One of the really cool things in my recent travels was getting to meet quite a few of the Long White Cloud Qigong instructors who have done their training online, and so therefore I had previously only interacted with them via email or skype.
I was very happy and impressed with the standard of knowledge and practice they had achieved through the online courses. Many of them are also doing really well at reaching out into their communities to begin to share qigong with those around them through their own teaching too. The courses are good, and I regularly receive feedback about how easy the study material is to follow and understand, and they have opened the world of qigong to many people.
As I have travelled and continued to interact with students online I have also received feedback on things that might make the learning process even better. And I want to give people the best learning experience I can, so I have been considering how I can act on that feedback and observations. As a result I am planning a few changes to the Long White Cloud Qigong instructor certification program, and looking at ways to offer an enhanced learning experience.
Here are the planned changes:
- Certification for individual courses
- New Books
- Online Courses – more personal contact and scheduled progress
- More in person learning opportunities – Workshops, One week intensives, Qigong Retreats, Qigong Adventures
- Further Course Development
A few details for each of these below:
Certification for individual courses
This is something I have been asked about several times, and I think it is a good idea for a number of reasons. The courses are all organized around different sets or types of exercises and have in fact been designed to stand alone. You can have a very rewarding qigong practice just practicing the exercises from one course, and certainly you can also teach great qigong classes based just on the exercises from one course.
Offering certification in each individual course provides the opportunity for people to get started with the practices that resonate with them most. It breaks down the study towards a particular ‘level’ into more achievable chunks with more feedback along the way through testing. This also will make it possible for qigong instructors from different backgrounds to ‘pick and choose’ courses that they may be most interested in to supplement their existing knowledge and practice without feeling that they have to commit to a whole extended course of study starting from square one.
The different courses will still be combined together to achieve level 1, 2, 3 and 4 instructor certification, but certificates will be issued for each course along the way. There will also be pre-requisites for certification in some courses as to get the full value from some of them you really need to have prior knowledge and experience drawn from some of the other practices.
Timeframe: This is effective immediately!
If you have completed one or more of the Long White Cloud Qigong courses and have completed the required practice logs you can contact me to enquire about testing for certification in that course.
Books provide a different way to take in information. They are great for conceptualizing and taking in theory. Currently, there is enough theory available in the online courses for people to practice effectively and then to continue to gain insight and understanding through that practice. In the end I think this should be the key thing, self discovery through practice… but there is also a lot more that could be explained to help people along the way.
As such I am planning to write books in support of each of the existing courses to provide more in depth theory and understanding of some of the finer details of some of the practices. This will also act as an easy reference guide for when people are practicing away from technology and screens, and want to be able to jog their memory of something without having to watch a video.
Timeframe: Writing, illustrating, and formatting books is very time consuming, so it will be an ongoing project. I had hoped to have at least one new book available by the end of 2016, but other commitments have meant this is taking a little longer than expected. You can look forward to several of these new books becoming available in 2017.
Online Courses – more personal contact and scheduled progress
To date the Long White Cloud Qigong courses have been open for people to start whenever they choose and then proceed with at their own pace. This provides the ultimate in flexibility – and has allowed many people in all parts of the world to start their qigong journey when they otherwise may not have.
For some this is too much flexibility though… They find themselves getting a little lost along the way. It becomes very easy to take a break, and then sometimes those breaks can get longer and longer as there is no set timetable of when they need to return. Ultimately for some people this means they get sidetracked from their goal and do not achieve and learn what they wished to.
For this reason beginning in the new year the instructor certification courses will be offered on a scheduled basis. The material will still be available openly for casual use for now, but those who plan to seek instructor certification will need to formally enroll for courses with set start and finish dates. These scheduled courses will feature required weekly contact to ask questions, update on progress and receive additional instruction. Because there will be several people working through the course at the same time, this will create the opportunity for a more class-like atmosphere, with support from fellow students. The required weekly contact will help people ‘stick to the plan’ and stay consistent with their practice all the way through the course. It will also make it more natural to ask questions as they arise. The whole group will be able to benefit from this, as often someone else will ask questions that you didn’t know you had yet, and everyone gets to hear the answer and benefit from it.
The weekly contact will require students to send through emails updating on their progress and asking questions as needed. Feedback will be given in the form of written answers and also additional videos as necessary which will be available to class members. Later in the year we may also add group skype sessions to the instruction for these courses, but this will not be possible in the first half of the year due to extensive travel for workshops.
