Thursday, March 18, 2010

Equinox Insight, New Weekly Qigong Class for Health & Longevity

Greetings everyone,

In this update:
*** Equinox Insight
*** Calendar of Events
*** China Trip

Firstly, just a quick note that I will offer a short 6 week course in qigong practice for health and longevity, meeting every Friday, April 2nd through May 7th, from 1 pm - 2 pm, in Campbell. More info below...

*** Equinox Insight

As many of you are aware, we are quickly heading into spring. The vernal equinox takes place on March 20, at 10:32 am Pacific time, marking a balance between light and dark. This is a time when the Yang energy, the light, begins to overtake Yin, the night, which is receding. Yang energy begins to flow to the surface, as life begins to push out into the external world. We see this in the expansion of life all around us, in the blooming of flowers, and the opening of buds on tree branches. It is no coincidence, then, that Wood is the element associated with spring in Daoist traditions, as the energy within Wood naturally rises and expands at the time of spring.

The spring equinox is a very powerful time for cultivation, spiritual practices, and reflection. In terms of using the solar cycle to set intentions, this is a time when intentions set during the winter solstice are now "above ground," growing in the light of the warm spring time sun, where they can be easily seen in the visible world (above ground) by ourselves and others. This is a time to tend to our seeds (intentions) which are now maturing into healthy and vibrant plants, and taking any extra care such as trimming and guiding their growth. While we tend to see all growth as positive in our culture, it is always important to have some form of restraint. Elementally speaking, we say that Metal chops Wood. Metal is the energy of moving inward and downward, and therefore some pause to reflect is indicated. Reflection and meditation offer us insights, allowing us to prune, adjust, and guide our creations. Furthermore, the virtue of Metal is Integrity. Reflection and meditation allow us to double check that our creations are in line with our core values. Life is a dynamic interplay of elemental energies, and this awareness helps ensure that our intentions, our once tiny seedlings now vibrantly expanding in the world of form, don't grow out of control into monstrous creations that even we ourselves can't handle!

The energy of spring/Wood can also be very explosive. Think of the seedling as it begins to push its way above the soil, the explosive growth of bamboo (you can practically *watch* it grow in some cases) as well as other vegetation, and the thrusting upward and outward of life in all its forms during spring. In our own human affairs, when that outward upward movement rises too forcefully, the explosive energy can manifest as outbursts of anger and agitation, especially when we perceive that our outward expansion is even in the slightest way thwarted! Whether a sudden incidence of road rage, an argument with a partner or child, or coworker, we need to be mindful that the energies can be a little hotter in the spring time. Therefore, we should do our best to cool our moods, and not fall victim to our own unconscious patterns, causing undue hurt to those we love... Our loved ones will appreciate us and our efforts all the more!

In qigong, we have ways of working with the psycho emotional aspects of the elements, i.e. the anger of Wood, so that we can bring more balance to our lives. The Daoist Five Yin Organ exercises help to open and dilate the meridians of the 5 Yin Organs which can affect our various moods and awareness in very powerful ways, as well as increasing health and longevity. The Healing Sounds offer ways of clearing and discharging stagnant energy and emotion from our bodies so that a healthier physical, emotional, and mental state can be regained. In addition, many Daoist alchemy meditations and practices focus on the transformation of turbid energy into consciousness, so that our awareness rises above the quagmire of human emotions, plots, repetitive thought patterns, and selfish desires, resulting in a clear perception, and profound mental peace and stillness.

With sincere effort on our part, following the road maps and footprints left by the masters, results come as surely as plants grow from seeds nurtured in the right way.

*** Calendar of Events

* Qigong for Health and Longevity
Weekly Class, meets every Friday for 6 weeks
April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, and May 7th
From 1 PM - 2 PM in Campbell (see below for more info.)

This series of 6 classes presents a wonderful journey into the deeply transformative practices of ancient China. Together we'll explore these powerful movement meditations that increase health, well being, energy, vitality, and mind concentration; while reducing stress, tension, fatigue and burnout. This six week course will provide tools for intelligently dealing with low energy, brain fog, the accumulation of negative emotions or other negative states, while focusing on increasing energy, rejuvenation, relaxation, and energetic perception.

Cost: $100 for all 6 classes due at the beginning of the first class.

Please RSVP as class size is limited to 10 participants (we already have 7):

* Medical Qigong Certification

Next Level 1 course offered at Five Branches University, San Jose campus:
Sundays, Aug. 29, Sept. 12, 26, Oct. 10, 2010, 9 am - 6 pm (32 hours)
Level 1 offers an extensive introduction into qigong practices for health, and how they can be modified to address specific organ and channel disharmonies in the body. We also learn several shengong (spirit skill) meditations that enhance our energetic awareness and qi projection skills. The course includes both practical application and theoretical understanding of cultivation for health and energetic detoxification.
More information:
Through Five Branches, email Mimi Latno:

* Qigong Day Retreat at MA Center

Our next event is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 3rd:
For more information, please visit:

*** China Trip

A handful of you ask me from time to time whether I would lead a trip to China. It would be ideal to bring a group of about 10 people to the Daoist mountain. Our stay would last from 2 to 3 weeks, giving us time for cultivation, reflection, exploring the mountain, and retreat. When there is interest from enough people, more concrete arrangements can be made. Please let me know if you have an interest in visiting Qingchengshan! =)

With blessings,
Tom / Yogeshwar / Li Zhong

May all beings in all the worlds be happy and peaceful.
Om Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

Photo above: Qingchengshan (青城山) "Tea time on the Daoist Mountain"
Photo below: Master Zhang and Chen Jie at Qingchengshan

Where there is Love, there is no effort.

Tom Leichardt, DMQ (China)