Learning With The Masters

Master Miao Fu Sheng leading 5 animal form Qi Gong workshop: <br />TIGER Claws 'Seizing The Prey'
Master Miao Fu Sheng leading 5 Animal Form Qi Gong workshop: TIGER Claws 'Seizing The Prey'

On the most beautiful day we have had all year, more than fifty practitioners gathered in Rohnert Park’s attractive Burton Recreation Center to learn centuries old Qi Gong movements for maintaining and achieving health and well-being.  Master Li Shu Dong, a former professor in China’s Luo Yang University who immigrated here in 1996 with exceptional ability in the field of martial arts, opened the event with an awe inspiring Tai Chi performance.  Wearing shimmering gold silk, he moved majestically as each elegant movement flowed with incredible balance and control.

Qi Gong Master Miao Fu Sheng 5 Animal Form: Deer antlers photo
'Colliding with the (Deer) Antlers' ~ Master Miao Fu Sheng leading 5 Animal Form Qi Gong workshop

Next, Master Miao Fu Sheng, professor from China’s Liao Ning University, who is traveling around the world with a the Chinese Health Qui Gong Association, demonstrated and proceeded to teach us the Wu Qin Xi (Five Animal Form).

Qi Gong Master Miao Fu Sheng leading 5 Animal Form workshop: Monkey Picking Fruit
'Monkey Picking Fruit' ~ Master Miao Fu Sheng leading 5 Animal Form Qi Gong workshop
Instructor Keung Chan learning bird wings over head position at Master Miao Fu Sheng's 5 Animal Form Qi Gong workshop
Instructor Keung Chan learning Bird Wings (stretching over head) position at Master Miao Fu Sheng's 5 Animal Form Qi Gong workshop

This Qui Gong set encompasses the brave and wild temperament of the tiger, the rapid, smart and brisk pace of the running deer, the heavy, steady swaying of the bear, the nimble, cunning movements of the monkey, and the crane stretching it legs and spreading its wings for flying.

Master Miao’s delightfully interactive personality was a perfect fit for the lighthearted charm of the animals’ spirits. Though his explanations were in Chinese, translated by Master Li, his clever insertions of colloquial English – such as OK – and counting in English were enjoyed by the group.

As the workshop came to a close, we went our separate ways feeling refreshed and appreciative of the two masters who had so suberbly shared their wisdom and skills with us.  In our hearts, we vowed to continue personally practicing as well as sharing these movements for ultimate health.

Master Miao Fu Sheng finishing 5 Animal Form Qi Gong workshop in Rohnert Park California, brushing energy over head, down body
'Brushing energy over head, down body to Dan Tien' ~ Master Miao Fu Sheng finishing 5 Animal Form Qi Gong workshop in Rohnert Park, California

Serenity Thru Movement

A creative Tai Chi student in our group, Eleanor had an idea for “T’ shirts.  Using the Chinese Character for serenity and adding her wording, “Serenity Thru Movement”, she had shirts printed for all who wanted them.   They arrived – lovely – and as we admired them, Bob, an ex-Marine who knows more than most about movement said, “To go along with the complementary nature of Tai Chi, we should have another printing to read , ‘Senility Thru  Non-Movement’.”   That is, as my mother would say, “…More truth than poetry.”

One World, One Breath – World Tai Chi Day – April 28

Group Tai Chi by Rose Robinson
Group Tai Chi, a photo by Rose Robinson on Flickr.

As the World of Tai Chi Celebrates One World, One Breath…

Practitioners in the Sonoma County area – and beyond – are invited to gather in Cotati’s La Plaza Park.

World Tai Chi Day is April 28, and we will meet at 9:30 a.m.

Please join us as we honor Tai Chi’s founding fathers, meet other Tai Chi groups, and enjoy being together.


From North 101, take 101 south to Cotati exit. Turn left onto Gravenstein Highway (116); turn right onto Old Redwood Highway. and continue to downtown. Park is on the right.

From South take 101 north to West Sierra and exit right. Continue to downtown. Park is on your left at the corner of Old Redwood Highway and West Sierra.

