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March 2012 Newsletter - CTS Update from Dr. Yang Yang

Changes in CTS Instructor Certification Program and
Plans for Web Site Update

Yang Yang

Level I Qigong Certification Now Offered

Our mission in introducing the EBT program in 2007 was to deliver the essence of internal martial arts training, not only for taiji or martial arts enthusiasts but for all interested in holistic well-being. With that goal still in place, and in light of my experience in teaching the public and hospital staff and patients over the past five years, I felt it was time to modify the instructor certification program. The requirements for EBT certification remain the same, but we will now be offering a Level I Qigong certification after the first 32 contact hours (5-day CTS intensive training event), plus home study and performance and written testing. We first offered Qigong certification, prior to EBT certification, through a staff training program at the Mayo Clinic completed in 2009. This model proved successful, allowing those not necessarily interested in taiji form movement to learn and practice the essential mind/body/spirit integrative qigong exercises.

Level I Qigong Certification Course Offerings

We have been invited to offer Level I Qigong certification training at Kripalu Yoga Center after receiving very positive evaluations at several workshops there over the past several years. We will therefore be offering the Level I Qigong program there, and at Esalen Institute, as well as our annual CTS 5-day intensive training event. Because of more "relaxed" schedules at Kripalu and Esalen, a 2-day and a 5-day event will be required to accumulate requisite contact hours. CTS intensive 5-day training events will provide all of the requisite contact hours for Level I EBQ certification. This year, the CTS 5-day intensive training event wil be September 16-21, 2012, in Blowing Rock, NC. This will be a split-curriculum course, also offering the second 5-day training for those wishing to complete EBT certification. A listing of course offerings is provided on our web site.

Potential Audience for Qigong Certification

Qigong is not just isolated slow movement; it is not only taiji movement without the choreography. It is the mind/body/spirit integrative practice that is the root of all internal martial arts. It is a path to realize xiulian, or tranquility of mind and spirit, which is at once both the essential foundation and purpose of taiji training.

In focusing the first week of certification training on qigong, we can better reach our mission of bringing the benefits of this practice to a wider population. The indended audience for this program includes:

  • General public. For differing reasons, many are not interested in learning extensive form movements. A main focus of the Level I qigong certification training is practical application to daily life, and my experience over the past few years has been that the qigong instruction, especially the mental/psychological/spiritual instruction in meditation, has been very well received by those not necessarily interested in taiji.
  • Hospital patients and staff. This instruction has been well received at my teaching in hospitals, most recently to patients and staff at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in NYC. Time is very short, especially for caregivers. Patients are a special consideration and are in immediate need of not only the obvious issues of stress reduction and gentle physical exercise related to well-being, but also relief of depression and anxiety.
  • Yoga teachers. See here.
  • Psychologists and social workers. I have received very positive feedback from psychologists and social workers on the practical meditation instruction provided in this course.
  • Martial artists. As mentioned, qigong trainining is the root of all Chinese internal martial arts. This course provides the distilled essence of traditional qigong training necessary for all martial artists to build a solid foundation in their respective arts, without the need to "change styles." You can read a brief personal story on our Level I Qigong certification web page on why this course is the foundation for martial art training.

I would encourage everyone to read the background material on the EBQ course on our website. There is valuable information there, including a definition of qigong (one that I have not previously seen espoused elsewhere), as well as discussion of the benefits of qigong practice and a section addressing what do you mean by spirit or spiritual practice".

Additions/Modifications to EBT Qigong Training

One of the main things that I have learned in teaching over the past several years is that the essential meditation practices are quite difficult for many people - some suggestions for meditation have been the subject of recent newsletters, and I have continued to refine and improve both my own understanding of the methods and purpose of the meditation practice and pedagogy. All of the qigong exercises taught in the EBT course are included in the Level I Qigong (EBQ) curriculum, but we have refined the instruction, emphasizing the practical relation to daily life of mental/psychological principles and spiritual awareness. In other words, we continue to refine and improve instruction in how to deeply and efficiently realize tranquility, joy, and resilience of mind and spirit, the foundation and purpose of our training. Of course, it is the mind/body/spirit integrative aspect of qigong practice that makes it so widely beneficial and, I believe, unique. To maintain an emphasis on the "physical" part of mind/body/spirit, I have also included additional, moderately aerobic, moving qigong exercises in the EBQ curriculum.

Website Update Planned

I believe that the combined EBQ and EBT curriculum is very valuable for all people, and remain committed to making it available to all interested through our instructor certification program. To better assist our instructors, we are also planning to redesign our website to include social/community media such as discussion groups, where instructors can share their experience with others, as well as to provide instructional video content for instructors and students. We have recognized the need for this for some time, but our limited staff has been extraordinarily busy in teaching and lecturing/presenting/promoting taiji/qigong research to hospitals and academics. If any of you have suggestions for a redesigned web site, or would consider offering expertise in web site development rich in media and community building content, we'd love to hear from you!

- Yang

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