An Embodied Spiritual Practice

If you have a practice like Qi Gong, Yoga, Tai Chi (Taijiquan), or love to go dancing, you are familiar with the endless oceans of feeling, interacting, and letting go that these practices offer.

Any practice that helps us in this way is truly a gift that continues to give.

If you are new to Conscious Embodiment practices, welcome home to your birthright of awareness, acceptance, and a nearly endless resource of learning, Healing, and Play!

We all have some good habits and not-so-good habits. It seems obvious to say, but habits are just things we do often. A 49 Day Rite of Passage is a chance to choose some new habits by cultivating new approaches and skills every day.

What if you chose to explore some of the most effective and beneficial practices every day for seven weeks?

What if that shift towards better habits, or making more engaging and positive choices every day, became the confidence booster you needed to commit to your inner sense of balance, well-being, and joy?

Given the profound benefits, it is no surprise that some of these forms of embodied meditation have been around for thousands of years.

A Daily Commitment to Your Practice

Imagine you are standing on a dock and you are covered in mud.

In the context of a Spiritual practice or a need for Healing, you have three choices.

  1. Stay on the dock talking about swimming why you are covered in mud,
  2. Occasionally take a quick dip – but mostly stay on the dock – cold, wet, and still finding mud in all the wrong places.
  3. Or, when it is time to risk comfort and go beyond appearances, you could decide to swim across the lake.

This is a great metaphor for committing to your practice like it is a Rite of Passage – because occasionally our lives ask us to ‘wash off some mud’ and sometimes we need to challenge ourselves in a very intentional way.

In fact, in Daoist practice (called Xiū Dào) the character X means to swim across a river while carrying scrolls of ancient wisdom.

Sometimes the meaningful part is the consistency and commitment, and sometimes it is learning to swim in a Sacred way!

Why 49 Days?

Many ancient traditions, including Buddhism, Daoism, Judaism, and others all use either 100 days or 49 days for specific rites, rituals, or as ways to navigate certain times of the year. It is said that the Buddha became enlightened after sitting in meditation for 49 days non-stop, and in Tibetan Buddhism, it is understood that the soul takes 49 days after death to complete the journey of a human life.

A 49-day commitment to practice can be seen as a Rite of Passage or an Initiation. Depending on the traditions and practices you may follow, the specifics of the process, and the next stage of your life you are initiating yourself (or being initiated) into, will be unique.

Regardless of the specifics, something that is common to us all is the need for growth and change. Anyone can get stuck being the person they remember themselves to be. Until something new and redefining happens, there are no new memories or experiences to show us that we have grown.

This is true of your physical body. In 49 days, about one-third of your body’s cells have been completely replaced. Imagine what six months of healthy eating, sufficient rest, sleep, and exercise would feel like…

Sometimes in life, each of us needs to become the one who finds the inner volition to move towards the hardest parts of life. Those experiences become the memories and truth of who you really are.

This is why most ancient cultures had Rites of Passage.

Why not encourage everyone by giving them chances to arise as the hero of their own story?

The 49 Days of Embodied Spiritual Practice process offers the opportunity to join a community of peers who also want to challenge themselves, learn, grow, and encourage each other all of the way.

Beginning Monday, March 18th @7:30 am PST (10:30 am EST).

(Recordings Available Soon After)

What to Expect…?

Every morning, for 49 Days, we will meet live online…

Each week, we will focus on a specific aspect of Embodied Spiritual Practice.

The first few minutes will be a recap of the practices we are learning, then there will be a guided Meditation practice. The intention is to learn several ways to practice meditation and many ways to appreciate and apply conscious attention and interaction. This will be followed by a Conscious Breathwork Session, and then a Wisdom Teaching from around the World.

With coherent minds and Intentional Embodiment, we will learn the foundations of both Daoist and Shaolin Breathwork.

Each week, we will explore and experience a primary building block of advanced Breathwork. Breathing is like surfing in the ocean – the ride depends on the waves.

How you breathe – right now, can change the flow of your day, and even your life!

At this point, we will be present, aligned physically, emotionally, and somatically, surfing the Breathwork ocean of the day, feeling the Qi of the day,  Each day, we will learn a Wisdom Teaching, and/or a funny story from around the world. The theme will be different each day of the week.

