Basic Information Do I Need?
class descriptions will give you a general overview of what we offer.
The times each is offered are listed below the descriptions or you
may refer to the Master Schedule
for the overview. All classes are suitable for beginners except
those marked “intermediate.” Go to the Instructors
page to see our teachers' qualifications and read The
School page for a sense of the Embrace The Moon community.
you decide to try a class, it’s easy!
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What Classes Do I Start With?
All classes will provide you with very similar benefits:
relaxation, energy, coordination, balance (mind & body), joint
pain reduction/relief, strength, focus & enjoyment. What you pick is very individual. Because the classes do vary and the dynamic of any classroom gives rise to its own special flavor, you may find one thing appeals to you more
than others depending on your goals, your own nature, and your
schedule. So at the beginning, how do we find what is right for us? The primary advice I have in this day and age is: pick the one that you will attend. Factor in your schedule, your family needs first and foremost, and respect your busy life. These classes are meant to enhance you, not pressure you. Over time you will find attending a Tai Chi or Qigong class actually creates more space in your life, but at first, just look to have some fun, learn something new (grow new brain cells!) and regain some balance. Skill, change & even mastery develop naturally, like a garden, over time.
Whereas actually trying a class will give you the best indication
here are some general suggestions:
a beginners series of Tai Chi or a class with a *by it on the schedule if you are brand new to movement, have a health
concern, are looking for something to gain confidence. Also, consider the one month special- it is a great deal and way to try our school.
of the all welcome Tai Chi or Qigong if you are relatively comfortable with movement and are looking to significantly improve
your balance, ease arthritis & related pain and enjoy graceful
fluidity in your movement forms.
Hands of 18 Luohan if you are looking for a significant increase
in stretching and strength, to cultivate deep breathing, and
want to practice a physically dynamic form. Try Essence Qigong or Muscle Tendon Qigong if you want something more meditative.
you have no idea what to try please drop in for a visit. You can also take a series of private lessons for collaborative, targeted instruction for you individual direction. Contact us for a consultation.
may also contact Kim Ivy at email@example.com
or call (206) 789-0993 for further guidance.
Qi is energy. Energy is the fundamental life mechanism in all organic
material. All life has Qi, including rocks, trees, and humans.
I see Taijiquan and Qigong spelled many different ways.
What are the differences?
There are two translation systems of Chinese: Pin Yin and Wade Giles.
And, then there are general omissions and errors that Westerners
make to create a sense of familiarity that does not exist in the
Chinese language, even when translated into our alphabet. We use
Tai Chi and Qigong because they seem to be the most popular in our
culture right now.
are the common spellings of Taijiquan and Qigong that all mean the
same: Taijiquan, T’ai Ch’i Ch’uan, Taiji, Tai
Chi Qigong, Ch’i Kung, Chi Kung, Chi Gung, Chi Gong, Qi, Ch’i,
Chi, Ki (Japanese)
names are pronounced: Tie Chee “Chewon”
and Chee Kung (the K is swallowed a bit, almost like a “guh”)
When pronounced in Chinese Mandarin or Cantonese, the pronunciations
have tones but this is beyond our scope here.
How do Tai Chi and Qigong work?
Tai Chi and Qigong work through relaxation, concentration and alignment.
The movements, breathing, and focus found within both systems are
designed to give the body and the mind tools by which these three
goals may be accomplished. Undoubtedly the key process of all is
relaxation. If we are tense it is difficult to concentrate and even
more difficult to align our bodies with what we want to do. Think
of a hose that is kinked up. When you turn on the faucet, there
is a build up above the bend and nothing below the bend; an obvious
imbalance that effects not only the flow of water within the hose
but the output of water to the garden. The intent of watering the
garden cannot be accomplished leading to further imbalances. With
Tai Chi and Qigong practice we do learn to mentally and physically
dissolve tension and enjoy relaxed movement. This learned skill
helps us to sharpen our focus and attune our body alignment. The
purpose of Tai Chi and Qigong is for our qi (energy) and our blood
to flow more clearly into all parts of our body. The outcome is
a calming, stabilizing, nourishing and healing for all parts of
the body, mind and emotions. Think again of the hose analogy. All
you have to do is find, untangle and release the kink and the water
flows evenly to the garden!
is the difference between Qigong and Tai Chi?
Dating back approximately 5000 years, Qigong is the process of intentionally
gathering, moving and releasing energy. This is accomplished through
mental focus, deep breathing and physical movement. Qigong is considered
a branch of Chinese Medicine along with Acupuncture, Massage and
Herbs. There are many different forms of Qigong and the choreography
of each varies widely. Some are very athletic, some completely still.