You will find street parking and several parking lots. Enjoy Lunch at Redwood Cafe or Chinese, Thai, Indian Restaurants (and more!)

one world one breath 2012 international tai chi day flyer
'One World One Breath' 2012 International Tai Chi Day ~ Flyer for Sonoma County CA celebration

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Tai Chi & Qi Gong Workshop – Rohnert Park, California

On Saturday, April 21, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m., Master Miao Sheng Fu, professor from China’s Liao Ning University, will lead a Qi Gong workshop teaching the ancient Wu Qin Xi Form.   as a special bonus, MasterLi Shu Dong will teach his Eight Tai Chi Essentials.  No previous experience is necessary.

Please join us for a delightful afternoon at the Burton Recreation Center, 7421 Burton Avenue, Rohnert Park, next to Mountain Shadows Junior High School ( Corner of Southwest Bulevard and Burton Avenue) and park in the school parking lot.  

Introducing Tai Chi to the Community

This has been a great year of opportunity for introducing Tai Chi to various groups in several communities. First came the chance to tell a group of more than fifty SIRS (Seniors In Retirement) in Petaluma about some of the health and well-being advantages of practicing Tai Chi – a perfect choice for the number one New Year’s resolution to exercise.
Just a week ago, I was asked to lead groups to practice Tai Chi and Qi Gong at the Santa Rosa “Taking Control of Your Diabetes Conference” where about a thousand participants gathered to learn many aspects of “Living Well With Diabetes”.
And most recently at Rohnert Park’s Rancho Cotate High School’s “Unity Week” I had the pleasure of demonstrating sword and fan forms, giving some Chinese history and background of Tai Chi, leading students in Tai Chi and Qi Gong movements, and getting them to test their balance by standing on one leg.
All of this has been rewarding and helped to get out the message that Tai Chi and Qi Gong are for all ages. The earlier you begin, the more advantages you get – for life!

A Special Day With Guests From China

Qi Gong Teachers Special Workshop
Xiao Fei Hu teaches Joanne Stubblefield's beginner Tai Chi class Qigong, a Chinese exercise, at the Rohnert Park Senior Center. Credit: Angela Hart

On Monday, our Tai Chi class was honored with distinguished guests from China brought to us by Master Li Shu Dong. As a large group of Tai Chi students and community residents gathered at the Rohnert Park Senior Center, Mayor Gina Belforte presented Ms. Xiao Min, Vice President of China’s Olympic Committee, and Ms. Zheng, Xiao Hong, Director of Guang Dhou’s Sports Bureau, welcoming Proclaimations and Keys to the City. The two women from China then presented lavish gifts – gold medallions, stamps, and a scarf – representing the Chinese Health Qi Gong Association – to Mayor Belforte, Council Woman Stafford, Center Director Jessica Scheiberl, and Tai Chi Teacher, Joanne Stubblefield.

Mayor Gina Belforte learns Qigong, a Chinese exercise similar to tai chi or yoga. Credit: Angela Hart

Traveling in the group were top professors from Beijing, China University. Two of the professors, dressed in handsome silk Tai Chi outfits, gave a stunning performance of a centuries old Qi Gong form known as “Eight Brocades”. Following the presentation, the professors led the audience through the healing Qi Gong motions of the form.

The gathered group was also treated to a premier showing of Master Li performing a Tai Chi form animated as “Batman” in a delightful DVD Mr. John Leo of Maraizon International Computer Graphics and Multimedia recently created.

Qi Gong Practitioners from China
Credit: Jessica Schieberl, R.P. Senior Center

The day’s events were covered by Mr. Jud Snyder from “The Community Voice” and Angela Hart of “Patch”.

Master Li, who frequently brings masters from China to share with the community has been Joanne’s teacher since 1993. He is honored by China as a 20th Generation Tai Chi Master, First Class Judge, and High Coach. Master Li first established a school in Santa Rosa after emigrating here “with outstanding ability in his field” in 1997 and currently teaches in Cupertino, Stanford, and throughout the South Bay. Joanne teaches in Petaluma, Rohnert Park, and Santa Rosa.

Taking Control of Your Diabetes

What a perfect day the TCOYD had for their Santa Rosa Conference.  Eight hundred men, women, and children gathered at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek for an all day program offering the latest information and technology for “Living Well With Diabetes”.  The Special guest speaker, Billy Mills, 10,000 Meter Race Olympic Gold Medalist, who is living well with diabetes, told the audience about his “Journey to Happiness and Understanding”.