Almost certainly, at this point, our minds will be coherent, present, and connected with our Embodied State.

This Opening to our Practice takes about 20 minutes

Participation in the First Week is FREE.

After that, if you want to continue with the Opening Practices only, the cost is $49,
and to participate in the entire course is $490.

Each Day of the Week has a Theme

After our Opening Practice (above), we will explore:

  • Qi Gong and Yoga
  • Skill Specific Exercises and Circuit Training.
  • The Embodiment of your Three (or Six)Dan Tian.
  • The Innate, Instinctual, Intuitive, Adaptive, Egoic, and Unborn aspects of consciousness
  • The Classic Seven Chakras.
  • The Microcosmic Orbit (Old School)

After the Opening Practice (above), we will begin a 20-30 minute Standing (occasionally Seated) Embodied Movement Practice like Qi Gong, Yoga, and Martial Arts warm-up exercises. Our shared purpose is to arrive and enter into Embodied Fow States, Random Play, Neuroplasticity Challenges, Calming Restorative States, Muscle Tone, Tendon Pliability, and Fascial Tensegrity (a balance of tension/strength and structural integrity.

During these practices, some Chakra Teachings and Asana Flows, Microcosmic Orbit interactions, Guest Instructor classes, Three (or Six) Dan Tian developments, and deep dives into the Six Innate aspects of consciousness. Depending on the day of the week (above), the opening practice (Meditation, Breathwork, and Intention). and movement practice (Qi Gong, Yoga, Agility Games) will be tailored to the theme of the day.

If you need clarification on any of the practices or are curious about the ‘bigger picture of contemporary Spiritual practice’, there will be a Q&A session after each Embodied Movement session.

To Participate in the Full Program, please register below

The Schedule:

Monday, March 11th –  49 Day Introduction

8:00 am PST

Free Webinar – Healing Journeys and Spiritual Embodiment Practices

Those who attend the webinar will also have access to the guest instructor interviews.

Monday, March 18th – First Practice Session

7:30 am PST

10:30 am EST

Throughout the Week

Monday to Friday mornings – the meetings will happen at 7:30 am PST.

Saturday mornings will begin at 8 am, and Sunday at 10 am.

Our Seven Week Journey

Each Week

Each week, we will explore a unique and essential aspect of Embodied Spiritual Practice.

Like building blocks, as the foundations of your practice fall into place, you will naturally find what is working the best and what seems meant for someone else. The long-term goal is to develop and refine a personal practice that can support you along a very long and meaningful life.

This 49 day journey will offer you many different ways to bring your Mind and Body, and your Mindset and Mojo into a healthy and collaborative harmony. A useful image when thinking about Mind/Body balance is a candle. As a candle, your Jing (Adaptive Resources) is the wax, your Shen (spirit/Conscious Awareness) is the flame, and the combusting wick is your Qi. A common experience in modern life is to burn our candles at both ends, and maybe in the middle as well.

Balance takes time, patience, and honest inquiry.

Over the seven-week program, you will have abundant opportunities to adjust your practice.

Week One – Who is the One Meditating?

Relearning to be Aware of Awareness

Week Two – Reconnecting with your Mojo!

Neuroplasticity works best in the morning, especially with Breathwork and Conscious Movement.

Week Three – Teddy Bears and Tinfoil 

An Embodied Spiritual Practice is one of the best ways to release Trauma and chronic distress.

Week Four  – Becoming Bamboo and Kelp

Whole Body Tone and Pliability can add years to your life!

Week Five – Emotional Coherence and Spiritual Warriorship

Taking Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual aspirations to the next level.

Week Six – Breathwork, State Shift, and Healing

Now is the time to transform any mental, emotional, or spiritual default settings. 

Week Seven – Gratitude, Ceremony, and Play

How do you want to celebrate 49 Days of Embodied Spiritual Practice, yourself, and your peers, after the last week of learning and practicing together?

Beginning Monday, March 18th @7:30 am PST (10:30 am EST).

