exploring and empowering the human possibility…


Welcome to Full Circle Internal Arts

The internal arts offer us wonderful opportunities for enhancing our health, fitness, and personal/spiritual growth. Such practices are more important than ever in these days of rapid, often dramatic change and can assist us in all aspects of our lives.

My name is Art Baner. I am an experienced and enthusiastic instructor of several martial and healing arts. On this site you’ll find extensive information, resources, and classes about all things related to the internal arts – most specifically: Taijiquan, qigong, meditation, and the various applications of hypnotherapy (coming soon).

The purpose of this site is to support people who are actively cultivating their higher potential not only for themselves but also for the well being of those around them. Please have a look around, sign up for my newsletter, and drop me a line or two if you like. You can also visit my Integrative Bodywork website and schedule an appointment if you are in the Bellingham, Wa area.

Wishing you clear minds and happy hearts.

~ Art Baner


February 21, 2009   Comments Off

morning qigong returns to the metta center

You’re invited to join us for this new series in uplifting movement and quiet focus. Over the course of 3 months, we will explore qigong fundamentals and develop deep practice. We will learn three distinct qigong sets including the elegant Balancing the Heart series. All experience levels are welcome.

What is Qigong?
The word “qigong” can be translated as the cultivation of one’s energy and awareness. It has its roots in ancient China and India where healers, scholars, martial artists, and monks sought effective ways to improve the quality of their health, consciousness, and self expression.

Some of What We Will Cover:
* Seven Core Principles of Effective Qigong
* Zhan Zhuang (Standing Tree) Qigong
* The Baduanjin (Eight Pieces of Brocade) Moving Qigong Set
* Shuxin Pingxue Gong (Balancing the Heart)
* Subtle energetics, practice tips, and more…

Course Details:
When: Wednesday mornings beginning October 4th
Time: 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Place: The Metta Center (1602 Carolina St, Bellingham)
Tuition: 55/month for three months

To reserve your place, call Art Baner at (360) 318-4433

or email at artbaner@gmail.com

September 19, 2017   No Comments

there are a thousand ways…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog entry, but recently a particular Tai Chi instructor from my past has been in my thoughts. This is for him…

Many years ago, I met a Tai Chi teacher who was quite the mystery to me. Without meaning to, he presented me with a puzzle, the depth of which I would not really work out until some years later. His lesson has shown up again and again as I’ve worked with many awesome teachers and students and continued to evolve my understanding of the art.

In short, the lesson for me is this: There is no one true or correct way to interpret, define, or practice Tai Chi (or qigong for that matter). I’ll explain what I mean: This particular teacher had come to Tai Chi following a serious injury which left him with intense pain and mobility issues. His work and social life were challenging at best. Upon encountering Tai Chi, he had an inspiration. After a few lessons, he decided to study on his own in such a way as to rehabilitate himself, one slow step at a time.

By the time I met him, he had recovered marvelously. He was also working with students, sharing what he had learned, teaching Tai Chi… As I watched him move, the young student in me was shocked. I remember having such thoughts as: Uh, I’m pretty sure that isn’t Tai Chi; There’s no way that would work in a fight; and This doesn’t make any sense at all!

Fortunately, we’re not the content of our thoughts, and it later occurred to me that regardless of how different his approach to the art was, it was working! It obviously felt good in his body, had facilitated his healing, and was of value to his students! Who was I to offer any further comment on it other than, good for him!

This was a liberating realization for me, and continues to be so. Over the years, I’ve seen many, many approaches to Tai Chi and qigong. Variations exist within movement interpretation, semantics, application, and even theory and principles. There are differing points of view as to how flexible Tai Chi is as a discipline, how it relates to other martial styles, and how much it can be altered depending on the needs of the student… or circumstances.

Where I land on all this can be summarized by the idea that Tai Chi exists to serve the evolving best interest of the practitioner. Students bring to the art their history, their challenges, their strengths, and the unique complexity of their body-mind. We use our Tai Chi, respecting where we are in any given moment, to strengthen, refine, and develop ourselves on many levels. The various forms and practices are tools to further realize our potential. As we grow and evolve as practitioners, our abilities improve as do the tools and understandings we employ. Happily, all this can be a lot of fun and is very rewarding along the way…

I believe, to be honest, that some approaches to Tai Chi are more developed and respectful of “body logic” than others. But all of us can improve the wisdom and ability with which we use our marvelous body-mind. We can all learn more, include more, expand and go beyond what we have mastered so far, and do so with respect for ourselves and those around us.

