How do we let go of control, yet claim the driver’s seat in life? How do we let go of fears and self-limiting thoughts to release into the universal life force that heals us and frees us to be truly who we are? How do we come into harmony with the flow that is life?
The answer is qi. Qi (vital energy) is the web connecting the body, the heart and mind, holding a record of all one’s physical, emotional and spiritual lessons. This map determines how we think, feel, heal, live and die.
When we experience this visceral connection, healing happens on all levels. Our life force flows into the isolated, numb, weak, dim and dark places in our physical and emotional body. Through energy level change, karma and fate can be changed. We re-connect with our true self and experience oneness in all. Once this crucial connection is made, spiritual development is exponential.
Using simple, gradually evolving qigong movements, sounds, breathing and meditation, Claire and Jerigtu brings people into a profound state of release, changing patterns in their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual being spontaneously.
Come experience the 7000-year-old practice of ZY Qigong, adaptable to our modern lives, bringing us closer to embodying the universal life force.
Core Curriculum Description
ZY Qigong provides a main framework of the progressing stages of development. The stages of qigong self-development is not linear. Our practice evolves in a spiral. Different students may assimilate the practice and progress at different rates. Some of us may get glimpses of the different stages early on and move through the stages quickly in a spiraling progression. We may revisit each stage again and again like peeling layers of an onion, whereas some of us may need to practice one stage persistently for a while before going onto the next stage. Ultimately a stage of development cannot be skipped. A stronger foundation enables one to continue deeper into the next level. Continuing the stages of development in a balanced way benefits most students.
New students who already have qigong or other meditation experience and feel they can progress faster can still do so by taking two or more classes concurrently, or taking the workshops out of sequence in order to get a big picture of the system sooner.
For existing students, the different levels of workshops allow them to zero in on the material they need to practice. To help you determine where you are and which classes may be right for you, we’ve developed a list of practice benchmarks for each class. Please remember, these benchmarks are guidelines only. If you have questions about your practice and how a class may help you, please call or email us.
In addition to the core curriculum (1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C), we’ll offer supporting workshops from other qigong systems and other practices that complement the main progression of development in the ZY Qigong system.
Self-Healing and Self-Development
Level 1: Relaxing the physical body, cultivating the energy bodyThe first aim of Level 1 practice is to relax the physical body. This means releasing the main patterns of muscular tension that restrict or block energy flow. When energy flows more freely, it exerts more pressure on the next layer of blockages until they clear, and so forth.
As this process continues, you achieve the second aim: you cultivate your energy body by increasing the overall amount and intensity of energy as well as improving its ability to circulate and gather it in the lower energy center—lower dantian. In turn, more gathered qi will push through greater blockages and regenerate areas of stagnation.
When you’ve reached the relaxed state, you’ll find your body feeling more spacious, easy and your energy flowing relatively freely. Your mind may remain active, but it has lost its ability to disturb the body. This loss of embodied expression and support for the busy mind allows it to start quieting down: you’re now ready for Level 2.
Level 1-A, B & C Practice Benefits:
- Increases energy and regulates our life force
- Improves kidney/adrenal and bladder functions
- Increase vitality, confidence, and self-esteem
- Opens the main energy channels
- Decreases pain
- Leads to general physical wellness which is the foundation of total well-being, physically, energetically/emotionally and spiritually
- Heal physical injuries from sports, dance, occupational related chronic pain and weakness
- Helps us experience deeper levels of relaxation that lead to the next stage: stillness
- Developing our “gut instincts” from our lower dantian (first, second and third chakras)
- Provides us with a supply of raw energy
- Determines the sexual disposition and appetite for men and women. The lower dantian is associated with the reproductive function. The blockages and stagnation of this energy center are common to many modern day citizens.
- Helps us express creativity, dance and movements especially in the pelvis and hip area
- Works with our knees and feet, feel supported
- Physically and energetically rooted, connected to our planet, gives us the feeling of being grounded and nurtured
- Focusing on our relationship to Earth and Earth qualities within us such as accepting, solidity, receiving, abundance of life, transformative power
- Creates our sense of security and general well-being, our healthy relation to the physical and material realm
- Reduces fear, strengthens trust in self, in life, faith in higher power
- Associated with the cerebral cortex of the brain
- Reflects our connection with our mothers, and our feminine within
- Helps the digestive system
- Offers characteristic of fire – with the qualities of expansiveness, warmth, and joy
- Especially important for those engaged in healing work of any sort, because this is where we build foundational energy for healing
- Reduce cravings for caffeine and salt
Level 1A: Preparing the body for qiThis level lays the foundation for ongoing ZY Qigong practice. It focuses on developing internal physical and energy awareness and releasing blockage points. It addresses basics of standing (alignment and balance), qi sensitivity and handling, and how to begin opening the main energetic pathways of the body. We practice warm-up and joint-opening exercises, hand training, energetic self-massage, the four Level 1 preparatory exercises, and simple standing meditation with arms at the side.