Additionally, Qigong has recently adopted classifications such as
Buddhist, Taoist, Martial, Medical and Confucian, yet its roots
are undifferentiated. No matter which Qigong you practice each will
heal and strengthen your body and your mind leading to greater overall
Tai Chi dates back to the 1600’s and is rooted in the internal
martial arts. (Internal Martial Arts are defined as those who are
non-aggressive and use principals of energy flow and softness vs.
strength and hardness). The movements of Tai Chi originate from
5 key Family lineages each who had an idea of efficient and powerful
movement. Each style has a meditative, fluid quality and choreography
that is likened to “shadow boxing.” It should be noted
that even though Tai Chi comes to us from the martial arts, most
modern Tai Chi has evolved into more of a health and philosophical
framework than a martial framework.
In the end, Qigong and Tai Chi are more similar than they are different.
They move energy, strengthen the body and clear the mind. Whereas
their choreography and feeling may differ, each is equally beneficial.
I like the idea of Qigong. Which form that you offer do
They will all result in the same health and mental benefits. 8 Treasures is a lovely beginner's form. Muscle Tendon Changing is simple with some great movement and stretching. The
Luohan is the most vigorous of all of the Qigong’s we offer,
much like a flow Yoga.
I like the idea of Tai Chi. Where do I start?
The best idea here is to start at the beginning! We have several beginning level classes and you can progress at your own pace. Taiji is an excellent way of learning to balance power and softness,
to receive health benefits and to learn a lovely self-practice routine.
What is the difference between Yoga and Tai Chi/Qigong?
The most obvious difference between the two systems is how the physical
forms look. Generally speaking (and there are always exceptions)
one will see more stretching in Yoga, holding postures for a time
and in most cases breaks in-between the postures. Tai Chi and most
Qigong’s are linked choreography where one movement flows
into the next. The terminology is different in each because they
originated in different parts of the world. (Yoga-India), (Tai Chi,
Qigong –China). One will hear much more about “prana”
in Yoga and “qi” in Tai Chi/Qigong. The inner energetics
of each system however is extremely similar. Qigong and Yoga are
probably the most aligned in terms of their intent. The roots of
each of these systems are very old and each developed as methods
to make the body a stronger place for meditation and spiritual development.
Tai Chi is a newer practice and whereas it is also a practice for
strength and development, it has its roots in the martial arts.
When will I see benefits?
The benefits of practice are instantaneous. With the very first
breath and movement, the nervous system begins to calm down. A person
becomes more focused and starts to relax. Over time, the health
benefits continue to grow and develop. When each person begins to
perceive the benefits is individual. As with everything, patience
and practice are the keys.
How long will it take for me to learn a form?
Generally one gains a sense of familiarity with the core basics
of a form in about 4-6 months. Most Qigong forms can be learned
in 3-6 months. A short Tai Chi form usually takes a couple months, longer
forms a year or so. It is important to remember that practicing
is the key. And that these are health and meditative art forms that
want to become integral to one’s lifestyle.
How often should I practice?
Practice a little every day. Try 5 minutes. The most important thing
is to practice with a sense of curiosity and playfulness. The harder
you ‘try’ to learn the movements ‘perfectly’
the more illusive they become. The key point is to integrate them
into your lifestyle. There is a good story:
Question: “Master, how long will it take me to learn this
Answer: Three years.
Question: “How about if I practice twice as hard?”
Answer: Ten years.
What if I can’t remember the form outside of class?
What if I practice it wrong?
The key point to practice is to simply do one little thing over
and over until it becomes part of your nervous system. The idea
that you are going to practice wrong is erroneous! Practice is practice.
There is no right or wrong – especially at the beginning.
You are coming to class for form correction – over time, trust
that this is true – you will learn and become more refined
in your skills. Have fun in class and play with the information
and then try to integrate it into your daily life. Then, all of
your movements take on a “flow” quality.
Should I learn more than one form at a time?
This is something to discuss with your teacher and to be evaluated
on an individual basis. It largely depends on one’s prior
experience, goals, time to dedicate to practice and personality
for learning. Generally speaking it is useful to develop a basic
understanding of a form or style and then add to it. Some common
and successful exceptions to this would be combining a Qigong form
with a Taiji form. They are naturally complementary and learning
one enhances the other.
Why not just get a video or book?
Sure, why not! There are some interesting ones out there. The main
reason for having a teacher is that even with a mirror it is difficult
to self-correct. It is useful to have the expertise of someone to
help you feel the correct movement and energy flow that is inherent
in the forms. And, even though these forms are gentle, they are
still physically based forms and practiced incorrectly you can injure
But I feel like a fool in front of other people!
Yup, it’s true most of us do at some point! It’s all
sense of humor training. And remember, no one is looking at you;
they are too busy feeling the sensations in their own body. Unless
of course you are teaching! Imagine how we feel!
