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  • Maria Alda Gomez Otero

My 5 Favourite Qigong Masters

It was 2006 when I started to do tai chi regularly. I was living in Ireland and I chose a school where I could attend more than one tai chi class per week, so that I could make it part of my life. This was long before I started teaching and even considered offering online qigong classes. I just loved the gentle, calming feeling that standing meditation provided and my body longed for the elegant exercises. At the time, I was looking to improve my well-being with tai chi. I didn't know that I would find qigong. Jan Golden of Tai Chi Ireland started a qigong class, and I joined in. It changed my life for ever. Years later, I discovered the Chinese Health Qigong Association thanks to Master Liming Yue. Then, I did workshops with other masters, and recently I have been learning online, in line with the modern times that we live in. Here is a snapshot of some Qigong Masters who left an imprint on me.

1) Master Liming Yue

Master Liming Yue has been my teacher and mentor for over 10 years. I first approached him to learn chen style tai chi, the most traditional form of tai chi. He introduced me to many chen style tai chi practitioners and instructors in Ireland, and oh boy! We had so much fun and laughter! He is not only a fantastic tai chi practitioner, but also a highly regarded spiritual master, leading "shen gong" sessions. "Shen" is a Chinese word that means something like "spirit" or "soul". Shen gong sessions are spiritual qigong sessions.

Greatest teaching: Learn to trust in your own abilities, letting fear be, while continuing your path.

2) Master Mantak Chia & His Disciples

Master Liming Yue always told me to do more standing. In Ireland, I used to stand in quiet meditation for about 5-10 minutes every day. One day, I felt a wave of sensations around what Mantak Chia called the "microcosmic orbit". I started to watch Mantak Chia's videos, and one of my colleagues taught me the healing sounds. After a few months exploring these teachings online, I've decided to go and train with two of his disciples: Kris Deva North and Anamarta Antunes. I did three intensive weekends with them, reaching their Step 3. I learnt the microcosmic orbit, exercises to improve female's general health, meditations for internal alchemy, the healing sounds, Iron Shirt qigong, and so many other things that I have been practising over the years.

Greatest teaching: Your ego can help you persevere, but laugh often, don't take it seriously.

3) Professor Wu & the Health Qigong Association

During my years training with Master Liming Yue in Ireland, I helped him organise events in Dublin, including visits from the Chinese Health Qigong Association. Many teachings arrived to Ireland: Eight Treasures, Five Animals, Yi Jin Jing, Ma Wang Dui, among others. When I moved to the UK, I went to the British Health Qigong Association and I met Professor Wu. He was the master who compiled the Five Animals Qigong set. He explained in detail the acupuncture meridians and internal organs stimulated when practising the Five Animals.

Greatest teaching: You need a basic knowledge of Chinese medicine to teach qigong.

4) Master Liu He & Qigong for Women

In 2009-2010, I trained with Sifu Tina Zhang in Earth Qigong for Women. I loved the idea of doing a qigong form which especially benefited the female bodies. Sifu Tina Zhang lives in the USA, so it is hard for me to go and see her or train with her, but my search for qigong movements especially for women led me to discover Master Liu He. I've been learning with her online, and am finding inspiration in her teachings and movements. She does Jade Woman Qigong, but she also teaches many general qigong sets and movements. This video is one of my favourites.

Greatest teaching: Once you know the basics, it is possible to learn qigong online from anyone.

5) Maitre Ke Wen & Spirituality

Master Ke Wen is a master that is influencing me a lot at the moment. She has a wonderful way to explain the qigong movements, but she also explains the health benefits of each exercise from a Chinese medicine point of view. She is also a master who introduces the concept of embodied spirituality, the idea that our bodies are a portal to the spiritual world. Using beautiful meditations, nature and gentle qigong exercises, Master Ke Wen beautifully links movement and meditation. Unfortunately for those who are only English speakers, her teachings are in French.

Greatest teaching: Qigong is about connection: internal & external life; your body & spirituality.

Some people follow only one master and excel in their masters' teachings. They are like people who follow recipes to the letter. You know what to expect when you taste the dish. Others are born curious and creative. They need to learn different things and then create their own movements based on them. It is like those who read many recipes and start creating their own meals. I belong to the second category. I've been learning and practising and continue learning and practising meditations, movements, and concepts. My classes are a creative mix of movements, meditations and healing practices that I learnt over the years. You will never know quite what to expect in my online qigong classes.

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