Level 1A benchmarksYou will have successfully learned and practiced this material when you have the internal awareness and control to:
- stand for at least a half-hour without your feet getting numb or tingly
- make your hands pulse energetically without physically moving them
- form a qi ball with your hands, increase its charge, and not lose the charge as you move it into your belly
- move qi around the inside your body with your hands
- feel the difference in your hands between pushing and pulling qi, and do either one at will
Level 1B: Activating lower dan tianAt this level, you solidify your energy foundation by continuing Level 1A practice. In addition, we apply our ability to move qi with the hands in two meditations to increase and ground our energy: cleansing and gathering (Bringing Down Heaven) and Big Tree.
Level 1B benchmarksYou will have successfully learned and practiced this material when you can:
- stand in Big Tree comfortably for at least one hour
- maintain an open connection from your hands through your navel to lower dan tian
- feel the increasing charge of your lower dan tian
- feel earth energy move up through your feet and body
- feel heaven energy move down through your head and body
Level 1C: Building lower dan tian
This level addresses a critical phase in self-development: the methodical gathering and refining of energy. It involves longer Level 1 Big Tree meditations and more detailed training in how to move energy efficiently. We also begin refining the jing energy gathered in Big Tree into qi by pulsing the lower dantian. Finally, when the qi is strong and balanced, we practice how to circulate it through the body in the Microcosmic Orbit.
Seen as an advanced exercise only taught after two years of practice in ancient times, Microcosmic Orbit (or Small Heavenly Circle) can be a most effective exercise for healing. This is the natural flow of qi in the body of a child in the womb and is interrupted at birth or soon afterwards. We will learn specific techniques to reconnect the life-sustaining and healing power of the microcosmic orbit as we practice to connect our gathered and balanced qi from the lower Dantian into the circulation, and opening the main spiritual gates along the way for transformation of the mind. Much of what people practice as the microcosmic orbit today is based on “imagination” rather than real qi flow. In this workshop, we will tangibly experience the power of this exercise.
Level 1C benchmarksYou will have successfully learned and practiced this material when you can:
- refine qi comfortably for at least two hours
- feel your hands and lower dan tian getting hot, and getting hot faster in successive refining qi meditations
- feel the qi begin to rise spontaneously
- guide the circulation of the qi through the microcosmic orbit with the relaxed pulsing of the perineum
Level 2: Integrating and relaxing the energy body, quieting the mind
The first aim of Level 2 practice is to integrate and relax the energy body. This involves continued work with physical blockages, but at a more detailed level than in Level 1. Increasingly, the energy body works as a unified pattern rather than a set of more or less separate flows. As this integration develops, the energy sensations become smoother. The energy body, just as the physical body, feels more spacious and refined. There is also the realization that many of the sensations we interpret in Level 1 as energy are actually resistance to energy.
The second aim is to quiet the mind. This is a natural result of relaxing the energy body. In Level 1 we experience the physical body calming down and no longer responding to the mind’s agitation. In Level 2, the relaxation of the energy body influences the mind: the mind slows down and simply stops; its construction of space and time stops. This is the calm state, also known as the qigong state.
Level 2 Practice Benefits:
- Strengthens our immune system
- Increases personal power, boundaries
- Improves self authority
- Increases contentment, joy
- Gain openness, non-judgment, leading to compassion for self and others, and unconditional love
- Emotional healing
- Associated with the thymus gland
- Carve yourself out of the network of conflicting desires and emotions which had previously characterized the ego
- The qualities of air in the personality – airiness, mobility, gentleness, and lightness
- Express our thoughts creatively, creativity, creating, manifesting in the physical world the fulfillment of one’s goals.
- Expression, voicing thoughts, feelings, emotions, poems, invocations, rituals, speeches, and prophecies
- Decreases cravings for sugar, refined carbohydrates
Level 2A: Integrating the energy body
At this level, we continue Level 1 training to increase our energy but with a new emphasis on improving the integrity ofthe energy body. We add Level 2 preparatory exercises, Level 2 Big Tree, and other practices to open the hips and the back of the pelvis, activate and build middle dan tian, and open and build the central channel.
