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About Monica Marquis

I am a health promotion specialist (BSc. Health Education) with 20 years of health promotion and fitness experience. My love of movement and desire to stay healthy has led me to study and practice qigong. I am a Medical Qigong practitioner (MQP) and a qigong teacher. My intent is help people to live a long and healthy life.

Are you losing your mind? Keep your mind sharp with mind-body exercise!

Keep your mind sharp with mind-body exercise! What are mind-body exercises? Simply put, mind body exercise consists of movements that require you to think about what you are doing. You really have to pay attention to the placement of your body parts. The mind is active controlling the body and is able to stay in the moment. Some call this being in the flow, I call it dynamic meditation. It is not mindless like doing something that is habitual like walking or cycling. You could walk for an hour and your mind will think about all kinds of things - never about where your hand is going or your foot. Mind-body exercise requires that you learn a pattern or a sequence of movements. The exercise would be “new” to you and require a lot of practice to master. And even after practicing for many months or years you will always be learning more because your body will adjust to what you are doing and you can always improve or learn more. You could also learn other types of mind body exercises. Examples of mind-body exercise are Yoga, Tai-chi/Qigong and Dance. Researchers already know that physical activity and exercise improve health and cognition. In this analysis, they are interested in finding out if a mild or moderate activity like mind-body practices will improve cognition because older adults are more likely to do something that is simple, and not to intense. The most popular and promoted activity is walking, but walking does not improve cognition. Who says that mind-body exercise can improve cognition? And why should I believe them? Lately, there has been an explosion of researchers studying mind-body exercises. They are particularly interested in the health [...]

Do you or someone you know have Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic disease with many symptoms.   It makes you feel tired and sore all the time.  You don’t sleep well and you may also suffer from headaches, food allergies and irritable bowel.  In addition, you may have fibro-fog a symptom that affects your ability to think. The research is mounting to support practicing qigong to relieve symptoms and two people have been cured by practicing qigong.  Several studies were examined in this review.  Here are the findings from the studies: Practicing Qigong can improve: pain sleep fatigue physical and mental function These improvements were achieved in many of the studies – even though the studies were very different.  The time spent practicing and type of qigong practiced was different in the studies.  The authors of this research focus on 4 random controlled trials (considered the gold standard for research) to make recommendations.  They highlight that practicing qigong 30-45 minutes daily for 6 to 8 weeks consistently produces results.  These benefits were constant after 4 to 6 weeks.  In addition, study participants continue to practice Qigong! It is interesting to note that it does not matter what kind of qigong you practice.  This validates what many of my teachers have said, bad qigong is better than no qigong.  What is important is that you do it, and you do it every day.  I teach some of the qigong that was mentioned in the studies.  I have introduced qigong to my fibromyalgia clients who take an aqua-fitness class with me.    The class is 60 minutes long.  The first 10 minutes is range of motion exercises followed by 20 minutes of gentle cardio.  We then practice qigong for 30 minutes.  The ladies love the class, [...]

By |May 24th, 2019|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Do you or someone you know have Fibromyalgia?

Shibashi Qigong Training

I have been studying Shibashi Qigong and last weekend I took the teacher training to teach Shibashi set 1.  Shibashi is a set of 18 movements that are performed in order and all 18 are performed every time you practice.  The movements are simple, flowing and easy to learn.  It takes about 20 minutes to complete the set. I chose to study this form because the first time I tried the first 2 moves I could feel the Qi in my lower dan tian.  I have never felt the Qi this strongly with any other practice.  My lower dantian was buzzing - vibrating.  After this experience I just had to learn how to teach it!  And, these movements will work well in the water.  I have already added them to my Fluid Zen classes.   Here is a video of the first 3 moves. Click here The training was fantastic!  Sifu Wing Cheung has a very gentle approach to his teaching.  He is a wealth of knowledge, however he does not speak much unless you ask him a question.  This is typical of learning from a Chinese master.  You only receive the information you are ready to hear.  Therefore, you better be asking questions! What I learned from Sifu Wing Cheung. Breath - your breathing should be gentle - no sound, and the exhale should not move a feather On feeling the Qi - Performing Shibashi seated is a great way to feel the Qi Kau - this is your hip area, lead with the Kau.  Once you figure this out - the arms float up easily. If you are interested in learning more about this form check out Master Wing Cheungs website.  There are free [...]