Timeframe: These new scheduled courses will begin in the new year and will apply to all new enrollments for certification. If you have already been in contact with me and begun working towards certification by following the courses in your own time you will be able to continue to do this on the same basis that you have begun if you wish. You will also be welcome to join in on some of these new scheduled courses if you prefer.
More in person learning opportunities – Workshops, One week intensives, Qigong Retreats, Qigong Adventures
Learning online, and through books and videos is great. Particularly if you are able to get feedback and ask questions when you need to. After all, the aim is to gain your own awareness and understanding of energy, which you can only do through your own practice. This also makes the learning accessible to anyone, anywhere. Still, there is nothing quite like practicing together in person for gaining an understanding of finer details and experiencing energy together. So I plan to continue to travel to as many places as I can to offer workshops in person.
In addition to this I am hoping to be able to offer some more ambitious and comprehensive in-person learning opportunities in the future. These may take several forms:
1.One Week Intensive Instructor Training Courses
These are an opportunity to have a fully immersive qigong training experience, with multiple practice and theory sessions each day and time for deeper discussion and insight in the evenings. You can learn and progress a lot in a short space of time when you are able to fully immerse yourself and separate yourself from your normal daily distractions. Practicing intensively can open you up to insights that take much much longer to reach when practicing in a more gradual fashion.
Of course one week by itself is not long enough to become an instructor. It is long enough to learn the theory and practices, but it is also important to have time to let the practices sink in and have your understanding and ability develop. So these intensive training programs would also carry the requirement for a certain amount of self practice at home in order to gain full certification. This self practice could occur either before or after the intensive training course.
These give a similar immersive experience, but with more of a focus on rest, recuperation, and even pampering. Held in beautiful locations with great healthy food and inspiring nature. Featuring qigong practice several times a day, but also the opportunity for massage and other treatments, and general rest and recreation.
An opportunity to take some time out from the world and take care of you, while deepening your qigong practice.
Similar to Qigong Retreats, Qigong Adventures feature regular qigong practice alongside other activities, but with more of an emphasis on interesting and exciting experiences. This could include traveling to locations where there are interesting environmental energies and learning to sense and understand these energies, or experiencing interesting cultural sites or adventure activities.
Perhaps some things like this…
Timeframe: I will be looking into opportunities and venues for Qigong Intensive Training, Retreats, and Adventures during the coming year. I hope to be able to offer the first of these before the end of 2017
Further Course Development
There are many different qigong and healing practices Long White Cloud Qigong would like to offer courses on, but I believe it is important to have good resources including video and written material to support the learning. Organizing these courses and preparing the study material for them takes a lot of time, so this is an ongoing process to make these available. It is exciting to have students moving into level three courses though, and in the future even level four, so I will do my best to have these ready as students need them.
This is an interesting one. I quite often get asked by people – “won’t you please just tell me a price?”, but to date I have kept firmly to the principle of Give Freely Receive Freely for all of the online training. As I have taught workshops in different places I have been more flexible with this, allowing local organizers to decide what is best in their area regarding setting prices or having GFRF or some combination of both. Basically a lot of people find it hard to come to terms with GFRF and are much more comfortable having a price on things.
In addition to this in terms of psychology, people are usually far more committed to something they have ‘invested’ in. Under GFRF it seems that a lot of people think they will get around to giving at some point in the future, but then never do – and this then often reflects in their training. Because they haven’t invested in real terms financially they find it easy to let their focus and practice drift. I do wonder whether if the training required more upfront financial investment that this would actually help people to be more consistent and get more out of their training? But then on the other side of this, I do believe there is so much value in coming to terms with interacting in a GFRF way, even if it is uncomfortable to begin with.
So… it is under consideration. I haven’t decided one way or the other at this point, but this could be something that changes at some point during the coming year. I want to do what is best to continue sharing Long White Cloud Qigong with as many people as possible and helping in their personal growth, development and awareness.
If you are interested you can read some of my recent thinking about this on the blog over on the Give Freely Receive Freely website. Probably the last 7 or 8 posts are the most relevant, but a lot of the earlier posts might be interesting too if you have the time and inclination.
There is a lot to look forward to for Long White Cloud Qigong in the coming year. Some of it is effective immediately or will be available soon, some of it is going to take a bit longer. Either way there are exciting things ahead. I am glad to be sharing this qigong journey with you.