Level 2A benchmarks
You will have successfully learned and practiced this material when:
- the qi in your lower dan tian gets extremely hot, then shoots up and opens your central channel (this usually only happens once, maybe twice, and you know it when it happens)
- you can move energy up and down your central channel while remaining grounded
- you begin dissolving your body boundaries in Big Tree
Level 2B: Relaxing the energy body
With the central channel open and the energy field beginning to work as a coherent whole, we now practice how to open and close, expand and contract the boundaries of our energy body and modulate its pulsing intensity. This pulsing is also called body breathing, and we learn to use it in different ways for specific purposes. Its primary application is to relax the energy body and quiet the mind in preparation for pause state in Level 3. Training also continues for gathering energy and increasing the capacity of our central channel and other pathways.
Level 2B benchmarksYou will have successfully learned and practiced this material when you can:
- meditate in Big Tree comfortably for at least two hours
- control at a basic level the boundaries and pulsing of your energy body
- gradually stop breathing for longer periods of time as you pulse your energy body
- experience your mind becoming empty: the no-space, no-time calm state
Level 2C: Advanced group practice
This offers group support and guidance from a teacher in practicing all Level 1 and 2 material to prepare yourself for Level 3 and attaining pause state.
Levels 3, 4 and 5
Level 3: Develop the upper Dantian
(Offered once every three years in the US, or at the China Intensives)
Develop brain function, activate the extraordinary senses, and reach pause state. We will activate and train the second and direct digestive system to absorb qi from the universe and maintain a prolonged pause state. When we feel that our lower, middle, and upper dantians are well connected by the middle channel, and abundant energy in our body allows us to reach and maintain the pause state, then we are ready for Level 4. (Prerequisite: Level 2B or equivalent or by approval)
Level 3 Practice Benefits:
- Leading to clarity
- Focus the mind at the point where one-pointedness, clarity and peace occur automatically. The feeling is truth.
- Developing impersonal intuitive reasoning
- Develop our masculinity within
- Our relationship with Our Father in Heaven
- Developing the Third Eye
- Associated with the pituitary gland
- Associated with the pineal gland
Level 4: Direct transmission
(Offered once every four years in the US, or at the China Intensives)
When our alchemical meditation process provides the direct “antenna” we need to develop ourselves uniquely and effortlessly. Mingtang will tailor the meditations to the group.
(Prerequisite: Level 3 or by approval)
Level 5: Soul development
Post Workshop Notes
This powerful practice will bring up our blind spots physically, emotionally and informationally. It is crucial to persist in the practice through the healing cycle. With each release physically, energetically or emotionally, old patterns can be freed layer by layer from all levels of our being. Some releasing happen at the most subtle levels during our sleep, dreams and moment by moment posture changes.
Qigong practice is not work. It is not about working hard, concentrating or achieving goals. If we come to qigong with working hard and “getting it” in mind, we will not reach the relaxed state, the calm state, and the pause state. If we come out of qigong practice tired, drained or with a headache from focusing, we didn’t attain the qigong state. When we come out of qigong practice energized and rejuvenated, our minds clear and alert, our bodies relaxed and renewed, and our energy full and flowing freely, then we have achieved the qigong state.
Qigong practice is about personal, tangible experience, not about accumulating knowledge. Abstract knowledge about qigong or others’ experiences of qigong practice can even lead us down a way not meant for us. Sometimes it’s helpful to practice first and read about the exercise and others’ experiences of it after.
There are two kinds of practice after a workshop. One is a moment by moment practice in our daily lives. Notice what we are practicing each moment, whether we are rehearsing old holding patterns, or actively releasing. Another practice is to allow a longer period of time to release deeper. Most people find it easier to form a practice group to support an on-going practice. ZY Qigong can be easily incorporated into our daily life.
- For many students, an hour of qigong practice a day not only decreases their length of sleep by two hours, it also improves their sleep quality. They wake up more refreshed and clear-minded.
- For many students, an hour of qigong practice a day not only decreases their length of sleep by two hours, it also improves their sleep quality. They wake up more refreshed and clear-minded.
- For students who cannot practice everyday, a prolonged period of practice once a week helps them deepen their practice rapidly. After a few hours, they can leave mundane thoughts behind and reach a deeper calm state.
- Students who are constantly busy with work and family can practice sitting meditation in meetings, while watching a movie, or while commuting. They can practice standing meditation while waiting, and practice walking qigong and sleeping qigong, etc.
Testimonials for ZYQ workshops and lectures
“Driving to work this morning I heard a song that really opened me up to a part of myself that feels important. It feels like a furthering of the release I started to feel during spontaneous movement in Level II last weekend. I found myself crying (hearing) it. Then I very clearly understood and felt ‘I did NOT want to be born’ and all the grief and sadness that I’ve felt and stuffed down because of that for my whole lifetime. Even just typing this now I start to cry again! I am definitely going to go back in and be with that little upset baby who did not want to be here. Thank you for helping to bring me to this place where I can meet this little baby and feel her. I am so very grateful.”
