5/03/2023 - 12/03/2023 - Arrival starting 4:00 PM, Departure till 12:00 PM
Qi Gong and the Five Elements with Themis Vlachos
In this Qi Gong workshop we shall focus on the therapeutic aspect of the art. We shall mainly work on forms and exercises that are based on the theory of the five elements of the Chinese traditional medicine and their goal is to heal, detoxify and empower the body and the linked organs (heart, liver, stomach, kidneys, lungs and so on). We shall empower the immune system, energise the lymphatic system, and take home with us exercises that will help us prevent illness and keep a healthy body and mind (since Chinese traditional medicine treats them as one). Furthermore we shall work on the linked to each organ feeling, anger (which affects the liver), stress (which affects the stomach), fear (which affects the kidneys) and sorrow (which affects the lungs) and clear them to a possible extent.
Qi Gong literally translates into “mastering the Qi”. Meaning exercises that aim in the harvest, storage and cultivation of the cosmic energy, the Qi (Chi).
This beautiful Chinese art extends back 4,000 years and in practice aligns breath, physical movement, mind and spirit. The main focus of Qi Gong is learning (remembering) how to collect and use the energy which is everything. This energy can be used for deferent reasons, such as martial arts, but during our retreat we will focus on the healing aspects of the art.
Qi Gong was originally created for medical reasons and it is used as such up to date. It is remarkable how a healing art has survived throughout the centuries almost untouched and apart from the Chinese traditional medicine (CTM), which is a major part off, forms of Qi Gong are prescribed everywhere in China, even by doctors who practice western medicine.
HEALING BODY AND MIND
According to TCM, our body is run by a number of energy channels called meridians. Their job is to circulate the Qi all around the body, keeping it vital and healthy. Some of this channels are connected with the main organs of the body (the 12 meridians – which also host the main acupuncture points), while others circulate the Qi through main parts of the body (the 8 paradox meridians). These two major groups of energy vessels will be our main focus. With, usually, slow movements in coordination with conscious breathing and the participation of the mind through visualisation, we unblock the stagnant energy and we turn it from a still lake into a running waterfall.
On the physical level, Qigong employs soft flowing movements designed to stimulate the acupuncture meridians and the associated organs. The movements are designed to move blood and oxygen throughout the body facilitating the release of tension and friction in the muscles, joints and connective tissue that leads to physical degeneration.
Breath. Qigong combines movements with long, slow, deep, diaphragmatic breaths. The combination of the specific physical movements and the controlled breathing pattern help us to connect the mind to the present moment, training mental focus.
All movements and exercises have a specific visualization or mental intention that adds another layer of focus to the practice. This turns the entire workout into a moving meditation. The movements may be soft and gentle, but the healing effects of the Qigong practise are actually very powerful. Here are but just a few of the many positive effects of Qigong training.
Relaxation, alignment and concentration. Improves flexibility and balance. Stretches and strengthens the muscles. Benefits arthritis and other joint issues.
It is widely used on patients with anxiety, depression, even cancer. Increases circulation and lowers the blood pressure. Reduces stress and empowers the immune system.And so many more.
THE 5 ELEMENTS THEORY
Another major aspect of our work during this retreat will be one of the basic theories of CTM, the 5 elements theory. Our body is a miniature of the cosmos and the cosmos consists of 5 primary elements: water, wood, fire, metal and earth. Every organ in our body is connected to one of these elements and they interact with eachother just like the elements do. Fire destroys wood, water puts out fire and so on.
Needless to say that the Yin and Yang theory, which is the base of the Taoist cosmogony, also applies in Qi Gong.
16.00 Arrival at the AlpenRetreat
18.00 – 20.00 Opening circle
Monday to Friday
7.30 – 9.30 Yang practice – Tao yoga and Qi Gong
9.30 – 10.30 Breakfast
12.00 – 13.00 Energy healing
14.00 – 15.00 Lunch
17.00 – 19.00 Yin practice – Qi Gong and Tao yoga
19.00 – 20.00 Dinner
7.30 – 10.00 Qi Gong and Tao yoga practice
10.00 – 11.00 Breakfast
12.00 Departure from AlpenRetreat
During your free time there is the possibility for one o one sessions for
– Therapeutic and relaxing massage 25 €
– Shamanic energy healing 50 €
You will need comfortable clothes for physical work.
The workshop addresses to all despite of age and physical condition.
Please communicate any injuries or chronic illness.
