Taoist Yoga: Stretching the Chinese Way

215 TUTOR: Mark Pogson

Are you interested in improving your health, flexibility and fitness the Chinese way? This course will teach you a selection of stretching exercises to enhance your energy awareness and vitality. You will learn both gentle and more dynamic aspects closely related to tai chi and qigong to help you feel more alive. Most yoga originates from the Indian tradition. However, Taoist yoga is based on developing a different energy body to a chakra-based one. You will practise similar exercises to regular yoga that involve less static holding, more twists, flowing movement and some meridian work. The focus will be on releasing tension and softening sinews. This course is suitable for those with a moderate level of fitness and mobility.

Course Notes

Yoga is now very popular in the West and is still diversifying and evolving away from its traditional Hindu ascetic roots but oriental methods of stretching are less well known. Taoist Yoga should be an integral part of any comprehensive Qigong and Tai chi training system but it can stand alone too for its effectiveness in building the correct body for all internal martial arts, meditation, healing and wellbeing.

You will learn how to boost your energy, concentration, poise and calmness using these adaptable health exercises.

This stretching course will be highly practical and will include the following core topics:

- What is Qi/Prana and how to sense it using meridian stretches

- Shizuto Masunaga's Makko-Ho stretches and Zen Imagery exercises

- Abdominal breathing and Intention (Yi)

- Foundation exercises (warm ups) including self -massage

- Standing and floorwork on a mat

- Why Spinal flexibility is so important

- Flowing movements including "Salutation to the Moon”

- Taoist style meditation and its Energy Anatomy

- Energy centres: Dantiens and Chakras

- Dao-Yin: an introduction to purging exercises

- Developing relaxation (Sung) and listening (Ting)

- Context: Comparing and contrasting systems of Yoga

- Why practice? Motivation, Goals, Tradition, Spirit and modern ways

- Safety, care and good practice

- Ending a session correctly

Some Taoist insights and oriental medical perspectives (TCM) will be included.

The Tutor will cherry pick exercises to offer an overview of this practice.

The course is suitable for those with a moderate level of fitness and flexibility. Some experience of Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, Meditation or Pilates would be helpful.

Background reading

The Way of Energy by Lam Kam Chuen (Gaia Books)

Includes detailed instruction on the Eight Brocades and standing meditation

The Way of Qigong by Kenneth S. Cohen (Ballantine Books)

A more comprehensive introduction to all aspects of Qigong practice

Daoist Nei Gong The Philosophical Art of Change

Or A Comprehensive Guide to Daoist Nei Gong by Damo Mitchell

(Singing Dragon Books)

In depth look at Taoist energy theory and practice. For more detail.

Equipment requirements

Participants should wear loose fitting sports/yoga wear. For any outside work flat, soft shoes such as "tai chi slippers”, light trainers or plimsolls. In-door practice can be done without footwear. You should bring a blanket and cushion for floor work and meditation. Yoga mats are also very useful.

Website: Somerset School of Oriental Healing Arts: www.ssoha.org.uk

Course Tutor

Mark Pogson

Mark Pogson

About Mark

Mark Pogson Bsc(Hons) MRSS has over 25 years' experience of Tai Chi and Qigong and has studied widely with many gifted teachers. He is registered as an A Grade Instructor with The Tai Chi Union for Great Britain. Over the years Mark has practiced different styles of Yoga too, including Astanga and Iyengar. He has also studied Kum Nye (Tibetan Yoga).

Mark is a qualified Shiatsu practitioner (Japanese Acupressure massage) and has run a Shiatsu practice in Somerset for over 16 years. In 2005 Mark established The Somerset School of Oriental Healing Arts. His previous experience includes working in nature conservation, environmental education and supporting adults with learning disabilities.

Mark runs regular Qigong classes (with lots of stretching!) across Somerset and has taught at spas, health clubs, complementary health clinics and festivals. His passionate belief in the powerful benefits of Qigong have also led him to teach mental health in-patients, people diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, prison inmates and disadvantaged young people. He has been developing his own style, known as "Magpie Qigong”, which draws on methods and techniques from various traditions and styles of Qigong and Tai Chi, particularly Medical Qigong.

Mark is well regarded for his extensive knowledge of oriental healing arts, his combination of innovation with a respect for tradition, his calm, supportive approach, and his ability to engage with participants. He returns to MCSS for the tenth year.

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Summer School Dates for 2024

All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM