Monthly Archives: August 2013

Classes This Fall

We’re heading into Labor Day Weekend, that symbolic divide between the easy, outdoorsy days of summer and the serious business we get down to when kids return to school, the days gets shorter and, at least in the Pacific Northwest, the rains set in.

In my case, autumn will bring some new teaching gigs—Yi Ren Qigong, Shibashi Taiji Qigong and Harvard-style taiji—in Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond and Woodinville, WA.

The details, in chronological order of when the classes start:

Yi Ren Qigong, Level I, Thursdays, Sept. 5-Oct. 27, 7-8:30 p.m., North Seattle Community College: Ann Moses is the teacher of this 8-week class on activating, increasing and circulating the body’s internal energy, or qi, for improved health and well-being; I’ll be her assistant. Ann is a lovely teacher who always makes it clear that everyone’s experience is unique, and that everyone’s experience is absolutely OK. For more information on the class and fees, or to register, visit Ann’s web site, www.blueheronqi.com.

Harvard-style Taiji, Tuesdays, Sept. 17-Dec. 3, 7:15-8:30 p.m., Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church, east of downtown Woodinville, across from Cottage Lake: I will be teaching the 12-week “taiji fundamentals” program presented in the book “The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi,” a program the book’s author, long-time taiji teacher and Harvard medical researcher Peter Wayne, believes gives people the health benefits of taiji without their having to learn one of the forms. The class is free and open to people who are not part of the church community as well as those who are. For more information or to register, contact me at bjbrachtl@hotmail.com.

Yi Ren Qigong, Level I, Mondays, 7:15-8:45 p.m., Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church: I’ll be the teacher for this Yi Ren class. It’s open to people who are not part of the church community as well as those who are; I am asking that people who are not part of the church community make an $80 donation to the church. For more information about the class, or to register, contact me at bjbrachtl@hotmail.com. For more information about Yi Ren Qigong, which is a complex, health-oriented system of qigong, visit www.iqim.org.

Shibashi Taiji Qigong, Wednesdays, Oct. 2-Nov. 20, 1:30-3 p.m., Bellevue College North Campus: This class, part of Bellevue College’s TELOS program for retirees, features the relaxing, flowful Shibashi Taiji Qigong system which I’ve taught for several years—with music, of course. The fee for the eight-week session is $80. The class is listed in the Bellevue College Fall 2013 course listings at www.gotobcc.com. You can contact me at bjbrachtl@hotmail.com for more information, but to register, call the college at 425-564-2263.

Shibashi Taiji Qigong, Free Introductory Workshops, Wednesdays Oct. 2, Nov. 6 and Dec. 4, 10-11:30 a.m. and 5:30-7 p.m. all three days, Redmond Senior Center: These free sessions are being offered as an introduction to a possible class winter quarter—and you don’t have to be a senior to participate, only 18 or older! For more information, contact me at bjbrachtl@hotmail.com. To register, call the Senior Center at 425-556-2314.

I am hoping that I will see some new faces as well as faces of people I already know in these classes. Taiji and qigong are wonderful journeys; I’d love to have you join me.

 

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Doin’ the Bobble-Butt

When I demonstrated the Daoist Spinal Wave in my sister’s kitchen in California, she and her friend agreed that I’d best not do it in an airport or, indeed, any other public place.

The world simply is not ready for a senior citizen bobble-butt action figure.

Which is a shame.

The Daoist Spinal Wave is wonderfully relaxing, even hypnotic, and terrific therapy for the back. You get your pelvis rolling and your spine flowing and – well, I think most anyone would benefit, not just energy geeks.

I learned the Daoist Spinal Wave from Damo Mitchell’s book, “Daoist Nei Gong: The Philosophical Art of Change,” where it is offered as a tool for relaxing the muscles of the back and bringing the pelvis and spine into proper alignment.

Mitchell considers it essential to have a relaxed, properly aligned body with loose joints and mobile spine before attempting the serious internal energy work of Nei Gong. Continue reading

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Because It’s There…

In 1923, a New York Times reporter asked British mountaineer George Mallory why he wanted to climb Mount Everest.

Mallory replied:

“Because it’s there.”

What a reply!

The first time I heard it—probably during my junior high years—I dismissed it as totally lame. But somehow the words stuck with me, and I’ve pondered them many times since.

I should admit up front that I am afraid of heights—and also many other things associated with climbing mountains of Everest’s ilk, such as avalanches, frostbite and death. This has doubtless colored my ponderings of Mallory’s remark. Continue reading

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Swimming in the Pool of 12

For almost three weeks in July, I hosted two students from China, both girls, one 12, the other almost 12.

There were lovely moments and moments when buttons I’d forgotten I had were being pushed.

However, the main thing I learned was that the biggest difference between me and the two girls was not language or culture. It was age.

Like American pre-teens I know, the girls were one with their smart phones and far more skilled at using them than I am. They would have long, spirited, video conversations with kids in their study program here, and with family and friends in China, using my Wi-Fi connection. It was a bit spooky when they would give people on the other side of the world virtual tours of my house. I never knew when I was on camera, although I think mostly I wasn’t because my cats are far more photogenic.

Also, like American pre-teens I know, the girls were not interested in taiji. I took them to two of the classes I teach at my church. The first time they were game enough to follow through the Yang 108 form with us; the second time they opted to connect with the church’s Wi-Fi and huddle over their phones. They said taiji is “too slow.”

Sigh. It had been my fantasy that two Chinese girls would come to America, become turned on to taiji and then study it when they went home. Continue reading

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Sympathy Redux

A few decades ago, “sympathy” became a dirty word—or so it seemed to me.

If you were psychobabbily hip, you knew you weren’t supposed to have the emotion or use the word because “sympathy” smelt of snootiness and condescension and was demeaning to the person on the receiving end. “Sympathy” was synonymous with “pity,” and nobody wanted anybody’s pity, thank you very (expletive deleted) much!

Instead, what you were supposed to feel and express was empathy: You were supposed to feel with the other person.

But feeling with another person can go too far. There’s little benefit to anyone if two people are depressed instead of just one. There are people within my qigong community who are considered to be empaths, meaning they literally take on other people’s emotions or ailments through some sort of energetic transfer over which they have no control. Needless to say, this can be very hard on them. Continue reading

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