We had a chance to do a short workshop with Qigong Master Mingtong Gu recently at Spirit Rock, a spiritual retreat center in Northern California that we happen to love — see my write-up on the workshop.
I was fortunate to get a little Q&A time with him since then, so join us into diving deeper with Qigong, specifically how Mingtong Gu was trained and why he’s so passionate about this unique method.
Renee: You studied Qigong in China. Have you also studied with any teachers here and if so, what’s the difference between teaching style and Qigong styles?
Mingtong: No. I have dedicated to Wisdom Healing Qigong (WHQ) since it is very complete and unique system for healing and spiritual development. Some of the unique characteristics and aspects of WHQ are the following:
- There are more than 20 years of evidence based medical science demonstrating its healing power for wide range of diseases and health conditions
- WHQ is the most widely researched and tested form of Qigong
- It is also accessible to children through seniors
- There is an emphasis on simplicity of practice
And, of course, there are ten million people worldwide practicing it. It was developed by Grandmaster Dr. Pang, a western and eastern trained doctor, who studied under 19 Grandmasters.
Renee: What was the deciding force that led you to this more open system you are now teaching? What are the benefits of some of the other systems vis a vis yours and the pitfalls?
Mingtong: I like to be open. An open system can allow me to explore, connect and be one with everything, with freedom, creativity and structure. A closed system is the opposite and requires precision. Think about it as a back and white process and dancing with right and wrong. This is just my preference so I go with a more open approach. Openness continuously inspires me in life and in my work with others.
Renee: You call Qigong the force of life and your vitality. To get to the point of pure flow in your body and accessing that extra energy and vibrancy you speak of, how many months or years of practice would it take someone to achieve this?
Mingtong: There is no end or end result. It is a process to continuously improve and enjoy this awareness, connection, flow and co-creation in your health and life. In other words, the more you practice, the more you can enjoy the benefits of health, well-being, joy and happiness. It is all about changing your base line of energy and capacity continuously. This inspires me continuously everyday, rather than achieving one goal or idea. It is a lifelong practice.
Renee: Qigong moves seem to be deliberate, precise and very slow. What advice could you give to someone who loses patience with it after trying it initially to keep them going and not give up?
Mingtong: This is a bit like asking the question: what do you want in life? Or completing a check list or enjoying this one moment. It’s important that you enjoy your body, and be present with it, especially the energy of life, and in this way, you can truly live life fully and be present in this human-earthly life.
Renee: Tell us about the five moves and why each is an essential part of the whole process?
Mingtong: Perhaps, the AV booklet has the answer to this questions, essentially to awaken and connect five key areas of the body: the spine, shoulders, neck, hip and entire body. Our website shares more insights on this.
Renee: You speak of sound healing as a great combination to accompany your Qigong moves. What can be used at home?
Mingtong: The best way for effective practice is to follow a video or an online course so you are following the moves correctly and keep the momentum going.
Renee: If someone has the ability to purchase sound instruments to help with the sound healing component of Qigong, what resources would you send them and recommend they start with?
Mingtong: The best instrument is your own body. Check out the sound healing course included in “Qigong for Life” for examples.
Renee: The third component which can be useful is visualization. Can you elaborate what you mean about visualization in the context of doing Qigong?
Mingtong: Visualization allows you to tap into the secret of the secret if you will, since you tap into the power of your mind, beyond awareness and concentration. It activates energy directly for physical manifestation.
Think about it this way: Movement is the outer secret, whereas sound is the inner secret and visualization is the innermost secret.
Renee: Of all the things that you do in the practice of Qigong, which one do you think is the most powerful for your own life and why?
Mingtong: I love all practices of WHQ for different reasons and the same reason — directly accessing all energy within and around.
Renee: You started this incredible center just outside of Santa Fe. Tell us what motivated you to do this and how you’re facilitating classes and for who?
Mingtong: Three important things to mention here: one is what my teacher Dr. Pang accomplished in China by establishing the medicine-less Qigong center where 5,000 people practice Qigong for 11 months out of a year — this became our model of possibility and what we executed upon.
The second point is that I discovered my life purpose in the context of collective calling for healing and transformation, including inter-cultural and inter-generational dynamics. The third is the calling of this magic land in Santa Fe — it feels like it has been waiting for us to dedicate our work together for the healing of the Earth and her all children.
Renee: What is on the horizon for the future?
Mingtong: Infinite possibilities of course and hard work! :) Many great projects continuously inspire me and get me excited in the wake of the day: Gathering for Humanity: the Grandmother event in May, our summer retreat for parents/children, The Qigong and Leadership Project, Creating Compassion Dome, future residential conscious living community and beyond. All of this is on top of our ongoing retreat and online programs.
Renee: Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it and why?
Mingtong: His Holiness Daila Lama — when asked what surprises him the most in a recent interview, he offered this insightful response:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
I may add: money can’t buy health. The practice of connecting mind and body can solve both problems.
Head on over to their site, the Chi Center for more about the world of Mingtong Gu and their events, as well as their courses, on and offline.
Also be sure to also read our Guide on Must See & Do in Santa Fe, as well as our coverage of Wisdom 2.0, our experience in New Mexico, Where Time Has New Meaning, Sound Healing at Grace Cathedral, and of course our Spirit Rock workshop with Master Mingtong Gu.