3 Reasons To Try Qi Gong With Eli Cohen!
By SF Yoga Mag
We recently had the opportunity to speak with Eli Cohen, a well known Qi Gong teacher in the Bay Area. He teaches weekly classes, workshops, retreats and sees clients privately. Eli draws from various schools of Qi Gong, Medical Qi Gong, Yoga, Martial Arts, as well as Buddhist and Taoist styles of meditation. Eli is known for his approachable teaching style and shares this powerful practice with enthusiasm and great compassion! Eli has studied with master teachers in the US and abroad for over 10 years.
What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong literally means "Energy Cultivation Practice" in Chinese. It sees our thoughts, emotions and the physical body as an integrated energy source that can be mastered and cultivated. In practice you realize the power of all three energy sources combined. Qi Gong combines the benefits of physical exercise and meditation, while strengthening the body and the mind at the same time. Qi Gong also teaches you how to connect with the energy surrounding you (environment or people) and relate it into your own internal energetic experience. This becomes very supportive on many levels in day to day life.
Who would benefit from a Qi Gong class?
Anyone who would like to learn methods that heal the body and clear stress while benefiting from exercise and meditation at the same time. Qi Gong will also help you feel more alive, energized and connected to life happening around and inside of you.
What are the top three reasons to take Qi Gong?
There are many reasons, but I would say the top three are:
- If you experience any type of persistent / chronic pain, or physical discomfort.
- If you are dealing with emotional or mentally stressful situations in your workplace, or personal life.
- If you feel any lack of energy during the day or at the end of your day.
What differentiates you from other Qi Gong instructors?
A few characteristics make my classes different from your typical traditional Qi Gong class. First, I incorporate an advanced Qi practice traditionally taught after practicing for many years into a very accessible class tailored for the western mind and for people at all levels of experience. I find that people receive this very well and often thank me for it.
Second, I don't belong to a particular lineage of Qi Gong, so my style is eclectic. This gives me freedom to smoothly flow between practices; incorporating practices that are more physically oriented with others that work on deeper, subtle energy fields of the mind and the body. I find this combination very successful with people that are new to the practice or coming from different backgrounds. Many of my students are also Yoga practitioners and love Qi Gong!
How did you get into Qi Gong?
Working long hours as an architect and as a foreigner in the U.S., I developed chronic pain that after few years I realized was stress related. A friend recommended that I see an acupuncturist who happened to be a long-time practitioner of Tai Chi. I started to take his Tai Chi classes, and soon thereafter I met my first Qi Gong teacher. Quickly, I dove deeper into the practice taking various long meditation and Qi Gong retreats, studying with several masters. I studied as much as I could using any source available. I knew I had to pass on this healing information that made me feel so good, healed, alive and vibrant!
How has Qi Gong helped you?
Qi Gong taught me patience, kindness, respect and how to connect to my own virtues. I wouldn't have the same tools I have today to work through life’s challenges, otherwise. I gained so much wisdom, clarity and insight about myself from bodily posture, breathing patterns and mind emotional states. I learned to know myself on a completely different level.
My priorities in life and goals also transformed. It taught me how to pay attention to and connect to my body differently and more deeply than before, and I developed an innate sense of my own well-being.
Can you tell us a little bit about your monthly classes in SF?
I teach monthly classes on Tuesday nights at The Center SF in the Lower Haight neighborhood. It will be devoted to a Buddhist healing Qi practice, that ‘re-wires’ the brain by changing the relationship between the brain and the body.
Our belief system and every thought creates vibrational energy that then transformed into matter (physical body). This ancient technique allows the practitioner to shift the mind state and transform body’s conditions using a process called external integration, which we will learn in class. Although considered an advance practice, it's very playful and enjoyable, and the results are quick to show up. This method gave birth to the largest non-medicinal hospital in China. This hospital and methodology had more than a 90% success rate of treating a variety of conditions and illnesses like cancer and auto-immune disorders.