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Full Circle Synergy

100% Local

500 Forest Avenue
Portland , Maine 04101 (view map)
Phone: (207) 780-9581 Website: Hours:

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T’ai Chi Fundamentals is designed for both beginners and advanced students. Based on Don Ethan Miller’s “20 Minute T’ai Chi Workout Program”, this class combines fundamental Qigong and T’ai Chi exercises that are easy to learn and remember. Students improve their balance and relieve stress through active relaxation, more efficient body mechanics and cultivating internal energy. These skills provide a good foundation for continuing with other classes at Full Circle Synergy, including the T’ai Chi Form, and can improve one's performance in other athletic activities. Advanced students say that learning or reviewing T’ai Chi Fundamentals deepens their understanding of their T’ai Chi Form and improves their Push Hands.

T'ai Chi Form classes teach William C.C. Chen’s Yang Style short form as a 10-12 minute moving meditation. Students usually learn the Form after a T'ai Chi Fundamentals class, although TCF is not required.


Any student enrolled in a Form 1
class may attend any additional
Form classes that are learning
prior or equivalent movements
for no additional fee.


FORM LEVEL 1: Teaches the 60 movements of William C.C. Chen’s short form in about 14 months, depending upon the collective ability of the participating students. We have divided the 60 movement form into five sections to better clarify each class curriculum: Section 1 movements 1-8, Section 2 movements 9-20, Section 3 movements 21-30, Section 4 movements 31-52, Section 5 movements 53-60 and review. In addition to learning the movement mechanics, students develop their own practice, which allows them to "take home" the stress reduction and active relaxation methods of T’ai Chi. Students also expand their understanding of the self-healing and self-defense principles of T’ai Chi. Most importantly, we hope that students develop an appreciation for the quiet joy that comes from practicing meditative movement.

FORM LEVEL 2: Encourages students to explore, study, and celebrate the T’ai Chi Form. Emphasis varies depending upon the interests of the students and teachers, but generally the self-healing and self-defense applications of each movement are explored to better understand T’ai Chi’s practical and natural applications to everyday life. The teachings of the "old masters" are emphasized, as is T’ai Chi’s relevance to modern life.

Evidence-based Taiji, (EBT FORM) (click for link to description)

This class will introduce students to a wide variety of training methods and individual forms from Hunyuan Chen style tai chi. By developing a richer understanding of silk reeling qigong and large extension, students of any style will gain insight into the role of dan-tien in moving physically and energetically from their center.

The staff is the simplest of the weapons of Tai chi and, because it is held with two hands, it is one of the easiest to use. Students will learn a staff form that illustrates the fundamental principles of the weapon. If time permits, we will explore some basic two-person work. This will be a low-impact class. Participants will need a staff (“bo” in Japanese) or any wooden stick about six feet long and about one and one-quarter inches in diameter.


In addition to Qigong and Tai Chi Form work, interactive two-person practice is invaluable for understanding the healing and martial components of Tai Chi Chuan. With help from a training partner, students can more directly access and cultivate skills of self-awareness, healing intent, and martial potential. This class will focus on two person exercises that illuminate internal dynamics of Qigong and Tai Chi form training. Themes will include, sensitivity, spatial awareness, mind/body intent,  internal/external relationship, posture testing, and more.  This class is appropriate for all levels, however, it is a great introduction to the kind of experience that push hands provides.   

Push Hands is essentially a game between two people, applying the principles of T’ai Chi in a martial context. Students cultivate the essential qualities of internal energy, including sensitivity, neutralization and yielding, rooting and uprooting, and releasing tension during an interactive experience.
Superficially, the object is to push and not be pushed, but the game is much more sophisticated than that. Students learn to maintain their roots by neutralizing the push being received, and to push with softness and sensitivity. Master Chen calls this "push, no push."
As taught in this class, push hands is not "competitive" in the usual sense, but is fun and exciting, challenging students both physically and metaphysically, and fostering a deep understanding of the system. Students of any age and ability are encouraged to explore push hands once they have a few months of T’ai Chi Fundamentals and/or T’ai Chi Form practice.
The lessons learned in push hands are not just for martial arts or athletics. Many students notice beneficial application to many of the daily interactions that occur between two people.

