The benefits have been subtle and profound. There is a quietness and ease in my everyday life.
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Sandy Jackson

Early into my practice of qigong I became very enthusiastic about the ways in which it healed and harmonized my relationship to food. So much so that I developed a program called Nourishing You!
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Karen O’Connell

Zhineng Qigong has continued to be a source of support to me in body, mind and spirit. I am strong, energetic and flexible again.
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Marcy Strate

Meet Barry Blackburn: Effortlessly in “The Zone”

Qigong students sharing their experience is an inspiring way to learn more about the many possible ways that qigong can enhance your life. We were delighted to hear about Barry’s experience with his 100-day gong. I found it particularly meaningful as Barry is no stranger to working with qi. He is a serious practitioner of internal arts. His smile says a lot – it is wonderful to have him and his wife Carol in our groups. Here’s Barry’s description:
At the time of this writing I am on the 90th day of a 100-day “gong”, consisting of a daily Zhineng Breathing and Lift Chi Up Pour Chi Down practice.  As a 15 year serious Tai Chi Chu’an student, I have noticed a couple of effects of this gong:
  • When practicing a Tai Chi form, I find myself being almost effortlessly in “the zone”, where intention leads chi, bodily movements follow chi, and where “moving stillness” can be experienced.
  • Tai Chi “postures” have associated with them one of two qualities -either expanding or condensing.  The expanding and condensing (e.g., “puuussshh” and “puuulll”), that are a big component of Lift Chi Up Pour Chi Down and other practices in this system, have helped me to more easily express the quality of a particular posture.
All in all I have found this practice to have a beneficial effect on my other “internal arts” practices

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Barry Blackburn

Qigong is one of the most profound systems that I have practiced.
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Suzy Sisler

This is a restorative practice but with deadlines and teaching isn’t always achieved.
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Pamela Underwood

Meet Akino Tsuchiya: Qi is Like a Best Friend

Last year, I decided to try Tai Chi and started searching for a local class when somehow Martha’s Qigong website showed up. What is qigong? It took no time for me to figure out that qigong is what we call Kikou in Japanese. I had not tried qigong before but it sounded good to me. Plus, I felt an instant connection with Martha without even talking to or meeting her. I immediately contacted Martha and shortly after found myself in a classroom surrounded by wonderful people like Martha, Leonard and all her students. I still remember leaving my first class extremely relaxed (as if all of my muscles decided to take a break) and asking myself, “What has just happened to me?!”

During the first class, I felt a strong connection with nature, which filled me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Then I noticed that tears were running down my face and kept flowing no matter how much I tried to stop. I’ve never cried that much with such feelings of happiness and peace. I didn’t know such a thing was even possible. What an interesting and powerful experience that was!

The very next day I went for my usual walk on the nearby trail where rabbits and birds are the typical creatures that I see. But that day was different. I saw a duck out of nowhere who seemed to be totally fine with my existence and later a coyote who stood and stared at me in the middle of the trail. I was a little scared, but more intrigued. The sky seemed bluer and the color of flowers seemed more vivid than usual. I asked myself, ”Is this because of the qigong practice yesterday?”  “What is qigong?”

Next thing you know, I surrounded myself with 3 books and 3 DVDs on different styles of qigong because I wanted to know everything about it (my habit).  A few weeks into it, I was feeling crappy as if different qi was having a fistfight in me. I was also utterly confused with all the information I consumed from random reading. Thankfully, Martha advised me to stick to a simpler practice and stop reading and thinking so much! What wonderful and wise advice that was. I decided not to “figure out” more about qigong or to expect some results from qigong. Instead, I decided to simply acknowledge that qi is there and to be open to it.

Since then, I’ve done a 100-day gong of the breathing exercises and am currently doing another gong using a series from the Mind/Body Method. Since I started qigong, ‘relaxation’ has become one of my main intentions. “Relax”..… what a simple, yet sometimes difficult task! We tend to consume ourselves in our busy daily lives and forget the importance of just being relaxed.