It was my pleasure to introduce Tai Chi and Qi Gong – ideal exercises as a part of the over-all healthy lifestyle presented throughout the day for preventing diabetes, or, for those already diabetic, preventing complications.

Soft music was playing in the background while we practiced the Tai Chi/Qi Gong motions as the sun shone warmly over the beautiful courtyard.   Participants breathed deeply, and murmured surprised realizations:  “The pain I’ve had all day is gone;” “This feels so good;”  “It’s so relaxing.”   Sharing the benefits of Tai Chi and Qi Gong and talking with so many delightful people made my day truly wonderful.  I hope to be a part of this whole health centered convention whenever it comes to our area again.

An Amazing Secret of Orchestra Conductors

A recent article disclosed evidence proving orchestra conductors lead healthier, longer lives than almost any other group and are known for their vitality and vibrancy. At first, it was thought that the constant exposure to music might be the key, but this was not found to be true of all musicians.

It was eventually discovered that it is the “wing-flapping” motions these conductors do while performing. Research showed that these upper body exercises provided a better cardiovascular work-out than lower body exercises like walking, jogging, and bicycling.

These upper body movements expand the muscles of the chest, opening the lungs and flooding oxygen to the entire body. The movements also cause your heart to pump vigorously to propel blood and nutrients to muscles and organs. Thus oxygen and blood are able to reach tight, tense, constricted areas lowering blood pressure and circulating more blood to the brain to sharpen thinking.

Many of us are tired, achy, and sore from so much of our time spent in constricted positions that reduce the flow of blood and oxygen  A pleasant solution  – if you don’t plan to start conducting an orchestra – is the wonderful “wing-flapping” motions of TAI CHI AND QI GONG.  Check our listings for a class that fits your schedule.

Facts regarding conductors are taken from an article by Dr. Susan Lark, M.D.

Cross Train Your Brain

A novel form of “cross-training” brain exercises called “neurobics is designed to generate new neural pathways by presenting the brain with unexpected sensory and emotional experiences according to Robin Manning, creator of Neurobics.

Because neurobics exercises the various areas of the brain using all the senses, the growth of neutrophins is possible to strengthen synapses and dendrites.  Some suggestions are:

1.  Try using the opposite hand you usually use to eat, brush your teeth, comb your hair, or shave.

2. When you wake up, try smelling something different from the usual coffee such as peppermint, vanilla or rosemary.

3. Close your eyes while you shower to stimulate your tactile sense.

4. Turn the photos on your desk or shelf upside down.

5. Try reading an article upside down ( it’s not as difficult as it sounds).

6.  If you frequently use an elevator, learn the Braille numbers for floors.

7. Create a “sensory canister” containing aromatic herbs and spices like sage, thyme, or cloves.  When you dial a phone number, take a whiff from the canister and see if you can remember the number.

8.  Break your routine by driving to work a different way, shopping in a different supermarket, or eating in a different ethnic restaurant.

Once you get the idea, you can easily come up with your own neurobics, and I would add, begin a new exercise such as TAI CHI that uses both body and mind in ways different from your usual daily activities.

For more information check out Rubin’s site: neurobics.com as well as our class schedule.

Want to Slow Down The Aging Process?

According to health expert Deepak Chopra, if you want to slow down or even reverse the bio markers of aging (blood pressure, bone density, body temperature regulation, basal metabolic rate, immune function, sugar tolerance, muscle mass, muscle strength, skin thickness [amount of wrinkles] and hormone levels) practice one or more of the following:

1.   Practice a mind body exercise such as TAI CHI or yoga. *

2.   Change your perception of time; don’t be in a hurry.

3.   Get restful sleep.

4.   Eat fresh, nutritious food.

5.   Take at least two multivitamins with minerals daily.

6.   Exercise regularly.

7.   Don’t put toxins in your life including: toxic foods, toxic emotions, toxic relationships, toxic environments.

8.   Have a flexible attitude to minor hassles.

9.   Look at so-called problems as opportunities.

10.  Nurture loving relationships.

11.  Always have an attitude of curiosity, learning and wonder, and spend time with children.

If you have the attitude that you get better as you grow older in every way – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially, then you will age in a much more graceful manner.

Adapted from “Health” by Deepak Chopra