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On April 25-27th please join Senior Healing Tao Instructors, Marie Favorito and Sharon Smith for a Special Weekend Retreat of Taoist Meditation and Chi Kung. Explore the mystery and healing power of chi, build a more intimate relationship with your energy, Immerse yourself in the Tao practice and return to your life refreshed and renewed

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to study with Marie and Sharon who together have over 50 years of experience in the Taoist arts! We guarantee that you will come away with a solid base for your Healing Tao practice. This will be held at beautiful Angels’ Rest in Leyden, Massachusetts (2 hours west of Boston & 3 hrs from New York City).

Your retreat fee of $475.00 includes all teaching, accommodations on Friday and Saturday nights, and six high quality organic meals. Arrival is on Friday at 3:30 PM and departure will be Sunday at 4:30 PM. Accommodations are elegant dormitory style with 2 to 5 per room (because of space limitations, there are no single rooms). Each guest will enjoy the beautiful facility, high-quality linens and towels, and restful sleep on a Posturpedic mattress. You may want to bring your own towel for the pool & hot tubs and comfortable shoes for exploring the surroundings. The retreat is limited to 22 participants.

You are sure to be inspired and refreshed by the energy we will generate in this beautiful country setting. Angels’s Rest is in the heart of nature, in the small, peaceful town of Leyden. Located on 20+ acres of private woodlands and meadows in the Berkshire foothills of Western Massachusetts, the elevation of Angels’ Rest offers breathtaking and far-reaching views of mountains to the east and south. With its pristine natural environment, comfortable quarters, and personal care, Angels’ Rest creates the perfect setting conducive for deep work in Meditation and Chi Kung.

*This weekend retreat is also important training for those Healing Tao students interested in becoming Associate Instructors (first level of instructor certification). If your intention is to train for this HTIA Certification now or in the future, this workshop is a MUST! Students who already have the prerequisites may be eligible for Associate Instructor Certification. Marie and Sharon will make these determinations after the weekend. See for information on prerequisites. Or speak with Sharon or Marie. Students in training will arrive earlier on Friday afternoon for their first session.

We will emphasize the following practices:

The Microcosmic Orbit Meditation
The Inner Smile Meditation
The Six Healing Sounds Chi Kung

Taoist meditation practice starts with opening The Microcosmic Orbit, a meditation practice in which you focus on circulating your life force through two of the most important energy channels in your body. These two channels, the Functional (Ren Mai), and the Governor, (Du Mai), connect in a flowing circle going up the spine, over the head, and down the front center of the body. The front and back channels are joined to form a circuit of continuous energy flow which is called the Microcosmic Orbit. Bringing your tongue to the roof of your mouth generates this connection. Also referred to as the small heavenly cycle, this meditation allows you to increase, recycle, and store reservoirs of chi in an energy center in your abdomen called the lower Dan Tien. The
Microcosmic Orbit meditation is further enhanced by blending and supplementing your body’s own energy with the energies of Nature, the Universal, Cosmic, and Earth Forces which surround us. This not only raises your ‘vibration’, but greatly increased resistance to stress and illness.

The Inner Smile is the most basic, profound relaxation meditation in the Healing Tao. This meditation begins in the eyes and quickly produces the relaxation response. It calms and strengthens your nervous system by bringing the energy and essence of a smile and healing light into your body. In addition, the Inner Smile harmonizes your emotions and enables your body to rejuvenate itself with light, relaxation and the power of your mind. Using this focus and mindfulness, you guide the smiling essence through your major organs, the digestive tract, the brain and spine, enlivening and strengthening the central nervous system. Used as a tool, the Inner Smile meditation helps you handle life’s everyday challenges, allowing you to stay centered in the most trying of situations. Learn to Transform Stress into Chi and vitality that can be used for healing and creativity!

The Six Healing Sounds is a simple but profound practice that balances and regulates the body temperature by releasing trapped cold or heat, creating perfect ‘weather’ inside. Based on Chinese medicinal principles, this sitting chi kung involves simple arm movements synchronized with the breath and meditation to relieve stress, cool the inner organs, and cultivate tranquility, energizing the body with regular practice. Useful for anyone in any stage of health or healing.The Sounds are easy to learn and joyful to practice. They are part of the ancient and often overlooked science of Traditional Chinese Medicine. For centuries they have been used for detoxifying, strengthening, and regenerating the internal organs having a positive effect on physical health, emotional stability and spiritual unfoldment.

SImple Chi Kung to wake up your chi! Movements and meditations to lubricate the joints, stimulate chi flow in the organ systems, and set up a positive emotional disposition. Chi Kung literally translates as “skill in using energy.” Chi Kung means the practice or discipline of moving your life force and breath. Chi Kung provides internal power that can improve general health and is claimed to help maintain youthfulness. Chi Kung practice increases your Chi (Life Force) and brings a sense of calm and centeredness. With the graceful moves of Chi Kung, you can invigorate yourself, sculpt a lean, supple, agile body, fine tune your senses and supercharge your immune system.

The fee for this weekend retreat is $475.00 which
includes all teaching, accommodations on Friday and Saturday nights, and six high quality organic meals. For more information please visit

Retreat Payment Policy:

Full payment is required by April 1st, 2008. Any refunds requested prior to April 1, 2008 will incur a $100 cancellation fee. After that, refunds will be made only if a replacement can be found. This policy is firm.



Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research


Nov 15, 2007

The ancient art of tai chi uses gentle flowing movements to reduce stress of today’s busy lifestyles and improve health. Find out how to get started.

The graceful images of people gliding through dance-like poses as they practice tai chi (TIE-chee) are compelling. Simply watching them is relaxing. Tai chi, in fact, is often described as “meditation in motion” because it promotes serenity through gentle movements — connecting the mind and body.

Originally developed in China as a form of self-defense, tai chi is a graceful form of exercise that has existed for some 2,000 years. Practiced regularly, tai chi can help you reduce stress and enjoy other health benefits.

Understanding tai chi

Tai chi, sometimes called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. To do tai chi, you perform a series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner. Each posture flows into the next without pausing.

Anyone, regardless of age or physical ability, can practice tai chi. It doesn’t take physical prowess. Rather, tai chi emphasizes technique over strength.

Tai chi is used to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Increase flexibility
  • Improve muscle strength and definition
  • Increase energy, stamina and agility
  • Increase feelings of well-being

Tai chi has more than 100 possible movements and positions. You can find several that you like and stick with those, or explore the full range. The intensity of tai chi varies somewhat depending on the form or style practiced. Some forms of tai chi are more fast-paced than others, for instance. However, most forms are gentle and suitable for everyone. And they all include rhythmic patterns of movement that are coordinated with breathing.

Although tai chi is generally safe, consider talking with your doctor before starting a new program. This is particularly important if you have any problems with your joints, spine or heart.

Stress reduction and other benefits of tai chi

Like other practices that bring mind and body together, tai chi can reduce stress. During tai chi, you focus on movement and breathing. This combination creates a state of relaxation and calm. Stress, anxiety and tension should melt away as you focus on the present, and the effects may last well after you stop your tai chi session.

Tai chi may also help your overall health, although it’s not a substitute for traditional medical care. Tai chi is generally safe for people of all ages and levels of fitness. Older adults may especially find tai chi appealing because the movements are low impact and put minimal stress on muscles and joints. Tai chi may also be helpful if you have arthritis or are recovering from an injury.

Despite its ancient history, tai chi has been studied scientifically only in recent years. And that research is suggesting that tai chi may offer numerous other benefits beyond stress reduction, including:

  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • Improving balance and coordination
  • Reducing the number of falls
  • Improving sleep quality, such as staying asleep longer at night and feeling more alert during the day
  • Slowing bone loss in women after menopause
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness
  • Relieving chronic pain
  • Improving everyday physical functioning

Learning to do tai chi

Wondering how to get started in tai chi? You don’t need any special clothing or equipment to do tai chi. To gain full benefits, however, it may be best to seek guidance from a qualified tai chi instructor.

A tai chi instructor can teach you specific positions and how to regulate your breathing. An instructor also can teach you how to practice tai chi safely, especially if you have injuries, chronic conditions, or balance or coordination problems. Although tai chi is slow and gentle, with virtually no negative side effects, injuries are possible if tai chi isn’t done properly. It’s possible you could strain yourself or overdo it when first learning. Or if you have balance problems, you could fall during tai chi.

You can find tai chi classes in many communities today. Contact your local senior center, YMCA or YWCA, health club, community education center or wellness facility for help finding qualified instructors.

During tai chi classes, the instructor can give you personal guidance and correct any errors in your style before they become habit. Eventually, you may feel confident enough to do tai chi on your own. But if you like the social element, consider sticking with group classes.

Putting tai chi into practice

To reap the greatest stress reduction benefits from tai chi, consider practicing it regularly. Many people find it helpful to practice tai chi in the same place and at the same time every day to develop a routine. But if your schedule is erratic, do tai chi whenever you have a few minutes.

You can even draw on the soothing concepts of tai chi without performing the actual movements if you get stuck in stressful situations — a traffic jam or a work conflict, for instance.

Boston Globe – September 10, 2007

Tai chi, the slow, graceful Chinese exercise program that is sometimes called a “moving meditation,” was originally created centuries ago as a martial art. It does appear to have some health benefits, though rigorous studies are hard to come by.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an arm of the National Institutes of Health ( ) notes, “It is not fully known what changes occur in the body during tai chi, whether they influence health, and if so, how.” But so many Americans now practice the slow-moving exercise – 1.3 percent, according to a 2002 survey – that the government is now funding a number of studies to see what health benefits tai chi may hold.

Among the best-documented health effects for tai chi is its ability to improve balance, said biologist Peter Wayne, director of Tai Chi Research Programs from Harvard Medical School’s Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies. In a systematic review of the published literature, Wayne and his colleagues found that 20 of 24 studies support the hypothesis that tai chi improves balance.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society found that tai chi can also boost immunity and protect older adults against shingles, a painful disease caused by reactivation of the chicken pox virus, which can linger in the body for decades. In this study, 112 adults age 59 to 86 were randomly assigned to tai chi or health education classes for 16 weeks.

Those who got tai chi had nearly twice as much immunity against the chicken pox virus (all participants had had chicken pox) measured by a blood test, as well as a stronger immune response to the chicken pox vaccine.

Tai chi has also been shown in a number of studies to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.

But whether tai chi is any better for health than some other mind-body practices such as yoga and meditation remains to be seen, said Wayne. Tai chi teachers are not licensed by state boards, so a word of caution: If you are new to tai chi, check out several teachers and pick one with the most experience.


Boston Globe

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