What is this term ‘energetics’ I hear so much
The term energy or energetics as applied to Taijiquan and Qigong
refers to a multi-layered concept originating in China several thousand
years ago. The energy system in the body can be likened to an electrical
grid. The central station is a region amidst the lower dan tien
and the kidneys (about 2” below the navel; ‘hara’
in Japanese systems, first and second Chakra in the Indian systems)
with various other stations formed by the internal organs. From
these central stations different electrical “wires”
known as meridians, run throughout the body conducting positive
(yang) and negative (yin) currents to the spine, limbs, appendages,
brain, etc. There are a total of 18 meridians that begin forming
at conception and finish connecting with each other around puberty.
The stations are originally filled with energy and genetic qualities
of the parents at the time of conception. This is referred to as
“prenatal Qi” or “original life force.”
There is a set amount of prenatal Qi and when it is gone, death
occurs. However, during the course of one’s life, one continually
goes to various refueling stations: food, air, water. This is referred
to as “post-natal Qi.” Depending on the quality of “fuel,”
life force can be plumped up or enhanced and less of the limited
prenatal Qi is used to sustain life. Certain types of exercise can
also fill up our Qi reserves, Taiji and qigong among them.
Taiji and Qigong are elegant refueling stations because they not
only boost post natal energy; they also heal deficiencies in pre-natal
energy. The practices of Taiji and Qigong turn up the dimmer switch
within the body. The result is a healthier, brighter, and more self-sustaining
way of life!
I am an athlete. Aren’t Taijiquan and Qigong for older
people and those who are sick?
These arts are indeed fantastic practices for elders and those
with special health concerns. However, they are also excellent “cross-training”
methods for those with already established practices. For athletes
the style of movement integrates the calm fluidity and understanding
of energy to create a great “flow state” in runners,
weight lifters, kayakers, etc. as well as assisting in athletic
injury rehabilitation! Most athletes love to keep moving during
the healing process and this is a perfect way. Martial Artists enjoy
the addition of a solo practice to their practices and often find
strong commonality in the meaning of the movements. The physical
nature of the practices strengthen the meditator’s body, allowing
a more comfortable sitting experience and yogini’s enjoy developing
an understanding of “Qi flow” and the Chinese “Dan
Tien” approach into their stretching and Chakra understandings.
Are these religious practices?
No. However, people often find practicing Taijiquan and Qigong do
enhance their experience with Life and Spirit, however they perceive
What can your school offer me?
Our school can offer you a friendly, aesthetic environment in which
to learn and high skilled teachers to guide you. We focus on the
structural, energetic and health aspects of the forms we teach and
engender a liveliness and humor to the learning environment. Because
we have such a rich offering of curriculum and teachers, we can
easily co-create the program that you want, whether it is for health,
strength, martial arts skill, meditation, spiritual growth or a
combination of all! We salute you if you are just a bit curious
or deeply committed. We will support you in any way we can.
is the demographic of your school?
Our youngest student is 5, our eldest is 85. The average age group
is 40-75. We have a fairly equal balance of men and women. The fastest
growing group is people in their 20s and 30’s with next fastest
growing group being fit athletes over over 75.
What are other people in your school looking to gain from these
Over the past 10 years I have seen a significant shift in why people
are starting these practices. These practices used to be seen primarily
as a way to specifically improve one’s health. Now, we see
an overarching goal of “stress reduction” and “peace.”
Perhaps we are coming to understand that stress is one of the major
causes of health problems and these practices have been in the news
enough for people to feel comfortable with them as a part of their
overall self-improvement and self-care regime.
What are the class sizes?
The classes range in size from 4 to 25, with the average size at
any given time around 12-18. The practice space is about 1200 square
feet so there is plenty of room.
What should I expect in my first class?
You will be greeted by one of the teachers and welcomed onto the
practice floor. You will be invited across the floor and into the
office/conversation room to fill out brief paperwork for our database.
You will be shown the bathroom, the tea area and an alternative
entrance/exit door. At this point you will probably start to see
other students arriving and chatting. Class starts pretty much on
time with a few minutes of standing meditation. Then we begin with
a basic lesson and go from there. The class time usually goes pretty
fast! You will probably experience a combination of things in your
first few classes. As with learning any new activity you will probably
be both excited and a little disoriented with the first class or
two. However, this resolves quickly and you very soon get to know
a few other students as well as feel more relaxed. You will quickly
find the fun that is inherent in these practices and become skilled
at releasing excess tension in your body. Soon you won’t be
in your first class anymore and may realize you have discovered
a Way and a practice that will support you for the rest of your
New Student Special
The Chinese Sage Lao Tzu says, “who ever became a good horse
back rider by talking about a horse?” You just have to go
for it. Try unlimited classes for $90. What do you have to loose? Spend a month and a few bucks and see what you can gain.