By |September 19th, 2018|Categories: Blog, Qi Gong|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Fluid Zen (Qigong and Tai Chi in the water)

I love the water and have been an aquafitness instructor/trainer for 25 years.   While studying qigong I asked one of my teachers what he thought about practicing Qigong in the water.  He told me that water is an excellent medium for Qigong because water magnifies the benefits of Qigong. Many years ago I went to an aquatic therapy conference in Washington D.C., while there I learned about Tai chi in the water and later became certified to teach Ai Chi.  Ai Chi is a set of Tai chi movements designed for the water.  Both Tai chi and Qigong are perfect for the water.   When you watch someone do Qigong and Tai chi it looks like they are in the water.  Water supports the slow flowing movements and helps the learner achieve success early. Fluid Zen is a combination of Ai Chi and many forms of Qigong done in a warm pool (90 degrees).   I begin and end each class with a few movements of Ai Chi, followed by several qigong poses from the different styles I have learned.  Currently, I incorporate the 18 Luohan hands , the five yin organ routine, and Tai Chi Shibashi.   Shibashi is beautiful flowing form and will be perfect in the water!  I am currently studying Daisy Lee's Radiant Lotus Qigong and will introduce you to this amazing form that is just for women this summer (2019). Practicing in the water allows for more freedom of movement.  You can get more range of motion in the water, sink deeper into the poses and the warm water assists with relaxation.   Come and try a class!  I am so excited to be teaching at two pools in Oakville!   Click here [...]

Can you feel the Qi? or Energy?

This is a question that is rarely asked. However, I know everyone wants to ask it. Can you feel it? What does it feel like? What am I suppose to feel? First, what is Qi?  Qi is the universal energy force that flows through everything.  Like water, it flows freely around us, and through our bodies via energy channels or meridians.    We can manipulate this energy by practicing qigong, tai chi or yoga.  All these energy practices move your energy.   For more, read my blog post What is Qi. Can I feel the Qi? Yes, I feel it. Did I always feel it? No, I did not always feel the qi. What does it feel like? People report different sensations. I can report the following: After performing some of the 18 Luohan hands I feel the Qi rushing to my hands, it feels like tingling and sometimes the hands feel like they are swelling (but they are not - nothing you can see). Other times, when I am practicing a step in the 5 step routine called "flowing breeze swaying willow" I feel the Qi spiraling up, and my whole body wants to follow the spiral. Other times it feels like a subtle wave going through my whole body. The thing to remember about qi is it is very subtle, and gentle. Often I feel qi as heat. Lots of heat. No, it is not a hot flash. Those are very different. The heat from Qi is gradual, and not as intense as a hot flash. No nausea, or sweating. So how do you learn to feel the Qi? The only way is to practice. Do your very best to enter zen and go [...]

By |April 12th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

What are the 18 Luohan Hands?

Here is an introduction to the history, philosophy, and practice of The 18 Luohan Hands. In romanized Chinese, the 18 Luohan Hands is written Shiba Luohan Shou, which is pronounced as follows: • Shi (like the word “ship” but without the “p”) • Ba (rhymes with “La”, ) • Luo (rhymes with “claw”) • Han (rhymes with “con”) • Shou (sounds like “show”) The word Luohan comes from the Sanskrit word Arhat. Both words refer to a person who has cultivated a high level of spirituality. After the Buddha passed away roughly 2500 years ago, 500 of his top disciples gathered together in a grand council. Together, they reviewed and discussed his teachings word by word. These disciples became known as the 500 Arhats. 
When Buddhism spread from India to China, there were some cultural adjustments. For example, the Chinese paid special homage to 18 of the 500 Arhats. Statues of these 18 Luohan are often found in Buddhist temples today. 
When Bodhidharma taught at the Shaolin Temple (roughly 1000 years after the passing of the Buddha), he chose to pay homage to these 18 Luohan, perhaps in an effort to reach across the cultural divide. So he named a set of Qigong techniques after them. 
The word Shou means “hands”, but refers to the 18 techniques. So a figurative translation would be the 18 Techniques of the Enlightened Ones. Over time, the 18 Luohan Hands evolved into the 18 Luohan Fists. Here, “fists” also refers to the techniques, but implies that they are not just for health. In other words, it was a form of Kung Fu. This was the birth of Shaolin Kung Fu, a martial art that would become legendary. The 18 [...]

