Stewardship At the heart of Chinese Medicine and channeled into the holistic health services at the Hawthorn Center is the essential principle of prevention: health as a continuous process and each of us an active participant in creating the right conditions for wellness and the flourishing of life.
To support you in realizing yourself as a steward of your own health and to develop skills and techniques to nurture a vital existence, instruction in Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan is offered as well as classes in Daoist studies. These practices and classes can be integrated into any treatment plan or stand alone as the path towards greater health and balanced living.
Alongside study in herbal medicine at the Hawthorn Center, instruction and training in Qigong and Tai Chi is encouraged as the soft, quiet and rhythmic movements grounded in stillness allow us to deepen our sensitivity to the way of natural patterns and cycles, and relate more intimately to complexity within ecosystems.
Inheritance: Qigong Qigong comes from a long history of cultivation, purification, and longevity practices developed over the course of thousands of years in China, including the “nourishing life” arts (yang sheng養生), schools of Daoist internal alchemy (nei dan, 內丹術), and the teachings of dao yin (導引) - the precursor to what today we call Qigong. For example, the Five Animal Frolics and the Eight Pieces of Brocade taught at the Hawthorn Center are well-known forms of Dao Yin.
To gain insight into the nature of these practices and their significance in the cultivation of health today, we can turn to the depth of the Chinese language - characters that were originally pictures, images and signs representing the most essential of life experience and phenomena. As we travel to the interior of a character, we discover the rich and complex meaning being represented that feels all at once familiar.
For example, when we look at the characters for Dao Yin we find dao(導 -movement along the path or way) with yin(引, a draw bow and string). Within this relationship, Dao Yin exercises invite the practitioner to develop the mental precision of an archer to guide, stretch, pull and release the flow of internal energy by means of specific movements and breathing.
Next, when we examine the Chinese characters for qi gongwe find many parts that together create special meaning. First, the character for qi (氣) is a picture of rice underneath curling clouds suggesting vapors of nourishment. Within gong we see a picture of a carpenter’s square (often related to work and material production) combined with the image of a tendon - 功. If we apply the root meaning of gong over time through dedicated form practice, we can realize it as the steady, continuous and precise accumulation and improvement in balance, coordination, agility and replenishment of life force: the foundation of health and vitality!
While the linguistic and cultural roots of Qigong are Chinese, the ideographic language reveals that the nature of these practices is not limited to the Orient. Rather, the qualities to both begin and develop - right concentration and effort, patience, unswerving dedication, and correct conduct - are found within many spiritual traditions and are essentially human. And given the shared language of non-verbal physical movement, anyone can learn regardless of mental or physical limitations. No special skill is required, simply a wholehearted curiosity and the willingness to try.
Living Practice...Tai Chi Chuan Qigong forms are often integrated into martial arts training including Tai Chi Chuan. To differentiate Tai Chi Chuan from being simply an exercise of qi gong, it is critical to study the theory and philosophical foundation of the practice and its martial application through exercises such as push hands (or sensing hands): essentially bringing the health and vitality of individual practice and self-cultivation into relationship!
In this way, Tai Chi Chuan at the Hawthorn Center branches and blossoms from the deeply rooted lineage of the Tung Family and follows the scholarship of Christopher Kiely (Falling Water School of Tai Chi Chuan) who currently offers seasonal training intensives in Bristol, Vermont for students to study the principles of Chinese Medicine and classical Chinese texts as an intertwining stream with form practice, cultivating the fertile ground of understanding between yin and yang - living the practice of Tai Chi Chuan. (fallingwatertaichi.com)
Daoist Contemplative Studies Black Moon Harbor - Monthly Gathering Black Moon Harbor, a monthly gathering at the Hawthorn Center, is another opportunity to combine contemplation and practice. At each monthly gathering we trace our position within the lunar cycle through the study of the Yijing, yin-yang theory, and explore the seasonal relationships among the five phases of wood, fire, earth, metal and water to open to the greater movements coursing through. Meditation and writing exercises then circulate and integrate the didactic material into our personal experience.
The Way of Water Within the range of holistic health services offered through the Hawthorn Center, Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan are natural complements to acupuncture therapy - equal pillars within the holistic healthcare system of Chinese Medicine. The intimacy of this relationship can be seen clearly with one more look at the poetic imagery of the Chinese language.
Inside the characters for the acupuncture meridian system - jingmai (經脈) - we see the first character jing (經) as streams joined together running beneath the surface coupled with a pictograph of twisted threads following the warp of fabric. Inside of mai (脈) we find a picture of the moon next to the character for a tributary joining a main river - all together illuminating what is unseen: the body’s internal streams woven together, flowing within a natural order.
Acupuncture needles tap into this channel network, benefiting circulation and, in turn, enhancing the body’s capacity to perform all vital functions with greater efficiency and ease.
Similarly, through slow, relaxed, and deliberate movements, form practice allows for the internal waterways to flow more smoothly at the same time increasing the practitioner’s sensitivity and capacity to consciously encounter this flow and experience true connection and tranquility.
Beginning and Continuing While technology allows for many choices of recorded lessons amidst the wide variety of online teachings, there is no substitute for the direct transmission of an experienced practitioner and regular classes to offer discipline, timely corrections, and ongoing support:
To learn more, contact Rachel Edwards at 802-355-9306; firstname.lastname@example.org.