Chiyan Wang has been practicing Qigong for 26 years, since she began studying with a master in Central China when she was 17. She has lived in Santa Barbara since 1993, and now has twin five-year-old boys. I had the opportunity to interview her at her home and studio, after a meditative energy session in which the old, heavy energy was encouraged to flow out to make room for the new.
How are you involved in the art of healing?
Both of my parents are powerful healers, and when I was little they did healing work on me. I experienced the miraculous result: an ancient Chinese energy healing practice called Qigong.
What does Qigong mean, exactly?
“Qi” means energy or life force; “Gong” means practice or work. Together Qigong means “energy healing practice.”
What was it like growing up with two powerful healers as parents?
Both of my parents are powerful Qigong masters and they both still practice a few hours every day. Since childhood, I understood that those were the times for them to take care of their health. This traditional healing practice is also one of the best gifts they passed on to me, which helps me to open another “unseen” world with “Qi.” When I was little, food was still in short supply in China, so Qi became food to maintain good health. Another impact was on my belief system, for in our family healing certain seemingly impossible health issues was normal; it was just something I grew up with.
What struggles or beliefs have led you to this path?
Taoist beliefs that [encourage] a simple yet balanced life have led me to this path. There are times I feel like [stopping] this practice and trying something else, but then something will happen to me and lead me back … . this is the Way, the inner healing work to the heart or the home.
Can you talk about some of your teachers?
Yes, my main teachers are my parents, and both of them are experienced instructors and masters. My mom especially is very intuitive and powerful. The teacher for whom I hold the greatest respect is Zhou Shitai; the first to bring this sacred practice from the Taoist temple to the world. He personally taught me a lot of [what I] practice. He helped me develop my abilities to see and to hear and to do to energy diagnosis.
What did that training look like on a day-to-day basis?
Most people can see and hear energy as kids, but gradually lose these abilities. When I visited Master Zhou privately, he passed on to me a very pure form of light, which opens the doors for these abilities. He had training workshops for thousands of people all at once to teach the techniques for energy diagnosis. For example, he could tell if a trace mineral was missing in [a patient’s] blood and was causing a health issue.
How long did you have to train before you could practice?
For self-healing practice, it takes only a six-hour group workshop. For healing others, it takes at least six months of practice and some intensive training from a certified instructor. I had practiced for five years before I saw people individually in China.
Where were you living at that time?
I was in Xi’an, which is in Central China and a very ancient city where Lao Tsu, the founder of Taosim, practiced and performed his teachings.
What do you feel you’ve learned from your practice?
What I’ve learned from my practice firstly is consistency. It builds up if I do it every day and the benefits do show. Another part is effortlessness — the Taoist philosophy that the greatest result is achieved without doing or trying too hard — whatever happens, happens.
How would you explain Qigong to a beginner in terms of how it actually works energetically?
Energetically I’d explain that the body has a great wisdom, and that our body — including our mental, physical, and emotional or spiritual body — has the wisdom to balance itself. So I want to help people to find that balance for themselves. If there is an energy blockage, there is pain or discomfort; if energy flows freely, there should be no pain or disease.
What would you recommend to someone who is starting along a similar path?
Be respectful and keep the modality of the practice [consistent], and the correct practice will lead you to an enlightened place.
To learn more about Chiyan Wang’s Qigong classes, call 699-6688 or visit her website, sbqigong.com.