This means that anyone can learn and benefit from Tai Chi and/or qigong. Given an open mind and willingness to explore and cultivate what works, we can all find a way to practice that feels good and moves us forward.

I’ve long since lost touch with the teacher mentioned above, but I remain grateful to him and all the other bright souls who have and continue to inspire and enlighten my practice.

September 18, 2017   2 Comments

new tai chi series begins november 7

I’m happy to announce a brand new cycle of Tai Chi classes starting this November. In this series, you will learn the first section of the traditional long form as well as the 10 Important Points that make Tai Chi effective as a martial and healing practice. We will also explore Tai Chi as a creative process and many ways in which we can master and integrate its benefits into our daily life.

The benefits of regular Tai Chi practice are well documented and are enjoyed  by thousands of practitioners around the world. They include:
* Improved posture, balance, and coordination
* Improved ability to relax and breathe freely
* Heightened ability to release stress and tension
* Increased core strength
* Improved internal and external awareness
* And more…

This series is perfect for people brand new to Tai Chi as well as experienced players who want to refine and deepen their practice. I look forward to working with you!

Class Details:

When: Monday evenings beginning November 7th
Time: 6:30 – 7:45
Location: The Majestic (1027 N. Forest, Bellingham)
Tuition: 55/mo.
Email or call to reserve your place… I’ll send out an email just prior to class with further details.

October 25, 2016   No Comments

toward deeper practice

Recently, someone asked me, “How can I take my practice beyond traditional form work?” I love questions like this as they can lead us into subtle and interesting places. In this case, the student was thinking beyond the mere repetition of movements and ideas and more to the heart of practice and our personal relationship with it.

In pondering this, it occurs to me that good practice is not so much a thing we do, but a quality of being we step into. For me, it is much like meditation or prayer or that “zone” we can feel when running, hiking, or concentrating on something fascinating to us. As such, it is unique (and similar) for each of us. Ideally, it is a sate of focused self-cultivation in which the first basic theme is “practice so as to feel genuinely good.” If you are feeling good, your practice is good, even if technically there is lots of room for improvement. Feeling good comes first and feeling good will lead you deeper.

What do I mean by “feeling good?” It might mean that you are feeling more balanced, more coordinated, happier, stronger, a deeper flow of energy, a sense of peace, presence, or connection. It can mean many things as you move in the direction of greater well-being. For Tai Chi or qigong practitioners, good practice involves using the movements and principles of our forms, but seeking more so the qualities of one’s Self beneath them. Explore the feeling of presence and the clarity of your focus. Enter into greater levels of relaxation, ease, grace, and more… The deep qualities of one’s Self are truly uplifting and inspire us to go deeper still.

But what of those times during which we are not feeling so good? What about those moments of struggle or discomfort or uncertainty when learning something new? In those challenging moments, it can help to remember generosity for ourselves. We can continue to learn and allow a sense of inner good will and self appreciation. We can always refine that clarity of intention, whether we feel it at the level of a trickling stream or a roaring ocean that flows over to include all around us. We can use challenging moments as opportunities to embrace more deeply any virtue that inspires us most. In this way, outer practice leads to inner growth… cultivating the outer strengthens the inner.

In the end, I know of no better way to self cultivation than through meaningful practice… crafted from those disciplines worthy of our time and energy. So wherever you are in your relationship with self-cultivation, whatever that may mean to you, take it further still, with kindness toward yourself, authenticity in your methods, and with the consistency that makes us strong. Let your practice evolve as you do and if the spirit moves you… share it with others.

As always, I wish you happy practicing!


October 19, 2016   No Comments

morning qigong pdf series

Hello everyone. This is where I will post a series of pdf files that relate to the material we are working on. It is not required reading, but I believe you will find a lot of useful information. The attached pdf’s are taken from a book in progress called Exploring the Heart of Qigong. There should be at least six in this series over the next 8 weeks. Thanks, and happy practicing! ~ Art

1. morning qigong 1- introduction to qigong

2.Video of the 8 Pieces of Brocade
This is an older video and not exactly as I teach and practice it now, but its close enough to assist in learning (and remembering) the choreography.