With my teaching job, I commute to San Francisco weekly in the Spring and Fall. Monday is a particularly long day for me, starting with the alarm at 3:40AM, a 50-minute drive to the SD airport to catch the first morning flight, a 30-minute ride on the subway, walk through busy downtown, working online from the hotel room before finally heading to the University to teach on-campus classes for 6 hours. By the time I go back to my hotel room at night, I feel as if I have just run a mini marathon! But qigong has taught me to find moments of relaxation even during these busy days. For example, when I leave home in the early morning and see the moon mysteriously smiling at me, I say hello and compliment her on her beauty and we have a talk. At the airport, I consciously enjoy every sip of the otherwise ordinary cup of coffee. On the way to the University, I take the long path only so that I can stop by the Grace Cathedral where I sit for a few minutes and admire its beautiful stained glass windows. During a class break, I purposely leave the campus to have time for myself, often accompanied by a cup of tea. When I have more time, I simply sit under a tree at a nearby park and feel the breeze as I listen to wild parrots flying over me. When I’m in the hotel room, I make sure to find some time for meditation or qigong. It can be a bit challenging to practice with the constant background noise of the city, but it always re-calibrates me.

Some days I can keep my intention well, and some days, well not so much. But I feel great knowing that qi is always there like one’s best friend. A year and a half into my relationship with qigong, it has become an important part of my life and I look forward to continuing my practice. I truly appreciate Martha for all of her guidance, love and help. What a precious gift she is to me and to all of us.

Abundant Qi to all of you!

Akino Tsuchiya
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Akino Tsuchiya

Zhineng qigong has made such a difference in my life on many levels. 
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June Western

Meet Vicki Pilling: A Life Changing Practice

A Teacher,

They come,
They go,
Then never know,
But they do change you.”

This 7th grade student was forever changed after writing this simple yet profound message. He had found his voice in the written word.  What a gift. Yes, I know that this was written many moons ago yet, this poem resonates with me each and every day. Since each day we have an opportunity to interact with others in simple and profound ways by sharing our energy.

I have meditated formally or through prayer since a young child. One day while strolling our country road I came across our amazing neighbors Martha and Leonard. Martha invited me to one of her classes. My heart opened as we hugged one another while I made the commitment to open my heart to the practice of qigong. I have been attending Martha’s classes for nearly a year as often as I can. I look forward to immersing myself into the qi field of Martha’s qigong sanctuary.

Since adding qigong to my life I have endured one of the most challenging chapters of my life.  People who do not know me intimately would never know that I have experienced profound loss over the last 9 months.  Qigong, meditation, prayer practice,  exercise with healthy eating and rest gave way to spiritual  gifts life-force energy which filled me with gratitude, inner peace and a sense of calm. I find myself cherishing even the smallest moment with a pause and celebration! For this practice I am grateful beyond words.

Others have noticed my more relaxed (vs Type A~getter-done) personality as I have gracefully navigated the daily stressors.  Colleagues, students, friends, family and even my husband have begun to comment. They have shared things such as, “You are so calm amongst this chaos” or “Wow you handled that with such grace and dignity”  or “You have given me the greatest gift. The gift of listening to be heard and understood.”  Lastly, my husband who has always been skeptical of mysterious new ideas, recently shared with Martha that he is going to participate in her class!  Miracles come through the flow of qi.

My classroom will be forever changed with “breathing like a baby” practice with the understanding that anyone can take a break whenever they need to realign their being which will allow them to be their most successful self. Academics and social-emotional skills have shifted in such a positive way with the introduction of a few simple techniques! I hear children support one another by saying things such as, “It sounds like a few deep breaths might help us” or “You may not know it yet, but you will. Give yourself a chance.”

May we all be open to qi as we practice bringing the force of nature into our being.
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Vicki Pilling

Finding the treasure is so simple. Sit down, and breathe a little. Or a lot. Do your qigong and find your immortality.
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