Dr. Yang Yang's Evidence-Based Qigong Teacher Certification Training
Evidence Based Qigong (EBQ): The Essential Mind/Body/Spirit Foundation
This course is open to persons of all backgrounds and levels of ability interested in learning and experiencing the mind/body/spirit root common to all Eastern energy practices. Instructor certification is offered for those interested, but the desire to obtain certification is not a requisite for attendance.
What is Qigong?
What are the benefits of Qigong practice?
What do you mean by "spirit" or "spiritual exercise"?
Relation to Yoga
Benefits of Qigong for Yoga practitioners and instructors
Relation between Taiji and Qigong
(i.e. "Why is this course a prerequisite for Taiji certification?")
Course Logistics and Certification RequirementsWhat are the training requirements for teacher certification?
What are the recommended instructional materials for the training and certification?
When/where is the next teacher certification training event?
How do I apply for the next teacher certification training event?
How much does it cost?
Who can I contact for more information?
Are there any area attractions at the next training event for the significant other not interested in Qigong?
Master Yang Yang
Alice Brown Dodds photo
The term "qigong" was first popularized in the 1950s in China. Before then, the myriad different aspects of qigong were known mostly by their descriptive names: Tu Na (exhaling and inhaling), Dao Yin (guiding and conducting), An Qiao (massaging), Lian Yang (refining and nourishing), Xiu Lian (cultivating and refining (virtue)), Xiu Zhen (cultivating truth), Jing Zuo (tranquil sitting), Ming Xiang (meditation), Cun Si (mind-visualization), Guan Xiang (observing-imagining), Xing Qi (circulating qi).* Though there are myriad different qigong exercises, all must be understood in light of the ultimate purpose: mind/body/spirit integration.
Any mind/body/spirit integrative practice is qigong. Even walking (or light jogging) with knowledge and engagement in mind/body/spirit integrative principles is a qigong exercise. Conversely, walking (or any physical movement) with the mind and spirit disengaged (e.g. while talking on the phone or listening to mp3s), though perhaps valuable aerobic exercise, does not approach the depth of qigong exercise. Similarly, "taking deep breaths" can be a simple physical strategy to relax or calm down, but is not qigong. Integrating physical breathing instruction, however, with other mental/spiritual integrative principles can be a fundamental aspect of some qigong exercises. (There is a tendency in America to over-simply and misrepresent qigong as "breathing exercises." Though breathing can be a point of emphasis in some qigong exercises, in many fundamental qigong exercises the traditional teaching is to "be natural" and to forget about the breath completely. In other words, focus on the breath can be one technique of mind/body/spirit integrative exercises, but is not a defining component of qigong.)
Understanding qigong as mind/body/spirit integrative practice is also the key to understanding why it is so widely beneficial.
* Liu Tianjun, Chinese Medical Qigong. Singing Dragon: Philadelphia. 2010.
|Physical exercise and benefit:||Principles of natural postural alignment in sitting, standing, lying down, and moving postures improve circulation, reduce myriad types of pain caused by poor posture (e.g. back, knee, neck, and shoulder pain), and promote injury avoidance. Physical movement yields cardiovascular health improvements common to moderate aerobic exercise, as well as improvements in balance, range of motion/flexibility, bone density, and lower body and core strength.|
|Mental exercise and benefit:||Emphasis on intention and other mental principles of practice directly exercises the connection between the central and peripheral nervous systems, yielding physical mind/body integrative benefits of agility, force control, and improved motor skills as well as cognitive benefits from learning new movement. The exercise of meditation yields improvements in mental clarity and focus and (the very important) practice of behavioral modifying psychological principles and values in meditation yields a positive mental attitude and reinforces philosophical understanding and awareness that develops through spiritual awakening.|
|Spiritual exercise and benefit:||Self-awareness, or realization of one's true nature, and understanding of the world and one's relation and interaction with the world, are integral to understanding the traditional teachings that "relaxation and tranquility are the reasons why qigong can heal you." Qigong masters are often revered as wise persons in Chinese culture, in recognition of their peaceful bearing and philosophical understanding of life. See the section What do you mean by "spirit" or "spiritual exercise?" for more information about spiritual benefits of qigong practice.|
It must be understood that there is a synergistic relation between methods and benefits of practice. Different exercises may directly yield a specific therapeutic benefit, but it is the integrative, holistic aspect of traditional practice that affords deep, and lasting, benefit. As one example, qigong exercise can significantly reduce stress and yield all of the therapeutic, and preventative, benefits of stress reduction. Physical exercise alone can also reduce stress, however without the corresponding behavioral modifying psychological/philosophical/spiritual aspects of qigong practice, the stress will return. It is understanding and practice of the integrative, holistic aspects of qigong exercise that will more deeply, and effectively, reduce stress. The same is true for any mood disorder (sleep, PTSD, ADHD).
In medical terms, the mechanisms of Qigong benefits are often systemic, and not localized. Through mind/body/spirit integrative exercise we are restoring the natural balance of the nervous and immune systems, which, through the work of the scientific field of psychchoneuroimmunology (PNI), we now know are biologically interconnected and in constant two way communication through both direct innervation of lymphatic tissue and biochemical signals. (It was not that long ago that conventional Western medicine held that the immune system was completely independent of the nervous system.) In understanding this systemic mechanism, we can understand how qigong can be beneficial to a wide range of nervous and immune system disorders. Published pilot study research has shown that this EBQ program is significantly effective in improving older adults' immune response to flu vaccination after only three weeks of practice, three times a week.
In the end, qigong practice yields a sense of holistic well-being that is difficult to communicate intellectually - it must be experienced to be understood.
