Welcome to our Toward Harmony with the Earth: Qigong Retreats for the Five Seasons series, which we began in Spring of 2011.
Each year we try to hold a retreat during each of the five seasons delineated by our Taoist water tradition - Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Fall, and Winter.
Our goal is to try to return season after season, year after year to the same remote natural setting so that we can experience change and continuity within nature’s rhythms.
In these retreats we explore how to use qigong practices both to cultivate our own energies and to connect with the energies of Earth and her seasons.
Earth and Her Seasons
The Taoist perspective is that Earth is the mother from which all life in our physical world springs.
We have much to learn from her about how to live as natural beings in harmony with ourselves and the web of life she nurtures. (For more on this idea, please read our addendum at the end of this overview).
In particular, her five seasons offer us many lessons about how to let go and flow with life and change.
Cycles of Retreats Focused on One Qigong Practice
During each yearly cycle of the Five Seasons, our retreats focus on one of the qigong practices from our Taoist Water tradition.
We explore how you can tailor that one practice to each of the Five Seasons.
In each retreat we also teach you more about the practice itself.
2013/2014 Cycle - Marriage of Heaven & Earth Qigong
Practice of Heaven & Earth qigong naturally stimulates the wood elemental energy within us. The wood element comes to the fore and is especially accessible in Spring. Consequently Spring is the ideal time of year to learn and practice Heaven & Earth.
Therefore this year we're starting a Heaven & Earth focused cycle that will begin with a Spring 2013 retreat and conclude with a Spring 2014 retreat.
- Spring - April 26 to 28, 2013
- Summer - June 14 to 16, 2013
- Late Summer - not possible in 2013
- Fall - September 20 to 22, 2013
- Winter - December 13 to 15, 2013
- Spring - April 2014 (days to be decided)
Marriage of Heaven & Earth qigong is the practice of the Taoist Water Method Tradition through which you learn how to feel and enhance the fundamental rhythms and pulsations within your body, as well as connect to those of nature all around you. You then carry this knowledge into your tai chi, other qigong, and other energy arts practices. Ideally it is one of the first practices that you study and one that you return to time and time again.
This Spring 2013 to Spring 2014 cycle of retreats will offer you an excellent and unique way to either learn for the first time - or refine and go much deeper into - the practices of Heaven & Earth.
During the first three retreats - Spring, Summer, and Fall 2013 - we'll teach anyone new to the practices the movements of Heaven & Earth and its complementary exercise, Circling Hands.
For those with sufficient experience, we'll especially focus on the following seasonal subjects within Heaven & Earth. For each season we've chosen an aspect of Heaven & Earth practice that especially resonates with the energies that move to the fore in that season. Although in general Heaven & Earth strongly resonates with the energies of Spring, you can easily adapt it for use in other seasons as well.
- Spring 2013 - how to sink your chi down and "lengthen" your muscles and other soft tissues up, down, in, and out along all parts of your body. This is an excellent Spring practice because the energy of your liver -
- Summer 2013 - how to move from your shoulder blades, spine, hips, and kwa in a circular manner and "wrap" your muscles and other soft tissues forward and back around all parts of your body
- Fall 2013 - how to breathe within the Heaven & Earth movements and how to use the movements to improve your breathing
- Winter 2013 - how to close (gather into) and open (expand) the spaces within your joints
- Spring 2014 - how to open and close the "cavities" of your body, and play with the energy flows stimulated by the Heaven & Earth movements (earth to heaven, heaven to earth, periphery to center, center to periphery, macrocosmic orbit, microcosmic orbit, etc.)
If you attend all of the retreats in the cycle, you will significantly build your understanding of the spectrum of Heaven & Earth practices.
Attending just one or two retreats in the cycle will also advance your Heaven & Earth practice as well, of course. As always, you can only do what's possible for you, right?
2014/2015 Cycle - Spiraling Energy Body Qigong
For our next yearly cycle, we are considering a focus on Spiraling Energy Body qigong
Practice of Spiraling Energy Body qigong naturally stimulates the fire elemental energy within us. The fire element comes to the fore and is especially accessible in Summer. Consequently Summer is the ideal time of year to learn and practice Spiraling.
Therefore a Spiraling focused cycle wouldl begin with a Summer 2014 retreat and conclude with a Summer 2015 retreat.
Attend Any Retreat in Any Cycle
Please note that you may attend any retreat in any cycle.
Each retreat will be related to the others in the series, but also will be a complete learning experience in and of itself.
We see this retreat series as an opportunity for each of us to cultivate our own energies by deepening our qigong practices and by exploring and building a more conscious personal relationship with Earth and the web of life she supports.
We also hope this series can be a tiny contribution to helping spur our society as a whole to move toward greater harmony with Earth and all she sustains.
Click here to find out more about our upcoming Spring Retreat on April 26 to 28.
Addendum: Earth as our Mother and Teacher
Taoists view Earth as a living being.
She is our “great yin” or Mother, our most primal manifestation of the feminine energy of the Tao.
She nourishes, supports, and sustains us and all other beings around us. Her nurturing energy is available to us always.
Earth is an ever-present teacher of how to be what Taoists call “natural” in all aspects of life.
By studying her ways we can learn how to let go and flow with life’s changes.
We can learn how to gain a sense of wholeness, interconnectedness, and harmony with those around us.
We can learn how to become balanced, whole, and healthy within our ourselves.
How do we listen to Her voice?
One of the most direct ways is to learn to feel, explore, and enhance the ways that our chi flows in and through her and her chi flows in and through us.
These flows between us occur directly, as well as indirectly through her web of life that surrounds us and into which we are integrally connected.
Qigong practices are a wonderful vehicle that we can use to explore these chi flows.
While most of us initially practice qigong to develop and understand our own energies, a natural outgrowth of such practice is that we begin to become aware of how we are connected to and affected by the energies of what’s around us, including Earth’s.
In this way, we begin to hear Earth’s voice, i.e. her energies.
Once we begin to hear Her voice, many of us are drawn to learn more.
Our Toward Harmony with the Earth: Qigong Retreats for the Five Seasons are designed to help you learn more.
For more information on our Spring retreat to be held April 26 to 28, please click here.
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