(Recordings Available Soon After)

Register Now

Register as a Free Participant

(Join after 1 week)

Opening Practices Only – $49

A Daily Guided Meditation

A Daily Breathwork Practice

A Daily Wisdom Teaching from Around the World

Join a Growing Community 

Full Participant – $490

Opening Practices

Embodied Movement

Inner Cultivation (Unborn Mind, Dan Tian, and Chakras)

Interacting with Your Community and Teachers

Interactive Support – Q&A

Daily for 49 Days!

Why Focus on Neuroplasticity?

All forms of Cultivating Awareness can be limited by the resources of the Mind, the Self, and the Physical Nervous System.

In Traditional Chinese medicine, your most crucial and adaptive resources are your Jing (Essence), Qi (Aliveness), and Shen (Spirit). The best ways to increase your adaptive and physiological resources are to reduce any overstrains, eat a nutrient-dense diet, rest enough, move enough, laugh enough, and when you feel ready, then focus on Neuroplasticity. One way to look at Neuroplasticity is the harmonization of Jing, Qi, and Shen. Your Brain is thought of as the Sea of Jing and Marrow, so if you can maintain balance and good habits, your Jing will restore itself, allowing Shen – your experience of your Mind to restore its birthright of creativity, focus, mood, and memory.

Neuroplasticity is the science and precise understanding of how your nervous system, your mind, and the physical structures of your brain can continue to learn, repair themselves, stay active, and avoid loss of function for as long as possible. Not that long ago, it was understood that your brain stops repairing itself and often physically shrinks as you age. Now we know that the opposite is also true. Although it is true that your brain stops (or slows) growing and changing at around 25 years of age, learning and regeneration are ‘potentially constant’ until the last few weeks of life.

You will just have to actively engage and challenge your birthright to learn new things and allow your body to play with random challenges.

The 49 Days program focuses on exercises and other practices that improve Neuroplasticity – every day!

Why are Mornings So Important?

Imagine that you are your brain.

Imagine waking up, like every other day, ignoring your alarm, then following the same footprints to the bathroom, where you probably scroll your phone for far too long. Then you get ready for your day, your attention now going through the motions of food, emails, a TV show, or it may be sitting in a vehicle and then sitting all day in an office chair.

Repetitive, repetitive, repetitive…

Almost Every Morning of your adult life…

Neurologically, after a few days, your brain starts reducing curiosity, short-term memory storage, alertness, and several other metabolic factors that determine your cognitive agility and health. If you are not exercising at all, you will also lose some reflex speed and muscle tone after about three weeks.

From an Evolutionary and Neuroplasticity perspective, you must be hibernating or seem to be getting ready to hibernate.

Now imagine, as your brain, that you wake up and go outside for 10 minutes and just walk around. Looking towards the Eastern horizon, perhaps sipping some tea and deciding what kind of Meditation, Breathwork, or  Embodied Movement Practices feel right for this morning’s celebration of your Aliveness.

This 49 Days of committed Mind/Body exploration and reunion happens every day, first thing in the morning, to reinvigorate your evolutionary birthright of Awareness, Aliveness, and Playfulness.

Breathwork Changes Everything!

Breathwork is one of the oldest forms of Healing, State-Shift, and the entry into prayer

Both Qi Gong and Yoga have highly developed systems of Breathwork that have been around for thousands of years. As well, there are many modern approaches to breathwork that can be applied for stress management,  Trauma release, meditative coherence, as well as going on visionary journeys.

One of the greatest losses we experience in modern life is the loss of community and personal approaches to State Shift. Life has always been stressful, and it is not hard to imagine that human life was a lot more challenging for most of our Ancestors. This is why the oldest forms of Healing all have forms of Breathwork. People who had experienced Trauma, and people who wanted to improve their vitality could do so, whenever and wherever they needed to or wanted to.

The lack of these practices in modern life may be one of the reasons why addiction is so high!

Imagine a world where people who are at their wit’s end could Self-Regulate if they needed to…

This program offers you an opportunity to learn several distinct forms of Breathwork that you can use as a personal first-aid kit and Sacred State Shift practice for the rest of your life.

Week One

Who is the One Meditating?

A human life used to involve a lot of waiting. 

Waiting led to reflection, and reflection led to self-acceptance and wisdom.

Do you like waiting? Do you use times of waiting to enter into your practice?

