Soma Dao Qi Gong
Immerse yourself in an ancestral practice of meditative movement, enlivening breathwork, and rich stillness. Unlock the joints and fascia of your skeleton. Integrate imagination with the physical body.
Ways to learn
Thursdays, beginning January 2024
- 6:15pm - Hun Yuan Qi Gong
- 7:15pm - Relax & Unwind Qi Gong
Oaklands Community Center
- $100/10 registered, or $12 drop in
One-on-one / small group sessions
Can't make the scheduled classes? Hungry for specific knowledge or adjustments? Let's meet up. (Bring some friends to decrease the price.)
- Learn deeply without distraction
- Custom tailor what you want to learn
- Find a time that works for you
- Progress at a speed that works best for you
What to expect
Both group classes and individual lessons follow a similar format. We will begin learning a series of movements which will become increasingly familiar over many classes: an opening/closing sequence to create a sense of encapsulation for the ceremony of Qi Gong; rhythmic gestures to loosen the shoulders, spine, and hips; various forms of twisting and spiralling; and ever-deepening instructions on specifics of breath to be practiced throughout the movements.
After you memorize the basic gestures (which are quite simple), then the real work begins! As the practice deepens, we begin integrating subtle shifts of attention, using visualization and imagination, and changing how we breath and exert. You will discover that there is much to learn within the apparent simplicity. As students gain experience over time, new movements, Nei Gong (breathwork), and layers of intention are introduced.
The practice changes with the seasons, becoming still and quiet during the cold and dark months, expressing more playfully and dynamically in the long days of summer. Students who commit for the long term will begin to feel their energies syncing with the seasons (as most of our ancestors must have felt until very recently), as well as a slow and steady increase of vitality, energy, and contentedness.
Dao Yin, Qi Gong, and Soma Dao
As far as movement forms go, Dao Yin goes WAY back, to pre-written tribal culture of ancient China, 4000+ years ago. This was shamanic, nature-based prayer budding from nomadic hunter-gatherers whose survival necessitated a reverential relationship to the seasons. Expressions and gestures that were seen as pleasing and appeasing to the forces of nature (i.e.; prayer, reverence, homeage, respect, humility, awe) were practiced as a very real strategy to encourage survival and abundance.
Compared to Dao Yin, Qi Gong is a more 'modern' interpretation of mindful movement, originating from classic Chinese Taoism in agrarian, written-language society. As communism descended upon China in the 1950's, much of Qi gong was 'cleansed' by a militant atheistic/pro-science ethos, sending the authentic teachings underground and seriously eroding the art. Much has been forgotten. There are now thousands of different styles and lineages of Qi Gong, each with slightly different purposes and unique intentions. Qi Gong is now practiced all over the world as a method of healing oneself and others, enhancing athletic and martial arts capabilities, as well as cultivating awareness and a deeper connection with nature.
Soma Dao is the style of movement art (or lineage) that you will be learning if you train with me. Soma Dao is the name of Michael Smith's interpretation of Qi Gong + Dao Yin, the result of his long & in-depth training with martial arts masters and traditional lineage holders worldwide. Soma Dao is a hybridization of traditional Dao Yin & Qi Gong gestures, in the sense that it combines various lineages together. To learn more, follow this link to the official website.
My Qi Gong Story
During 2010-11, I lived for a year in a spiritual development center in Oregon. I studied and practiced yoga meditation, asanas, and yogic philosophy, as well as learning more about living in a sustainable, community-focused way. It was a life-changing year. Returning home, I began teaching yoga & meditation at the University of Lethbridge and started the hard process of re-orienting my life away from the ease and safety of spiritual community.
In summer 2013, I was living as a karma yogi at the Salt Spring Center of Yoga. Ne'ith Arrow taught a regular Qi Gong class there, and I fell in love with the vastness of the practice. It quickly overtook yoga as my preferred movement art - I had found my "embodiment home", though I hadn't recognized it yet.
During the following years, my commitment to the practice came and went in waves. Unsatisfied, I found myself window shopping for a spiritual practice I resonated with. I dabbled with various lineages and forms, until I finally saw what was right before my eyes - the beautiful movements I could never forget, the explosive stillness I still hadn't found anywhere else. I decided to fully step back into the Qi Gong I originally learned. I contacted the teacher of my teacher, who happened to be the founder of Soma Dao, Michael Smith.
I am now deep within a long (5-year) Soma Dao teacher training program, learning this art while now sharing what I have learned (and am learning) with the community. Some days I feel like I know nothing, noticing how the lessons gained from continual practice never seem to end. Other days I realize I have a lot to share. And so here I am, sharing.