3. morning qigong 2 – zhan zhuang foundation

4. morning qigong 3 – the magic of posture

5. morning qigong 4 – conscious breathing

6. morning qigong 5 – dynamic relaxation

August 17, 2016   No Comments

join us for morning qigong!

Beginning Wednesday, August 17th, I’ll be offering a morning qigong study and practice.

Qigong is an awesome way to begin the day and there’s something magical about practicing in a group! My plan is to follow this foundation course with two more advanced series as we head into autumn and winter…

Full details for this series are HERE.

Please call or email with any questions or to reserve your place and I hope to see you there!

August 1, 2016   No Comments

new series beginning monday, march 7th!

Join us for the Tai Chi 5-Section Short Form
Beginning March 7th, I’ll be presenting a shortened form of solo Tai Chi practice called the 5-Section Short Form. There some significant advantages contained in this elegant little form: It is easier and simpler to learn than the traditional long form. It takes less time to learn and to perform. And it requires less space in which to practice. All of these make it an ideal form for those just beginning Tai Chi.
For more advanced students, the 5-Section form offers a shorter alternative for practice. It puts the pieces together in a different order which can lead to more free play exploration. And it is an easy form to learn in the opposite direction.

Benefits of Tai Chi
The benefits of regular Tai Chi practice are numerous and well researched. They include: improved leg and core muscle strength; improved balance, coordination, and ease of movement; improved posture and body mechanics; an enhanced ability to relax and to focus; a heightened sensitivity to subtle energetics, and more… 

Details for this Series:
When: Monday evenings 6:30 to 7:45 beginning Monday, March 7th
This series will last approximately 4 months depending on the speed of the class.
Where: The Majestic – 1027 N. Forest (corner of Forest and Maple Street, Bellingham)
Tuition: 55/month
Bring: comfortable clothes, athletic shoes, water if you like
Bonus: There is online video of this form to make it easier to learn and practice at home.
Bonus: As we get deeper into this form, I will include in this series beginning instruction in jui-shou or Sensing Hands. This is the foundation for 2-person Tai Chi practice which is a non-competitive exploration of Tai Chi principles as applied in connection with another person. Participation in this aspect of the class is totally optional.
Finally, if you have not confirmed your place in this class and would like to, please call or email me so I am sure to have you on my list.

February 23, 2016   No Comments

new taiji series beginning january 6

Tai Chi Long Form Training January 2016
Begin your new year with a fun and uplifting study of Yang Style Tai Chi. This new series is perfect for beginners as well as experienced players who are looking to further practice and refine their art. 

Regular practitioners of Tai Chi consistently report the following benefits:

* Improved balance and coordination
* Improved posture
* Increased core and leg strength
* Increased energy flow
* Improvement in overall health and wellbeing
* Enhanced ability to focus and relax


In addition to learning the traditional solo Long Form, in a movement by movement approach, we will be training principles that support strong core work, easy movement flow, and conscious, energetic connection. This will give the student many levels with which to approach and master their art. Spaces are filling up… If you would like to join us, please call or email me to reserve your place. Details are below:

When: Wednesday evenings, beginning January 6th
Time: 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
Where: The Metta Center; 1602 Carolina Street, Suite D (info here: http://www.themettacenter.org/)
What to Bring: Comfortable, loose fitting clothes, water
Tuition: 55/month

December 14, 2015   No Comments

handout for sunday’s moving-step pushing hands group


Hello everyone.

It was great working with you all yesterday. Thanks for everyone’s awesome effort and generous spirit! As promised, the link for the handout on the material we covered is HERE.

I hope you find it helpful … and happy practicing!

December 1, 2014   No Comments

autumn newsletter – new classes, events, and more…

Our autumn newsletter is now available! Here is the LINK.

Also please note that a beginning level class on qigong and Tai Chi fundamentals is now forming. Details are below. All are welcome to attend and current students receive this class at half price!

Monday evening classes will continue as we near completion of the long form and then set our sights on refining technique, deepening principles, and developing more spontaneous, creative flow.

Email or call Art Baner at 360-318-4433 with any questions or to reserve your space in upcoming events!

Thanks and happy practicing!

September 8, 2014   No Comments