6 REASONS TO LEARN QIGONG FROM MONICA MARQUIS

  1. I practice daily! This is a feat in of itself. Half of the population in Canada is not active enough for health. In addition to my Qigong practice I swim, walk, hike, inline skate, cycle and I teach aquafitness. 2. I am passionate about movement and I believe movement is medicine, taken daily you can ward off most ailments including aging. 3. I am a fitness and physical activity specialist.   I have worked in the fitness industry for 25 years. I have many certifications including: aquafit( instructor, trainer, therapist), Bone fit certified, Watsu 1,11,111, Ahi chi, Tai chi, Yoga, and Qigong teacher training. 4. I am a health promotion specialist who worked in public health promoting physical activity and chronic disease prevention.  If you live in Halton, you may remember me as the coordinator for Active Halton, a group of government and private organizations dedicated to increasing the physical activity levels of Halton residents.  We did some amazing work that still influences decision making of local governments.  I coordinated the Mississauga Halton Fall Prevention Initiative and promoted the Home Support Exercise Program to  Mississauga and Halton residents. I ended my career in the health sector (public health, and the Mississauga Halton LHIN) after spending 18 months with a non government organization - Osteoporosis Canada. While there,  I encouraged health care professionals (surgeons and physicians) to implement best practices in Osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment.   I assisted with best practice implementation at 3 hospitals in York Region - all three implemented the best practice guidelines and received awards. 5.  I know chronic illness, if there is something I don’t know I am good at finding out causes, treatment and best practices. In addition, [...]

Frequently asked questions about Qigong

Is Qigong difficult to do? Most qigong is very easy to do.   The forms I teach are not physically demanding.  The movements are simple and easy to learn.  In fact, the form is not the most important part of the practice.  So,  you can butcher the movement.  I won't correct you, or tell you you are doing it wrong.    Everyone is encouraged to move within their personal comfort zone.  The most important part of Qigong practice is learning how to relax, followed by learning how to breathe.  Yes, relaxing and breathing.   Practicing qigong is training your body to enter the relaxation response quickly and effortlessly.  Only then can the body heal.   Being relaxed allows the energy in the body to move freely.  This movement facilitates healing.   The dynamic & static postures enhance the movement of qi through the energy meridians.   Practicing regularly helps you to discover and feel the qi.  Once you are at this stage you become very in tune with your physical body and learn how to move the energy to your benefit. Do I need a yoga mat? You do not need a mat or any special equipment. Do I have to sit on the floor? All the qigong movements I teach are in a standing position.   You will never have to sit on the floor.  If you learn a meditation from me, you will be standing or sitting in a chair.  It is very important to have your feet on the floor for all qigong movements and meditations. What do I wear? Wear comfortable clothing and non slip indoor shoes.  Loose clothing that is not restrictive.  What ever you are comfortable in.   I usually teach at yoga studios and they [...]

By |February 11th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

What is Qi?

Qi pronounced chi, is the universal life force that runs through everything. Qi is the life force which sustains every activity of the body, mind and spirit. If you practice yoga, you know this energy as prana, if you are familiar with Shiatsu you know it as Ki. The Chinese are the leaders in knowledge of this life force. Chinese doctors have mapped the energy system of the body. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on balancing and enhancing these energies in the body. TCM and Qigong have been in use to enhance health for over 5000 years. Your Qi can be enhanced with herbs, food, acupuncture, and Qigong. What is Qigong?  Qigong, pronounced Chi Kung consists of static postures, moving postures, and meditation. There are numerous studies that confirm the benefits of Qigong and many more are available in Chinese. In China, qigong exercises are done daily in school to prevent the need for eye glasses. People practice Qigong for health, to learn about themselves, and to learn how to follow the breath to find peace. According to TCM theory, we need to protect our life force and ensure it is flowing freely. In order to do that we need to eat properly, spend time in nature, and move the energetic body. Qigong exercises or movements are designed to move the energy through the energy meridians, transform energy, and store energy. Where does Qi or energy come from?  Your original Qi comes from your parents – we are born with an energy body, we obtain Qi from food, the air, earth and the heavens (planets & stars).   Qi is the life force – without it, there is no life.  As we age, our energy [...]

By |February 11th, 2018|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Shooting Arrows # 2 of the 18 Luohan hands

Shooting Arrows This movement is one of the most challenging to learn.  It uses the one finger zen hand form, which is a special Shaolin technique that brings energy to the hands and index finger.  The movement begins with the arms crossed in a horse stance, and the hands in the one finger zen position.  You then alternate stepping to the side and shooting an arrow to the opposite side.  This movement is best learned from a teacher and practiced many times.   Practicing shooting arrows sends energy to the lung and heart meridians.  It is useful for skin problems, respiratory issues, high blood pressure, depression, self confidence and memory issues.