I’ve been studying Qigong for about 14 years, several of those years with Claire and Jerigtu, and find this practice life-giving and restorative. As a massage therapist of 23 years with a full-time schedule, I’m certain qigong practice has helped me stay healthy and energetic and able to work like I do. In addition to giving me flexibility, quicker healing and energy, it also opens up my ability to perceive what’s going on in my client’s anatomy (physical, energetic, spiritual). When I practice more, my client’s comment on the difference – THEY can feel it too. I’ve gotten the comments: “did you take a spin in the Jini’s bottle today?” “you have magic hands”. Etc.
This was the most energy I have felt so far. I learned a lot! Some of what I learned was the subtle details of moving energy, the spiraling motions of chi. The instructor seems to have a direct link to the teachers of our ZYQ system…All the exercises where spontaneous and open, it was amazing how well it all fit together and flowed naturally. My body was charged with energy for days afterwards. I really enjoyed this weekend intensive training.
— Richard, student of ZYQ since 03, China Intensives 04 & 05, private student of Mingtang, instructor, healer.
This was truly an amazing experience for me. I have been to other forms of healing seminars but never one like this. I was able to feel and see what was going on inside of me. I could feel the expansion of my self and the spirals going in all different directions! The rest I just cannot put into words at this time!
I liked the non-judgmental class environment which helped me to deal with issues as they came up during the meditations and exercises. Such an environment also made it easier to experience and enjoy breakthroughs. Claire’s overall level of effectiveness was a 5 (highest score), given the profound experiences that I had and her ability to intuit what would most benefit the members of the class.
— Peter Roth
“Jerigtu I want to thank you for a pain free back. Like I told Claire I was 20 years old when my back pain started for 39 years not for one minute of the day did it not hurt. I have gone to acupuncture and chiropractors and not one helped. Last year I walked out of your office in tears and still pain free to this day! With all my being I thank you! Your truly,
– Patricia Chhee”
You are a gift to all and when you shared your love of ZY, its power, simplicity and vitality I felt it. I also tapped into the grandeur of ZY and its ancient lineage tonight. It was delightful to hear your struggles, your challenges and your acceptance…then to see your level of commitment to all of us. You are planting so many seeds that will flower and change the world. You are also able to share ZY’s harmony, joy and love from your soul. ZY is real, easy to harness and so very much needed today.
–Marc Corbett Former PR Director of NQA (National Qigong Association)
“Toughen my sinews, harden my bones, Make my blood flow freely, I will then be young forever In touch with the realm of gods.” – Canon of the Great Void
Yi Jin Jing translated as sinews regenerating and transforming classic, is one of the best-preserved qigong exercises of ages due to its effectiveness. It was originally developed by Bodhi Dharma at Shaolin to enable Chan/Zen Buddhist monks to stretch and strengthen their tendons in order to practice lengthy meditations. It also facilitates the aligning of the spine for the energy to travel upward. The exercise coordinates movements, breath and the heart/mind to awaken and unify all into one. It aims to turn flaccid and frail sinews, tendons and fascia into strong and flexible systems of support, supporting not only the physical structures of bones and organs, but also enables the support of life force to flow freely among all systems, i.e. the nervous system, organs, joints, and meridians.
Yi Jin Jing practice is known to have quickly strengthened the body and energy, and even reversed aging for its practitioners. It’s especially beneficial to all body workers and healers as it supports the healers’ own wellness therefore the longevity of one’s practice. This is a beneficial practice suitable for everyone, especially those who want to deepen their meditation practice, body workers, energy healers, including Image Medicine practitioners, as well as those who have sedentary occupations.
Testimonials for Yi Jin Jing:
Hello Claire, The workshop was a special time with you and Jerigtu. I would like to share some outcomes with you. On Monday I saw a longtime deep muscle practitioner who has worked on my body for years with expertise in deep muscle and energy work. She said with honest amazement that she had never felt the energy in my body be in such a Quiet state. Acknowledging that the time with Jerigtu and you was the reason!! I cannot attribute the cause being: the movements, the meditation, or the peaceful sound of Jerigtu’s and your voices. It was great, all of the above combined. I will do my best to carry on and please keep me posted on your coming schedules. Very best regards and thank you again,
Jerigtu said in the workshop that the first movement is great to people who wake up between three to five am. I was one of them. After the workshop though, I have been sleeping through that time. I feel great! Thank you for a wonderful workshop!
The practice is REALLY good for massage therapists – because it stretches our overworked arms and hands and shoulders. I’ve been applying what Jerigtu said about using the movements for massage. I can see how that will empower my massage movements.