exploring and empowering the human possibility…

autumn classes and events

I’m happy to announce a new beginning level class and a few other events coming up soon…

Beginning Tai Chi: Qigong and Long Form

Description: This is a great class for both beginners and experienced practitioners who want to deepen and improve their core work. In this series we will learn qigong practices that are specific to Taiji with an emphasis on breathing, posture, and relaxed focus. We will also learn the first part of the traditional long form. Depending on the pace of the class, this series will last 3-4 months. Afterward, a level two series will be offered and we will continue from there…
Begins: Wednesday, October 8th
Time: 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Place: The Majestic (Corner of Maple and Forest)
Tuition: 50/month (a few partial scholarships are available)
Register: by email or phone (318-4433) to reserve your space.

Tai Chi 2-Person Practice - A Mini-workshop on “Sensing Hands”
Description: This exploration of juishou or “sensing hands” is perfect for beginners and intermediate players.
We will explore the core principles of Tai Chi through intuitive, cooperative drills with a partner. Juishou benefits us through deepening our solo form and enhancing all the benefits of good Tai Chi practice.
Join us for this fun and ongoing series hosted by my friend Kelly at Powered by Qi in Ferndale.
Date: Saturday, October 11
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 pm
Place: Kelly’s Studio – CLICK for directions
Tuition: $40
Register: by email or phone (318-4433) to reserve your space.

Moving Step Pushing Hands in Vancouver
My friend and training buddy, Michael Blackburn, is hosting this event in beautiful Vancouver, BC.
Description: Nimble, rooted and mobile — traditional Yang style T’ai Chi’s moving step drills begin with simple advance and retreat and develop organically into the effective and beautiful study that is Tai Chi footwork. Walking drills eventually incorporate previous pushing hands patterns and provide the essential ability to move freely within the framework of good Tai Chi principles. Join us for this unique workshop! Hosted by Vancouver Taijiquan.
Date: Sunday, November 30th
Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Place: Glen Park, East Vancouver (E23rd & Glen St.) CLICK for directions
Tuition: 75
Register: by email or call (318-4433) to reserve your space


* Small Group and Private Sessions are available upon request *

September 4, 2014   No Comments

many ways to practice

Hello everyone! The subject of personal practice often comes up in Tai Chi classes. Whether we are just beginning or have years under our belt, it’s often helpful to ponder our practice and how we can make it even more beneficial and enjoyable.

I’ve written in the past about the importance of identifying your reasons for practice and to regularly keep them in your awareness: Why is Tai Chi important to you? Align yourself closely with your why and you will naturally gravitate toward more and more satisfying practice. Make sure your reasons resonate personally and continually feel into what is inspiring and uplifting to you.

It is also beneficial to have a sense of progression in our approach to Tai Chi: where are we starting from and where we are going. This came up recently in a forms class I was teaching.  The solo forms of Tai Chi are very important. They exist as a container for principles and ideas; a template for fundamental movement. They also afford us a vehicle through which we cultivate certain energies and qualities inherent in this art.

We begin with a bare hand solo form and basic choreography. This is the first golden gate to higher levels of study. Without a clear sense of choreography and the body mechanics that support it, its difficult to progress further. So we learn the basics of stance, coordination, relaxation, and what move comes after the one before. At times, this can be a challenging phase. At others, it’s an exciting exploration and it simply gets easier with practice. Push through the challenging bits. :)

Once we learn the basic solo form, whether it be a short form or the traditional Long Form, we can relax even more and dig into deeper levels of practice. Forms are not meant to be a stopping point, but rather a beginning point. They provide us a foundation upon which we can build and to which we return time and again for higher levels of mastery. Pondering the Ten Important Points of Yang, Chengfu is a great way to take your form work to a deeper place. At first, I recommend just working with one principle at a time.

Beyond the standard interpretation of form, there are many ways in which we can practice and a lot of variety we can bring to each session. Variety, if done with mindfulness and attention to core principles, can afford us higher levels of understanding and mastery in our art. We can alter speed, rhythm, frame size, and other points of emphasis. Doing so can significantly improve our coordination, balance, awareness, and more. And this can be far more pleasing than limiting ourselves to mere repetition.

Beyond adding variety, there is the level of more free-form practice. One can practice movements in the opposite direction or go more “randomly” from one posture to the next, creating logical transitions that link the movements together. This level of practice elevates our familiarity with the various techniques in Tai Chi. A good way to begin this kind of practice is to choose only two movements from the form that do not typically occur together, such as ward-off and push. Create a good transition between them and practice it in various ways – left side, right side, different angles, etc. Just let yourself explore how two movements can connect with each other.