The practice of T’ai Chi Sword form is an exhilarating, flowing experience with martial origins. As dueling is largely a thing of the past, the martial applications - while still important - are less emphasized. In today’s world the practice of the sword form cultivates many things, including the projection of intent and awareness beyond one’s hand into the sword, sensitivity to the space around you, and the ability to move with rather than dominate a tool in your hand. Sword sparring cultivates agility and fluidity balancing the rigidity of the sword.  This class is open to anyone who has practiced T’ai Chi for at least two years, or by permission of the instructor. It usually takes 9-12 months to learn the basic mechanics of the Sword Form.

T’ai Chi Boxing is open to anyone who has some understanding of the qualities and skills cultivated in T’ai Chi push Hands. (Concurrent participation in the Monday night Push Hands class is strongly encouraged.) This class will teach William C.C. Chen-inspired body mechanics for boxing, kicking, and yielding, Sparring will be a major component of our practice. T’ai Chi Boxing looks similar to western boxing or kickboxing. T’ai Chi boxing has more emphasis on following, understanding, and/or controlling the flows of energy within oneself and between oneself and another.




Appropriate for beginners and experienced practitioners alike, Soaring Crane consists of 5 short sets of simple yet powerful movements. The 5 forms are designed to open and revitalize both the upper and lower body and work together to release tension and stagnation while promoting relaxation within the entire body. Soaring Qigong utilizes mindful practice to stimulate acupuncture points and promote the free flow of qi throughout the body, calming the mind and supporting wellness.


Crane Frolics Qigong is one of the Five Animal Frolics Qigong first developed by a famous Chinese physician, Hua T'O about 2000 years ago.  The Animal Frolics system as a whole was developed for Health and Longevity, including tranquility in motion, improved organ function, balance, internal calm and the release of stress.  The Crane Frolics specifically cultivate balance with lightness, grace within movement, and opening the joints while staying stable and rooted.  This class is open to anyone who would like to cultivate more of these personal attributes - beginners are especially welcome

Primordial Qigong is a rare and powerful from the ancient Taoist tradition as transmitted by renowned Tai Chi Chuan Master Feng Zhiqiang. This accessible twelve-movement system cultivates, rejuvenates and revitalizes, blending the primordial energy of Heaven and Earth with the energy of life within the body. Open to and recommended for all levels of experience, including beginners.

Coiling Silk Qigong explores the soft spiraling movements that are perhaps most widely associated with Chen style T’ai Chi, but are also an important complement to Yang style T’ai Chi. These movements will dissolve tension and stimulate the flow of energy through the joints to increase balance, flexibility, posture, and breathing. For recreational and competitive athletes regardless of current condition, the practice of Coiling Silk can increase strength, coordination, relaxation, and timing. Open and applicable to all levels.  Expect to feel relaxed, energized, and internally balanced.

The limits that breath and balance place on each other may be obvious. For example, it is hard to take a deep breath when we feel “out-of-balance.” This class will explore the interaction between liberating the breath and deepening dynamic balance. Exercises will include qigong breathing and qigong balancing, and will focus specifically on the physical and energetic connection between the diaphragm, psoas muscles, and the spine. Students should come prepared to explore a variety of movement, and to find joy within the liberation of breath and of balance. Regardless of your current state of breath and balance this class will increase your potential.

Qigong Healing emphasizes the practice and cultivation of various Qigong exercises, including movement, standing, sitting, and breathing. Qigong translates as “internal energy work or skill,” and refers to a broad range of internal energy and breath practices, including the internal martial art of T’ai Chi. This class will foster the meditative, relaxation and healing power of Qigong. Open to all levels of experience, including beginners.

Bone Marrow Cleansing is a classic system of purification Qigong, attributed to Bodhidharma. This can be practiced seated or standing, and can provide benefits to the bones, blood, and immune system, as well as balancing the whole body’s physiological functions. Bone Marrow Cleansing is known to be peaceful and soothing, while strengthening the bones, blood and immune system and resulting in powerful rejuvenation.