– 8 paradox meridians form
– Shi ba shi form
– The 12 circles form
– The 12 brocades form
– The 5 animals play form
– Chan Si Gong (snake body exercises)
– Fan jin ( energy explosions)
– Breath energy healing
– Self massage and tapping
Qi Gong is a beautiful art and a very powerful tool. It can help us heal body and mind, unlock our blockages and change our life all together. However, the most important factor in any healing art, is us. Any tool is as powerful as the person who utilizes it. The ancient Greek therapist Hippocrates ones said:
“Before you heal someone, ask him if he’s willing to give up the things that made him sick”
And by that he does not mean only our diet (in every aspect) and habits. He also means the trauma we curry in our souls.
Healing is a holistic approach.
About the Teacher
Themis Vlachos, lives off the grid in “Armonia land” on the mountains of Evoia island, where as a founder and executive director, he teaches Tai Ji Quan, Qi Gong, Taoist yoga and meditation, offers shamanic energy healing and massage, and produces teas and oils with locally collected herbs.
Themis Vlachos was born in Athens, in 1966.
His journey began back in 1992 when, as a graduate of K.E.A. theatre school, he founded the ” Theatre on the Edge” company.
Inspired and influenced by the works of polish director Yerzi Grotowski on Physical Theatre, he begins to study the body, the voice and the energy of the performer. Soon, his company, participates in different, mostly experimental, festivals in Greece and abroad, presenting the outcome of these studies, which some people called Ritual Theatre. Apart from directing, Themis Vlachos participates also as a performer in all projects.
As an actor/performer, Themis Vlachos also collaborated with the Greek National Theatre for four consecutive years.
Throughout the years, he has practiced several types of physical movement such as, body awareness, miming, contemporary dance, Japanese Bhutto dance, Commedia del’ Arte, etc. The need for improvement and his love for different challenges leads him on the path of martial arts.
The first step in that direction was taken in 1996, with Chinese energy exercises Qi Gong, and in 2000 he starts practicing the martial arts of the Shaolin monks, Chang Quan and Eagle Clow. Soon, the approach and philosophy of the Taoist monks on martial arts and generally towards life, attract his attention and he starts practicing the Taoist arts of Tai Ji Quan, Qi Gong, Taoist Yoga (Tao Yin) and meditation.
In the meantime, in 2002, he collaborates with Katerina Voutsinas’ phsycotherapy centre as a Drama Therapist.
The hard work and commitment, Themis, puts in everything he does, crowns him with the bronze medal in the Greek martial arts championship, and helps him advance his skills and receive permission to teach the Taoist arts in 2012.
Immediately he starts teaching and in 2015 he moves to the mountains of Peloponnese in the permaculture community “Re Green”. He lives there for almost three years, working as a resident Tai Ji Quan, Qi Gong, Tao Yoga and meditation teacher, but also as a mountain guide. While at Re Green and in nature, he immerses him self in to his beloved arts and permaculture, natural farming and building. At the same time he begins his studies on Chinese Traditional Medicine and herbal remedies.
His return back to the city of Athens in 2017, brings the “Armonia land”, a space for Taoist arts and Shamanic healing project, in to birth.
In 2018 he attends a two month workshop on therapeutic and relaxing massage with essential oils and graduates as a professional masseuse.
In 2021 he begins his long term studies on Shamanic energy healing and “The Four Winds”.
Today, Themis Vlachos, lives off the grid in “Armonia land” on the mountains of Evoia island, where as a founder and executive director, he teaches Tai Ji Quan, Qi Gong, Taoist yoga and meditation, offers shamanic energy healing and massage, and produces teas and oils with locally collected herbs. At the same time he maintains a group of Qi Gong students at the nearby village of Seta and a group of disciples back in Athens.
He leads workshops all over Greece and abroad and he has been the resident teacher in Alpen yoga retreat center, in the Austrian Alps since 2019.
His knowledge on how to train body and spirit, how to heal body and mind, through Qi Gong, Shamanic energy healing, herbal remedies and massage, but mostly his teaching and healing experience, together with his skill to combine exercises and experience from his studies and his life, have made Shifu and Shaman Themis Vlachos able to offer teachings on the Taoist arts as well as a holistic therapy on body, mind and soul.
– Tai Ji Quan (Yang family).
(Martial, therapeutic. Bare arms and weapon forms: Dao and Jian swords, stuff).
– Qi Gong (energy exercises).
(Soft, hard, therapeutic, Wudang, Chan Si Gong, Fan Yin Gong, Tai Chi Chih).
– Tao Yin (Taoist Yoga).
(Sitting, standing, walking, healing (Inner Smile), visualisation)
– Shamanic energy healing (phsycotherapy)
– Herbal remedies
Themis Vlachos has also been active in the tourist field working as a guide, tour leader and mountain guide for 30 years, in Greek and English languages.
In 1988 he served the Greek army, in special forces, as a paratrooper.