Another whole new arena of form work opens up once a student begins two-person practice. Prior to this, form work can be somewhat abstract but once we have the feeling of connecting to another human being in controlled drills, the bare hand forms start to feel deeper and more relevant. There is suddenly a felt context in our movement.

So, I encourage you to look deeply. No matter where you are in your study of Tai Chi, think both inside and outside the box. Breath, relax, go slowly and enjoy the exploration of your own self in the process. And let us engage our Tai Chi as if we are a force of nature… for surely we are!

In upcoming form classes, we’ll be digging more deeply into core principles and creative practice in solo work. There is also a new 2-person workshop coming up on the 31st and a brand new 5-Section class beginning in June. I hope to see you there!

 

May 19, 2014   No Comments

5-section solo form begins Wednesday, June 4th


Begin the study of Tai Chi Chuan or deepen your fundamentals…

This new series will include a deep study of Tai Chi core principles and instruction in the 5-Section Solo Form developed by my teacher Sam Masich. This short form is simple and easy to learn and can be practiced in as little as 5-10 minutes.

Regular Tai Chi Practice Will:
* Improve your health and fitness
* Strengthen your muscles, bones, and joints
* Develop your balance and coordination
* Deepen your ability to relax and release stress
* And much more…

Day and time: Wednesday evenings, 6:30 to 7:45

Location: The Majestic (lower level) 1027 Forest Street, Bellingham

Tuition: 50/month

Special: Current students attend this class for half price!

To reserve  your space email or call
Art Baner at (360) 318-4433

 

May 13, 2014   No Comments

repost of 8 pieces of brocade and 5-section taiji video

Here is a repost of a few older reference videos for new students.

5-Section Taiji solo form part one

5-section Taiji solo form part two

8 pieces of brocade walkthrough

 

April 9, 2014   No Comments

february workshops

I have a couple new workshops coming up this month. The first is on pushing hands fundamentals and the second will explore the foundation of qigong practice. All students in my Bellingham classes receive a 15% discount. I hope to see you there!

Details:

I. Pushing Hands: Connecting, Sticking, and Receiving
Join us as we explore the beginning exercises of Tuishou or Tai Chi 2-person practice. These traditional exercises are a fun and effective way to strengthen your practice and deepen your understanding of Tai Chi form and function. Two person practice helps give greater meaning and depth to your solo forms and makes the entire study more enjoyable and beneficial. This workshop will be held over two Saturdays.

Session One:
Date: Saturday, February 15th
Time: 10:00-4:00
Where: Powered by Qi, the studio of my friend Kelly Hong-Williams
Directions HERE

Session Two:
Date: Saturday, March 1st
Time: 10:00-4:00
Location: As above

Tuition: 65/day
Reserve your space today by contacting Art at 360.318.4433 or Kelly at 296.5740

II. A Day of Qigong
A friend recently opened the Center for Holistic Wellness in Sedro Wooley. It’s a lovely place in the downtown area and I’ll be teaching a 1-day workshop there for those interested in beginning or deepening their practice of qigong.

Our focus for the day will include:
* Understanding the different styles and methods of qigong
* How to develop the qualities of good qigong practice
* Traditional Zhan Zhuang qigong
* The Heaven and Earth qigong set
* How to create an effective home practice
* How to apply the principles and qualities of qigong in daily life
* And much more…

Details:
When: Saturday, February 22th, 10:30 am to 4:30 pm
Where: 609 Murdock Street, Sedro Wooley
Tuition: 55 for the day
What to Bring: comfortable clothes, notebook, water bottle. We’ll break for lunch around 1:00.

Please note that space is limited for this event. Call 318-4433 to reserve your place.

Directions HERE

November 12, 2013   No Comments

beginning tai chi chuan: long form section one

Classes begin Monday November 4th

Join us for an uplifting voyage into Tai Chi fundamentals. In this series we will combine the essentials ofgood practice, the Tai Chi walking set, and a thorough approach to Section One training.

The Long Form is the heart and soul of Yang style Tai Chi and learning it affords one deeper understanding, greater benefits, and the ability to grow in this art in a myriad of wonderful ways.

Through regular Tai Chi practice you will:
* improve your coordination and balance
* develop stronger core muscles
* deepen your ability to release stress and relax within movement
* enhance your experience of energy flow and well being
* and much more…

Details:
When: Series begins Monday, November 4th and will run for three months
Time: 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm
Location: The Majestic, 1027 N. Forrest Street, Bellingham
Tuition: 50/month or 140 for the series

All experience levels are welcome.

To reserve your place, email artbaner@gmail.com or call (360) 318-4433 

Special Offer: If you would like to take both Monday and Wednesday evening classes, your second class is half price.

