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm in Mountain View

Meditation & Qigong Daylong Retreat at MA Center
February 15th, 9 am - 4 pm.
Spend a day in deep peace and relaxation, alternating between the subtle and graceful movements of Qigong and the depths of stillness in sitting meditation. The beautiful ashram grounds and atmosphere, charged with a powerful sacred presence, will help us restore, rejuvenate, and bring balance to our lives. This event is suitable for all levels of practice. Guest teacher Anaghan will once again finish the retreat by leading us in a "sound bath" meditation with his celestial gong, crystal bowls, and other instruments.
More Information:

------ Medical Qigong Certification at Five Branches University ------

Level I: Personal Cultivation & Intro to Medical Qigong
32 hour course towards certification (CEU's available)
Medical Qigong can be used as a modality to help others by learning to rebalance their body's energy. The first level course focuses on personal cultivation, learning to work with one's own energy to create powerful changes on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. Both theory and practical applications are covered.

Two choices exist for this Level I course:

Sundays, Feb 22, March 15, April 5, May 3, 9 am - 6 pm (CEU's available)

Mondays Feb. 9 - June 1 (break May 25), 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Level II: Advanced Shengong Cultivation & Intro to Medical Qigong Treatments
32 hour course towards certification (CEU's available)
For those who completed Level 1.
Sundays March 1, 22, April 19, May 17

Active Qi Cultivation for Level 1
16 hour course towards certification (CEU's available)
For those enrolled in or have completed Level 1.
Sundays March 29, April 26

Wishing all an auspicious New Year!

Where there is Love, there is no effort.

Tom Leichardt, DMQ (China)