Saturday, Feb. 2nd, is the first class of a new 8 week session of Tai Chi and Qigong for health and stress management, class. You can attend the first one for free. At Shawnee Civic Centre.
If, like many others have, you decide to enroll for the session, you'll pay for the class you attended then.
My name is Bill Douglas. I've studied and taught Tai Chi and Qigong all over the world for the last 30 years, but I live in Overland Park, and therefore have local ongoing classes.
Tai Chi and Qigong have changed my life, and about 20 years ago I left my career in Human Resources Administration to teach these arts full time. Since then I've written a best-selling tai chi book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to T'ai Chi and Qigong," and founded a global event called "World Tai Chi Day" www.WorldTaiChiDay.org which is celebrated annually on the last Saturday in April in hundreds of cities in over 70 nations.
In 2009, my wife Angela Wong Douglas, and I were inducted into the Internal Arts Hall of Fame in New York, and I've recieved top honors from the World Congress on Qigong, the US Tai Chi Federation, and the National Qigong Association for my work educating people all around the planet about Tai Chi and Qigong as a health & healing technique that could literally change the world. I've been a Tai Chi source for The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal; Reader's Digest; Prevention Magazine; and media worldwide.
According to modern medical research, stress caused 85% of all illness. Yes, that's right, STRESS CAUSES almost all illness. Tai Chi and Qigong are highly evolved biofeedback systems to help us become aware of where we hold onto our stress, and then use a combination of visualization, breathing, and gentle movement to begin to unblock those stress points, but to also re-program the way our mind, heart and body deal with stress daily, so those points don't keep "re-gripping."
Some people come to these classes thinking that I, Bill Douglas, is going to "fix" them. That won't work. In fact, if you come to the class with tight expectations, as in all aspects of life, you will be deeply dissapointed.
However, if you come to the class with sense of empty, open minded adventure, you may go on a journey of mind and body that will take you to places you could have never imagined. Tai Chi and Qigong are the arts of letting go.
Now, you may think, "Why should I believe that this guy from Overland Park knows anything about Tai Chi and Qigong, which are Chinese arts?" Well, the US Tai Chi Forms Grand Champion, Sifu Hong Yijao, and US Team USA Senior Martial Arts Coach, Dr. Michael Steward, Sr., wrote that my Tai Chi book was one of the best ones they'd ever read, making highly complex Chinese concepts simple to understand. Dr. Steward, who'd taught Tai Chi for decades, said he'd read my book 7 times and still got more from it each time.
Angela, my wife is from Hong Kong, and we've been married about 30 years, which has given me a window into the world of Chinese culture that few Americans ever see. But, I was a good student over these 30 years, absorbing all I could.
I studied Acupuncture under Waseda Japan's acupuncture training program, and studied various Qigong meditations, investing tens of thousands of dollars in the process. I have the equivalent of several Ph.D.s in these arts.
But, I won't be the one giving you the extraordinary experience on Saturdays. It will be you. I will offer suggestions, and then it will be up to you to let go of your grip on what you expect, in order to flow to what you could not have imagined.
My students have seen their high blood pressure go down, their anxiety and depression lessen dramatically, their chronic pain go away, their immune systems become much stronger. This isn't surprising given the mountain of medical research on Tai Chi and Qigong that is proving these ancient tools can help with so many health challenges. Harvard Health Publication called Tai Chi "moving medication" because of all it can do for our health.
But, in my classes, I encourage students to read my best-selling tai chi book, or visit www.worldtaichiday.org and click on "Medical Research," to learn about all the tons of medical research proving these tools can help ... but, then to "let go" of all of that. Let go of why you came to Tai Chi and Qigong, and just come to breathe, loosen, and play.
Also, years ago I was one of a few top national tai chi experts invited to a National Council on Aging conference, to create an efficacy guide for aging professionals to create local tai chi programs. At this conference one of the Chinese masters said that he thought that the "social" aspect of Tai Chi was part of its power. When the American teachers heard this, we all agreed, even though most of us wouldn't have thought of it.
As Americans we are taught to be rugged individuals, alone and self sufficient. This is an illusion. We are all part of a connected whole, a web of life, and Chinese philosophy recognized this thousands of years ago. Tai Chi and Qigong are more powerful when done in a group.
So, sometimes when I arrive at my free class, this meetup is about, I'll notice some group members who show up for these free classes will just be sitting all by themselves, speaking to no one around them. If you arrive at the class and isolate yourself, you will have failed the first test of Tai Chi.
What I have found over 20 years of full time teaching, is that people who come to Tai Chi and Qigong classes are among the most fascinating people our society offers. The people sitting around you are a gift. Enjoy them, be entertained and stimulated by their presence. Learn who they are, and share with them who you are.
Then, when I arrive on Saturday, we will begin by closing our eyes, touching into the rhythm of our own breathing, and go on an adventure of mind, body, and spirit that will be something we can treasure for the rest of our lives.
These classes are held at the BEAUTIFUL Shawnee Civic Centre, an exquisite location with ceiling to floor windows overlooking a wooded pond.