Soma Dao Qigong Teacher Training

Soma Dao Qigong Teacher Training

For the last year I have been training on the Soma Dao Qigong teacher training programme with Dr Michael Smith. As someone who has a bit of experience of Qigong, I have been searching for a teacher that could help guide my training to a deeper level. I'm someone that likes to dig a deep hole, rather than dig many shallow holes.  I've always been a bit of an outcast in the industry as I have carved my own path and generally I don't fit in with the woo-woo teachers, nor the guru teachers, nor the pure body science teachers, nor the formal lineage teachers, nor the watered down Westernised teachers, nor the commercialised teachers, nor the evolvist teachers and so on. I left traditional Tai Chi and Qigong schooling in 2016 and have been training privately with teachers ever since, finding my own way through the traditional practices. For years I have been on the look out for more, yet not knowing what more was, but knowing there was more.  Not more in the sense of adding to my practice, more in the sense of how can I get deeper into my body, because I feel what I had learnt was missing something. How's that for a life riddle.

In late 2022 on one of my Instagram deep dives I came across Dr Michael Smith from Canada who was offering a year long Qigong teacher training course starting in March 2023. With a mixture of live online lessons via Zoom, catch up videos, lectures, Q&A sessions, video resources and the vital 1-2-1 private sessions. Michael and I met on Zoom and I spoke of needing guidance and talked over my personal and professional journey in Qigong and Tai Chi. In that first meeting, within the hour I knew I had found my teacher.  Not only would I learn the roots of the ancient indigenous approach to Qigong (which means going back to scratch yay), but this would support my Chen Tai Chi training, my existing Qigong practices, my Taoist meditation practice and the much bigger picture of Taoism and Taoist practices.

The traditional Qigong forms I have studied personally and professionally on my Qigong journey, were also the forms we study in year one on Michael's programme, being the 8 Pieces of Brocade and the 5 Animals Qigong. This really excited me, as I'm not a form collector so to speak, and I wanted to train deeper in the forms I had trained with a few teachers in already, to come at them from a different angle. Having now been through Michael's teachings, I've not only learnt new skills and principles within the traditional Qigong forms, it has given me an deeper perspective on what Qigong really is at the core. I've now been able to adapt the forms I already had learnt, using the guidance of Michael's teachings to unravel what I was looking for. I mentioned I didn't know what more was in my search, and at the end of year one of my training with Michael, I've had several 'aha' moments where I feel like I know what more is, and I also know there is more to come. This course has been the most influential training of my life so far and anyone reading this who wants to delve deeper into Qigong, I encourage you to contact Michael. Whether you have been training Tai Chi and Qigong for many years like myself, or are new to the practices. You will go through such a great process of learning, understanding, experience and many moments of pure joy.

Personally, I have been through a really rough year since starting the programme in March 2023, with all manner of unexpected things happening. Sadly my mum passed away, my health took another step of deterioration, the cost of living crisis had a massive impact on my work/income, and within the last two months my whole life has gone through a 180 degree shift, of which I have been a mere passenger of. Hand on heart, my training has been the most nourishing, grounding, levelling and supportive practice during this challenging time. I have found so much value within Michael's classes. They have helped me regain strength and resilience, of which I am really grateful.

Michael is an intellect and scholar and an exceptional teacher and coach. It is rare to find teachers in any industry that actually hold well rounded adult education teaching skills and are able to adapt and guide different groups of people and skill levels with ease. Every single lesson has been considered, explored, thought out and road tested over many years. It is also rare to find a teacher who is more than a choreography machine. And even rarer to find a totally grounded teacher, who demonstrates true humility, kindness, non judgement, non attachment, compassion, humour, playfulness and the most important child like heart and spirit. Michael does not place himself at the centre of his teachings, which is a choice.

Michael really knows how to bring the best out in people, in a very gentle and thoughtful way. I have observed his lessons not only as a student learning and absorbing, but as a teacher and professional too. I have observed what he says, how he says it, when he says it and what he is not saying. It has been so helpful for my teaching skills, even though I have been teaching for 20 years in adult education myself. He has been a great example of how to deliver engaging and thorough sessions, which have all had a real positive influence on my classes and students already. That also goes for my teaching skills outside of Tai Chi and Qigong too, which have also improved.

As a professor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Michael is one of those people that you know can see through to your soul when you speak and converse. As a trauma specialist it is quite humbling and exposing to know he can see every ounce of trauma you are carrying, and continues to hold space for you in a gentle and supportive way. Michael also lives with a life long chronic health condition, which means he comes from a place of lived experience in his teachings.  In our 121 sessions Michael has helped me with the bigger picture of Taoist philosophy, Taoist practices, the industry itself, all the pitfalls I've fallen into, and my Tai Chi and Qigong experiences, which has helped me grow as a human, student and teacher. I am so grateful for the experience and am looking forward to continuing on the programme for many years ahead.

I had always wanted to do a degree and more in Traditional Chinese Medicine, however acupuncture has always been something I am not interested in, it's never appealed to me as a passive system of healing. Within the degree programmes there were always subjects I wanted to study professional, and Michaels complete professional Qigong therapist programme hold these areas of training, including: myofascial release, somatic theory, clinical medical qigong, joint rehabilitation, fertility, strength training, trauma release, Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutrition, shape and state shifting, bone marrow washing and nei gong. I truly believe that with my 18 years worth of Qigong study that you will not find a teacher that offers the same training, to the same depth on knowledge and experience, as you will with Michael.

So a heartfelt thank you to Michael for literally blowing my mind with his teachings and showing me there is another way alongside the world of 'what is' and 'what if'.  Xièxie.

If you want to learn how to get out of the anticipatory dopamine led mind, and how to come into your body and breath truly, releasing your inner bindings whilst rebuilding your structure, try Soma Dao Qigong. The next year one teacher training programme starts at the end of 8 April 2024.

Find out more here at www.somadaoqigong.com

About Dr Michael Smith www.somadaoqigong.com/about/

Year 1: 200 hours Qigong teacher training.

Year 2 and 3: 350 hours professional Qigong teacher training.

Year 4 and 5: 500 hours medical qigong therapist.

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