 

September 18, 2013   No Comments

taiji long form section two!

Classes begin Wednesday, October 2nd

Join us as we continue our exploration of the Taiji long form. In this series, we will focus primarily on learning the new movements and qualities of Section Two. The further we go into the sequence, the more engaging the movements become and your mastery of the art will continue to unfold in many rewarding ways. We will explore postures that cultivate greater balance, spatial awareness, and ease of flow.

We will also continue with two person practices that reveal how Taiji movements express when working with a partner. This work helps us develop greater coordination, strength, sensitivity, and awareness. It is quite a lot of fun as well.

All levels are welcome to join us for this series. Prior experience is helpful but not required to participate.

Details:

When: Series begins Wednesday, October 2nd
Time: 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm
Location: The Majestic, 1027 N. Forrest Street, Bellingham
Tuition: 50/month

To reserve your place, email artbaner@gmail.com or call (360) 318-4433

Special Offer: If you would like to take both Monday and Wednesday evening classes, the second class is half price.

 

September 17, 2013   No Comments

autumn qigong


More than any other season, autumn calls me outdoors to our bea
utiful forests, beaches, and mountains. The warm sun, but cooler air, the myriad of colors and fresh scents on the winds are invigorating and uplifting. I like to encourage us Taiji folk to take a bit more time than usual to practice out-of-doors. If we attune ourselves to the changing of seasons, our bodies and spirits can find an easier, more enjoyable transition into the colder, yin energy of winter and appreciate it all the more. 

Seasonal qigong is both enjoyable and beneficial and one can approach it in a variety of ways. For instance, autumn is seen as a time of the lungs and so one can pay particular attention to breathing practices, specifically those that are full, relaxed, and circular. As you work with your qigong practices, simply give your breathing more attention. Let your breath fill and nourish you in a way that is calming and centering. This can be done both inside as well as outside. When you practice outside, make sure you stay comfortably warm, especially around your neck, chest, and kidney areas.

Another quality you can bring to seasonal practice is to let your self “tune in” to the earth and the changes that nature is moving through. Whatever qigong set you prefer, such as heaven and earth, dao yin, the eight brocade, etc., simply practice in harmony with the natural world around you. Notice the way the sun feels, the air, the ground beneath you. Sense the shift in energy, how your body feels as we enter the autumn months. Then consciously send a feeling of gratitude and good will out into the world. Practice this way for a while and you will feel a part of the changing season and this harmonious energy will follow you into the winter months.

Finally, I refer you to a specific lung qigong practice by Master Shou-Yu Liang HERE

And a good article on harmonizing with the season of autumn from a TCM perspective can be found HERE.

Happy practicing!

September 13, 2013   No Comments

regarding syria: an open letter to my country

I’ve never posted a political piece on this blog as I prefer to stay on topic but in the wake of current events, I feel compelled to post this open letter. The quick read is below, click for the detailed version that follows.

Dear friends,

I’m writing this letter with a simple request: If you agree with me on this issue, I ask that you contact your representatives and tell them you support only peaceful solutions to the conflict in Syria and will not vote for any politician who endorses this war. You can easily find your representatives athttp://www.contactingthecongress.org .

Dennis Kucinich also has an online petition you may wish to participate in as well. You can find it here: http://kucinich.bluestatedigital.com/page/s/syria . I’m not certain how effective such petitions are, but it is a clear statement and Mr Kucinich has an excellent track record in my book.

I also believe that heart-felt prayers for the good of all involved are surely worth our time and energy.

Thank you and best wishes…

Art Baner

Read the full post here: letter on Syria.

 

September 5, 2013   2 Comments

new long form class begins July 10!

Learn the Tai Chi Long Form

Join us for this exploration of the traditional 108 Long Form. It’s been a few years since I’ve offered this class and am happy to be presenting it once more to dedicated students. The Long Form really is the heart and soul of Yang style Tai Chi and learning it affords one deeper understanding, greater benefits, and the ability to grow into this art in a myriad of wonderful ways.

While this class is for more experienced practitioners, everyone is welcome and will be able to learn with a little practice and focus. We will also continue our exploration of qigong and begin delving into Tai Chi two person practices.

Details:
When: Series begins Wednesday, July 10th and concludes on Wednesday, September 24rd.
Time: 6:30 pm to 7:45 pm
Location: The Majestic, 1027 N. Forrest Street, Bellingham
Tuition: 50/month or 150 for the series
All experience levels are welcome.

To reserve your place, email artbaner@gmail.com or call (360) 318-4433


Special Offer:
If you would like to take both Tuesday and Wednesday evening classes, the second class is half price.

 

June 12, 2013   No Comments