Modern life, unfortunately, has no time or room for waiting – for sitting silently – for meditation. Today, meditation practice begins with relearning to how be Aware of Awareness.

The 49-day journey will teach you several approaches to cultivating awareness, training your mind, and experiencing truths that defy description.

During the 49-day process, you are invited to check in with your Embodiment, breath, and state – every hour – for three breaths.

                 How is your State – right now?                     Take a deep breath…                   How is your State of Being?

“Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace.”

Verse 16 Dao De Jing

Week Two 

Reconnecting with your Mojo!

The process of aging, chronic distress, and the repetitious nature of modern life, can reduce the size of the brain. In the above candle analogy, your Jing (Adaptive Resources) relates to the Wax. Your flame (Spirit/Shen) can only be as bright as your wax can sustain. 

The 49 Days of Embodied Spiritual Practice revolves around conscious, coordinated, and engaging Embodied approaches to Cultivating Awareness. Falling back in LOVE with your embodied experience is both the life-changing reward – and sometimes the barrier between a regular personal practice and sporadic attempts to get started.

Imagine 49 mornings of waking up, becoming Awareness, finding Intention, moving authentically, shifting your state, Cultivating Inner Awareness, meeting yourself and your needs consciously,

In Daoist practice (Xiu Dao), the initial focus of practice is to restore spinal alignment, unrestricted circulation, graceful and playful movement, and efficient breathing. Over time, the tangible benefit is traditionally described as your spinal fluids (Jing) cleansing and filling the volume of your brain with more Jing. This matches modern Neurology perfectly.

With even more practice, it is said that profound immersive stillness transforms your Jing into a more potent form. You can tell that this is happening when you begin to feel like your mind is gradually getting younger. 

This process is simply called Neuroplasticity, your nervous system’s and brain’s innate ability to learn, grow, and repair themselves. There are three things that enhance your natural ability to restore your Jing through Neuroplasticity. Randomness, conscious and coherent movement, and practicing first thing in the morning – the more playful the better!

Your Jing naturally wants to come out and play after Winter’s hibernation. When Winter begins to feel like Spring, it is the best time of year to have a consistent daily morning practice – especially one focused movement and neuroplasticity.

The 49-day process was designed specifically around consciousness practices like Meditation, Breathwork, and Conscious Embodiment, and is offered in the mornings. (If you live in another time zone than PST, you can begin the next morning with a recording).

Week Three

Teddy Bears and Tinfoil 

Imagine your left hand is made of the foam/sponge inside of a Teddy Bear.

Now imagine that someone carefully wrapped tinfoil around your hand, covering all of the foam – the day you were born. On many levels, every defining experience, good and bad, is imprinted as wrinkles in the tinfoil.

“The more squeezed the sponge, the less it can absorb.”

Embodied Spiritual Practices will inevitably take you home to your innate birthright of structure, ease, flow, tone, awareness, and pliability. Over time, with some conscious recapitulation, these practices smooth out the wrinkles, while allowing your Heart and Soul to adjust to the process of letting go, and the process of restoring your Mind/Body or Jing/Shen balance.

When the tinfoil is no longer using up and squeezing your Jing and Shen, your metaphoric sponge can now absorb, heal, move with radiant aliveness, and become the Teddy Bear (or whole person) you were always meant to be. 🙂

The 49-day journey includes regular sessions of mapping and releasing chronic Distress and Embodied Trauma.

Week Four

Becoming Bamboo and Kelp

As the 49 Day Journey goes even deeper, let’s review what we have experienced. You have developed a daily meditation and breathwork practice, you have an intention with your daily Embodied Movement Practice (Qi Gong, Yoga, Agility Games) and your daily experience.

As your tinfoil softens, your sponge fills, and your Heart opens even more, it is time for some Whole Body Tone and Pliability.

As you invest some time every day developing your body’s tone and pliability – by reaching, pulling, twisting, releasing, strengthening your muscles, and tendons, and allowing your limbs to feel boneless, you will naturally begin to feel your fascial membranes connecting all across your body.

The result of this process is called Fascial Tensegrity.

Tensegrity, or the balance of tension and structural integrity, across all joints and bones, is a lifelong journey and requires that you build some physical strength (see below), while also improving the range of motion in every joint of your body. It is all about balance.

