Insights from my Sifu
Tai Chi Chuan is the essence of the unity of movement and stillness, remaining with a certain evenness in the flow of life—not just not a series of slow movements to focus on relaxation. Like a stream, overcoming obstacles, passing through elements, continuing forward—this is Tai Chi.
Sifu Toni has been studying with me for more than 20+ years, and it is my observation that she has engaged in these qualities; she has integrated the inner and outer aspects of Tai Chi into her way of being. Her practice of Tai Chi has enhanced her flow in life.
This isn’t necessarily common. In teaching Tai Chi over the decades, I have observed many people do the outer Tai Chi, but not many people are able to embrace the essence of Tai Chi internally.
It has been my reward as a teacher to have someone like Sifu Toni who deeply engages in the art of change.
If you want to practice Tai Chi, there are many places that one can seek out, but if you want to study Tai Chi and its transformative process, I recommend that you study with Sifu Toni. When you study with Sifu Toni, my wish is that you may find that avenue of transformation for yourself.
Chi and Me
I have been studying Tai Chi and Qigong since the fall of 1997, with Master Sifu Jerry Gardner. He was the co-owner of Red Lotus School of Movement, in Salt Lake City, Utah. In January of 2009, I earned the title, and I am now recognized as Sifu Toni. Sifu (pronounced see-fu) meaning teacher. When I accepted becoming a Sifu, I promised to share and teach Tai Chi and Qigong for the rest of my life. (Yes, I love it that much!)
I was a staff member for eight years at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, where I taught both modalities to patients, caregivers and staff. WE shared in the joy of letting go and being in the present moment (where there is no stress), which can be healing in and of itself for all of us.
I teach a weekly Sunday morning and Wednesday evening Qigong class at Mountain Yoga Sandy, Throughout the year I lead community Qigong events and teach 6-week Tai Chi series.
Employers hire me to share Qigong as part of their company retreat, or an hour break during the week for their employees and themselves. Companies are realizing the benefits of bringing wellness to their staff.
I also do private sessions for those who would like a more individualized curriuculum.
I find that both of these practices are meant for each of us to have our own direct experience, of slowing down, breathing, and the feeling of being present. You can read all about the benefits of these art forms on the internet, but there is no comparison, to when one actually does it, and begins to feel the benefits for themselves.
So when will you choose to begin?
From experience, I know…
- Being present is the best gift you can give yourself and those around you.
- Change is a constant, therefore choosing to observe each moment as it arises with non-attachment.
- We are human beings not human doings.
- For me, laughter and dancing raise my vibration whether it’s at a live concert, or simply being with friends.
- ANY resistance in my life—is my own.
- Self-care is a priority not a luxury.
- Slowing down to feel and not force, allows my chi to flow effortlessly.
- My daughter is one of my greatest teachers. At times she is a reflection—giving me another perspective.
- Say yes to yourself, and no to pleasing others. Follow your heart.
- Nature is a true example of Qi flow. Connecting with nature allows me to be more compassionate with myself and others. I get outside every day—even it’s only for a few conscious breaths while grounding my barefeet in Mother Gaia.
My personal mantra: Simply BE = Breathe & Expand