No Story. Only Observation.

Photo Credits: Lin Suihong

Stopping the story means dropping the duality between the person doing the qigong and the inner critic assessing and offering a steady stream of commentary on the practice.


“Oh! Very good! Look how smooth that was!” or conversely, “What are you doing? You’re stiff as a board. You call that tai chi?”


Instead, we only observe without judgement. This is not to say we ignore errors. But we need not judge them.


We can notice our movements as facts of action. Arm too high? This is not a problem. When we can directly experience the arm too high ourselves, then we can see it and begin to correct the action without recriminations.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When we can let go of the duality, let go of the chatter connected to observation, we can unite the two, acter and commentator into one; a fluid being who moves.


Sometimes, we try too hard at nearly everything and anything? DO you do this sometimes? I know I do.

When you practice qigong or tai chi, smile. Everything becomes easier then. Trying very hard falls away and there is only doing and enjoying.

How wonderful to be together practicing!





qigong and tai chi class


18-Form Qigong Posture Names


  1. Lifting arms through water
  2. Opening the chest
  3. Painting a rainbow across the sky
  4. Separating clouds/taiji closing
  5. Backwards monkey
  6. Rowing the boat
  7. Carrying the ball up to the sky
  8. Gazing at the moon
  9. Pushing palm, turning the the waist
  10. Wave hands like white clouds
  11. Scooping up the sea and gazing to the horizon
  12. Pushing the waves
  13. Dove spreads it’s wings
  14. Punching in horse stance
  15. Butterfly dries it’s wings
  16. Turning wheel round and round
  17. Bouncing the ball, softy, softly
  18. Settling and balancing to close

It can be very helpful to know the names of each posture. One reason is that it make it easier to ask your teacher questions about the posture. For example, you can ask your teacher about, “White Crane Spreads It’s Wings,” instead of hoping that your teacher will know which posture you mean when you move your arms about in some not clearly definable way.

Another benefit, is that it helps you remember the forms, becoming like a sort of muscle memory nemonic.  Knowing the name, moving the body, remembering and feeling your way become one integrated process.

So, above is my list. Please know that I have played some with the names. Since they arte translated by others from Chinese, I have tried to make them simple, memorable and sensible. They are only my take on it. You may have different and even better ideas. Love to hear them.

I hope you can enjoy learning these postures somewhere. If you are in Chicago, maybe come give Calm Chicago a visit. We are the only qigong, tai chi center on the near south side; convenient for South Loop, UIC, Chinatown and Pilsen residents. We have an 8-week Intro Class starting the first Thursday in March. Hope you can  join us.

Till next time, practice well. Enjoy the journey.

Shi Ba Shi: Yang Tai chi qigong 18-form

This is the first of a series of videos I’ll be posting to support teaching at Calm Chicago. Each short clip features one posture from the 18-form qigong which are terrific mind/body exercises. They are great for preparing the body and mind for further study in tai chi if you wish but are also good on their own for general health of the body and to help support single pointed focus of the mind required for deepening meditation practice.

from yang tai chi shi ba shi qigong first posture

I present these videos of tai chi and so forth as part of my own practice, with all humility. I hope they help support your practice. Please let me know. I look forward to your feedback.

peace everyone,


After the training – the peace … a photo album from Calm Chicago

The cold returned to Chicago today …felt very March-like … in like a lion, you know? So, maybe that’s what made it double-nice to go train hard this evening.

In the quiet afterwards, I made some pictures to share.

So if you haven’t been in to see us yet – this is what the place looks like. Trying to keep it simple, peaceful – calm.

The full album is on the Facebook page but here are a few of the pictures. We’re definitely getting ready for World Tai Chi Day so come on in and join us for the fun and peace of body and mind.

Ready for sitting meditation

New Qigong Video Coming Soon

Since it came up via Working Well Resources excellent blog, and since it’s clearly still the icky cold freezey season in Chicago as well as many other places – I thought it a good time to put together a little video about a blindingly simple but deeply profound qigong exercise that can with practice and determination lead us collectively into a life of virtually no more falls on ice. I make no promises on instant results but slowly, over time you will evolve into a more balanced person, physically, mentally and emotionally. And that, is what can make all the difference because of mind/body exercises.


Vincent practices Bear Hugs the Tree during class at Calm Chicago - Awesome for balance in mind & body

So, stay tuned, because it’s sliding your way soon from Calm Chicago! We’ll post it on our You Tube Channel. Come join us to learn for yourself. This is  one of the great exercises we’ll be doing as part of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, Saturday April 30th.


Till then, wishing everyone balance and peace,



Spring 2011 Class Schedule

Class Schedule

Beginner classes:

Qigong / Meditation
Saturday 3:30-4:30pm

Tai Chi / Meditation
Sunday 10-11 a.m.

Beginner classes offer a gentle introduction to 18-form qigong, Yang 24 form taiji and meditation.

Ongoing classes:

Qigong / Meditation
Saturday 4:30-5:30

Tai Chi / Meditation
Sunday 11 – noon

Advanced students are encouraged to attend beginner classes. Their study continues Sundays with advanced taiji, qigong and meditation training.

Learn more about our course offerings.

Sunrise Classes

Tai Chi / Qigong:

in Ping Tom Park (weather permitting) otherwise we meet in the center on Lumber St.

Wednesday and Friday 7 a.m.

30 minutes  – $15

all levels welcome

No special clothing required, just sneakers. Go straight to work from class!


Drop-In Tuition: Want to try a class out? Students may pay drop-in tuition $20 for any open class.


Follow Up: Meditation Changes Your Brain Structure

Meditation Changes the Brain Structure for the Better!