Imagine the layers upon layers of fascia, connected by countless filaments of micro-fascia, surrounded by interstitial fluids and stem cells. Depending on your age, your posture, your embodiment of distress and trauma, and any previous injuries, your fascia may look more like crumpled tinfoil than smooth and resilient membranes. The initial benefit of this practice is to balance and restore any constraint or collapse, while also equalizing the tension everywhere in your body.

However, your multilayered and highly integrated fascial networks and your interstitial membranes and filaments register about 80% of the actual sensations you experience Somatically.

Your interstitial system (the deepest contractile tissue aspect of your meridians), or your network of micro-elastic tissues is what makes up most of the felt sense of your body, your posture (gravity), your energy level, your emotional and existential state of being, your overall fitness, and, of course, where you have the most limitations, injuries, and/or pain.

Week Five

Emotional Coherence and Spiritual Warriorship

“All Beings Come into Being in a State of Being.” – Meister Eckhart

Emotional Intelligence will help you navigate your social life better, but it takes Emotional Coherence to truly change your life from the inside out.

The discernment and Warrior-like discipline it can take to choose your feelings, and occupy the space around you with your whole and wholehearted self, will need a lot of Jing (Mojo, Adaptability, and Resourcefulness) – and a very internally aligned and coherent Shen (Spirit).

One way to explore coherence is to feel into your Heart Torus – which is a biomagnetic field that emanates from your physical heart. Depending on your vitality and State of Being, your Heart Torus can be too tight, too all over the place, or just right.

Our 49 day journey will now include some teachings and practices for cultivating your expression of Spiritual Warriorship and Right Relationship, For others, and for your Sacred Self.

Week Six

Breathwork, State Shift, and Healing

Cultivating Self Awareness will always include meeting and facing the foibles of the Egoic Identity. We all have a story to tell and the need to tell it.

A hard question for each of us is, ‘When is it time to put the story down and reside in State?’

State-Shift is your Birthright. I will say that again. State-Shift is your Birthright.

When life gets overwhelming, when you need Healing, or when it is time to choose state over story, Breathwork is right there in your Spiritual First Aid kit.

“Egoic Identities are the source of most Pain Bodies.”

Week Seven

Gratitude, Ceremony, and Play

The final week of this journey will be a celebration of what we have learned and shared, an honoring of this Sacred Initiation, and a lot of fun playing with all of your new skills and practices.

Animals play a lot. Especially when they are young. It is how they learn the skills they will need out in the natural world.

Make your daily practice a time of Sacred Celebration, Gratitude, and Play, and you will live a long and joyful life. 

Your Guides and Mentors

Dr. Michael Smith

Michael was first introduced to Qi Gong over 40 years ago. He began studying formally with lineage-holding masters over 37 years ago. He is also a Doctor of Traditional Chinese medicine and a professional martial arts teacher. He has dedicated his life to sharing Qi Gong, ancient healing wisdom, and the subtleties of Daoist practice.

Brodie Whitney

(See Bio)

Mira Koerner-Safrata

(See Bio)

Alicia Larrey

(See Bio)

Neil Ripski

(See Bio)

Simone MacKay

(See Bio)

Troy McFadden

(See Bio)

Register Now

Beginning Monday, March 18th @7:30 am PST (10:30 am EST).

(Recordings Available Soon After)

Register as a Free Participant

(Join after 1 week)

Opening Practices Only – $49

A Daily Guided Meditation

A Daily Breathwork Practice

A Daily Wisdom Teaching from Around the World

Join a Growing Community 

Full Participant – $490

Opening Practices

Embodied Movement

Inner Cultivation (Unborn Mind, Dan Tian, and Chakras)

Interacting with Your Community and Teachers

Interactive Support – Q&A

Daily for 49 Days!

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2024 Courses with Dr. Michael Smith

Beginning April 8, 2024

Learn the skills, practices, and principles necessary to safely and successfully guide others through several kinds of Qi Gong Classes.

The 200 Hour program includes three levels:

One- Embodied Awareness

Two – Traditional Forms and Applied Principles

Three – Inner Refinement

Welcome to the 200-Hour Qi Gong Teacher Training Program