Though the potential benefits of qigong are many, it must be acknowledged that qigong is not a pill. The "dosage" of qigong is dependent upon many factors, including curriculum design, instructor aptitude, and student understanding and effort. The depth of mind/body/spirit engagement, and therefore the therapeutic "dosage" of qigong, is dependent upon an intensity of effort that is considerably different, yet equally important, as the intensity of aerobic exercise. It is traditionally taught that five minutes of high quality qigong practice is better (i.e. yields a higher dosage) that one hour of incorrect practice.
Spirituality, then, is exercise in understanding our true nature and relation to others and to the world. It is the most practical thing imaginable, as it is the path of realization of awareness, wisdom, compassion, love, tranquility, and joy today.
What we do not mean is religiosity. Religion is an institutionalized system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices that requires a commitment or devotion to a shared faith. Qigong is not in any way a religion. It does not require, nor espouse, any particular system of religious beliefs or practices. Qigong does not demand faith in any dogma; it is a path of experiential knowing, rooted in more than a millennia of experience and trial and error. Spirituality recognizes what all great teachers have taught: that God is within you, that you are always united with God (however you may define this indefinable concept). However, core spiritual and philosophic principles common to the world’s spiritual traditions, such as understanding of the duality of nature and necessity of overcoming ego and "looking within," are an essential aspect of Qigong. In qigong, one looks within to experience what is, not what one thinks, or has been told, should be.
The root of the ancient yoga tradition is mind/body/spirit integrative exercise - from this perspective, yoga and qigong are interchangeable terms. Indeed, qigong is often referred to as "Chinese yoga."
There is a great deal of difference in qigong and yoga instructor's understandings of their respective arts. Indeed, in my book I quoted from the classical yoga sutra "performed in all states and stages, on all planes of mind" when describing qigong practice. As long-time practitioners, however, we know that the essential foundation, as well as the ultimate purpose, of yoga and qigong is the same. The Chinese word "qi" is identical in meaning to the Sanskrit "prana." The meaning of the word yoga - union - is exactly the same as the Daoist principle of oneness.
Yoga instructors have stated the following benefits of supplementing their teaching/practice with this qigong curriculum:
Taiji form (if done correctly) is one kind of qigong practice. Taiji, however, is a complex, multimodal exercise and traditional training includes much more than slow, choreographed, physical movement. Other qigong exercises are part of the essential foundation of efficient taiji practice.
Entering the Taiji Circle - a brief personal story from Dr. Yang: Dr. Yang’s teacher, Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang, taught him that certain qigong exercises are essential to "enter the Taiji circle." Dr. Yang first met Grandmaster Feng in Shanghai in 1982. Grandmaster Feng was there at the invitation of the Chinese government as a principal representative of the Chen style at the historic first "all-family taiji master" gathering, and was invited to stay and teach in Shanghai after demonstrating. By that time, Dr. Yang had won the Shanghai all-collegiate taiji tournament three years running, had been selected as "best overall martial artist" after the last tournament, and was teaching taiji at the Shanghai Chen style research association. Dr. Yang met Grandmaster Feng in his hotel room, where Grandmaster Feng invited him to show his taiji ability in friendly "push-hands" practice. Though Dr. Yang was in his 20s and Grandmaster Feng was in his late 50s, Yang was unable to stand in front of Grandmaster Feng, who repeatedly, but gently, threw him away. As Dr. Yang says, he was glad it was a small room. Grandmaster Feng told him directly "boy, you are the champion, but you have not even entered the Taiji circle yet," to which Dr. Yang replied "Master Feng, how do I enter the circle?" Master Feng's answer was that traditional taiji practice is much more than choreographed form and that he needed to practice and understand the foundational qigong, or mind/body/spirit integrative exercises.
Note: The Center for Taiji and Qigong Studies reserves the right to modify re-certification requirements as deemed appropriate for effective quality control.
Note: click on the links below for registration information for the Kripalu and Esalen workshops. Instructions for registration for the CTS Blowing Rock, NC camp are detailed here.
Total expenses, including tuition, travel, meals, and lodging for all 5-day events are calculated to be equal at all locations, though travel, meals, and lodging costs will vary depending on venue. Click on the links above for registration and cost information for the Kripalu and Esalen venue locations. Cost for the next 5-day CTS training event is summarized below. Discounts are available for early tuition and attendace at previous CTS camps and are detailed here. A total cost calculator is available to assist with total cost estimates for the Blowing Rock camp including tuition, meals & lodging, and applicable discounts.
Testing: Each private certification performance evaluation (60 minutes) with Dr. Yang or a Senior EBT instructor will cost $200 (if testing in person in NYC, a $45/60 min studio renting fee is also applied).
You can email us with questions, or if you want to speak to a person call Scott at 347.989.3388.
|2007 EBT Group Photo|
There are two options for housing on-site:
Alternatively, you may arrange you own accommodations and commute to the camp. In this case, you must still pay the commuter rate for meals.
Tuition: $1100, payable to the Center for Taiji Studies.
Discounts: If downpayment is received before May 1, 2014, a $50 discount will be applied to tuition. Additional discounts are available for any person attending multiple CTS training events.
A total cost calculator is available to assist with total cost estimates including tuition, meals & lodging, and applicable discounts.
Three steps are required for enrollment in the CTS 5-day training event in Blowing Rock, NC. They must be completed in order:
Waiver and registration forms and either full payment or a $450 deposit are due two weeks after notification of acceptance. The application will be considered invalid if registration and a deposit are not received within two weeks of acceptance notification. Final payment of any amount due remaining is due by July 20, 2014. All payments must be by check or money order only and mailed to:
Center for Taiji Studies
Champaign, IL 61821
Registration and downpayment must be received by May 1, 2014 to receive a $50 tuition reduction. You may forward the $450 deposit with your registration anytime after May 1, 2014 to reserve your space at camp, but after that date you will not be eligible for the $50 tuition reduction.