Healing Sounds Qigong uses a combination of sound, breath and movement to dispel toxins from the five primary yin organs: lungs, kidneys, liver, heart and spleen. The basic set is easy to learn and can be practiced lying down, seated, and standing. The advanced set is practiced standing and includes movements to detoxify acupuncture points and energetic meridian lines in the body. Students find Healing Sounds fun and playful especially when practiced in a group.

I-Chuan is an ancient Qigong practice for cultivating internal energy. This class explores standing meditation through the I-Chuan system developed by Master Wang Xian Zhai, as well as classic Shaolin standing postures. Benefits include release of mental and physical tension, strengthening the nervous system, increased mental and physical stamina, and increased cultivation of Qi. One can learn how to cultivate relaxation while maintaining an integrated posture. Some level of constant standing meditations is an essential element for anyone seeking significant benefit from self-healing, or anyone seeking advanced ability in any athletic endeavor.

The touchstone of all  powerful Qigong systems is Wuji standing meditations, cultivating Qi (internal energy) by allowing the mind and body to release into stillness. Among other benefits, this practice will strengthen the nervous system and increase mental and physical stamina. Walking Meditation incorporates stillness within movement for energy cultivation, balance, and internal calm. It integrates the whole body for health, wholeness and athletic performance. This class will explore the Taoist saying, "in movement there is stillness, in stillness there is movement." For beginners this is a great introduction for T’ai Chi Form. For continuing students this is a powerful way to deepen one's practice and accelerate healing, athletic and martial benefits.

Yi Jin Jing moves Qi (life force energy) through the muscles, tendons, and fascia using postures held in tension with dynamic breathing promoting greater strength and health. In the West we often think of muscles, tendons and fascia simply as the source of physical power.  Chinese medicine also recognizes the relationship that muscles tendons and fascia have to “wei Qi,” the surface protective layer of qi.  By moving qi through these soft tissues one can improve resistance to external intrusions and improve the efficiency and power of the muscles, tendons and fascia.  Some chronic stress related illnesses can be mitigated by improving one’s resistance to modern external stressors and reducing their impact on our bodies.

This class exercises the muscles more intensely than the other Healing Qigong systems that we offer. People have described this Qigong as wonderfully purging of the muscles, tendons and fascia.  As the intensity of this Qigong is easily self-regulated, students with a broad spectrum of physical capability can readily enjoy practicing together. Open to all levels, however, students with less experience with mind/body movement are encouraged to start with a physically gentler Qigong class. 


“Western-style” athletic training often includes strength training, quickness, reaction time, agility, flexibility, and physical stamina. This class will explore these elements in the context of “Qi”-”gong” which translates as “energy effort or energy cultivation.” Additional elements to those above include, visualizations and mental stamina, rooting, habituating efficient body mechanics, integration of mind, body, breath and spirit; pliability and rejuvenation. The taste of bitter is good for the heart. In this class you can expect to taste some bitter, share some laughter and achieve your training goals in a whole new way.




BAGUA ZHANG: The Power of the Circle
Bagua is the Circular Art, all movements practiced while walking in a circle, while the arms spiral, like a Chinese dragon dancing among the thunderclouds. We explore the “Eight Inner Palms” and a number of “Outer Palms,” techniques that increase the body’s reservoir of healing force.  We also explore “Walking the Circle” for flow, grace, strength, and well-being. Students interested in the martial arts have an opportunity to practice the self-defense applications. Bagua is a cure for linear thinking, and physical and mental rigidity.


This class is for students of Qigong or Bagua, who already have a growing understanding of effective Qigong alignments and are interested in deepening their physical, energetic, and mental integration, alignment and power.  Each class will be a mix of physically/mentally demanding qigong, Bagua instruction and two person Bagua exercises. Bagua choreography will be taught primarily as a way of accessing bagua alignments to project and receive power. 

Open Studio is free and available to currently enrolled students, to be utilized for unsupervised practice and sharing. Instructors and senior students will be available to assist on occasion, and the FCS library and media resources are available.




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