Shanti School of Taijiquan







Susan A. Matthews, M.S.
Shanti School of Internal Martial Arts
An Institute of Research and Education

Southwestern Colorado

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New DVD!

Brain Workshop™
Exercises for a New Brain-
Use Mind Power and Movement to Change Your Brain


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Tai Chi & Qigong for Arthritis

Learn the Secrets of Qigong for Rejuvenation and Longevity

Guidelines for Practicing Tai Chi with Arthritis

Tai chi and Qigong have many forms of meditation to relax the mind and body, which is probably the most important thing a person with arthritis can do to relieve symptoms on many levels. In my classes at Shanti School you will learn how to practice using the mind to move energy and the physical body. (Check out these DVDs). This is how Tai Chi becomes a moving meditation. The Brain Workshop video also has a wonderful non-moving meditation that guides you to fill the brain and body with energy, light and love. This meditation practice brings spiritual energy and earth energy to the heart, profoundly affects sense of well being, reduces fear and anger, and trains the mind to bring healing energy to specific affected areas of the body that are in pain. This practice benefits sleep and reduces anxiety and depression.

One of the keys to relieving pain is to elicit relaxation of musculature which has been chronically working too hard. Tai Chi and Qigong exercises gently elicit postural corrections over a long period of time. However, it is possible to use specific techniques such as power streching and/or get a private session to get quicker results. Spiral Anatomy trains the body to use the biomechanics of spiralling in the musculoskeletal system. This ancient movement and energy training called chan ssu chin, or silk reeling, is prominant in Chen Style Tai Chi. Susan Matthews enriches this training by describing anatomical details and related physiology. This training is dramatically different than muscle-based exercise programs. The focus is not on muscle strength but on whole body unified mechanics (one snake), energy, joint flexibility, and much more.

QiCircles improve circulation to the digestive organs, kidneys, and other abdominal organs directly and can are performed in a chair. ChiCircles specifically increase blood circulation to reproductive organs, bladder, prostate and change the state (tone) of the pelvic floor. These exercises can relieve many symptoms such as incontinence, and greatly improve libido. This is ancient training for cultivating energy in the middle and lower dantien and kidneys. The exercises open and balance energy flow in the meridians. Likewise, they improve bone, blood and lymph circulation which boosts the immune system.

Susan-Thanks for the new disk. I have really found that using the chi figure eights is very supportive during hiking and biking. Instead of feeling tired and straining muscularly, the chi circles just keep me moving on! Thanks, Kim

My husband and I gave up dancing because I was in so much pain. I have arthritis, fibromyalgia, diverticulitis, and several other conditions. Susan showed us how to move again, and my husband and I feel so much better after taking Tai Chi a short time that we recently started square dancing again!—Annella and Elzy Welch

Read more about the Benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong

How to Use Tai Chi to Rehabilitate the Aging Brain—Keep Your Brain Young

Brain Workshop™ uses Tai Chi and Qigong plus scientific principles found in neuroscience and is the most effective set of tools for rejuvenating the aging brain.
Movement along with mental practice stimulates the brain and body to maintain the flexibility of youth. 

This training is perfect for Seniors and persons who need to start any kind of movement at a little gentler pace. We explore the health benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong first with gentle qigong then learn gentle muscle- and tendon-strengthening movements are extremely effective in increasing mobility, flexibility, balance, coordination, and bone density without causing fatigue. Students understand how to improve posture to return to a straight spine and a body in balance. Susan has extensive experience working with seniors and those in pain. She is gentle in her approach, allowing the practitioner to move at their own pace. Every caution is taken to protect the student from further pain. Remarkable results are frequently obtained within a short period of time, even by those who have been suffering with a high degree of pain for a long time. 

We, Ann Wilson, 78, and Darlene Griffin, 53, disabled, are enjoying tai chi with Susan Matthews. She has helped with a lot of various problems, such as low back pain, hand pain, incontinence, balance, arthritis pain, headaches, neck pain, and many more. We enjoy the classes so much. Rumor has it, it is good for us. Dr. Heyl and Dr. Karen Libsch have recommended it to us as a tool to better health. So please try hard to get the grant to help us. Thank you for your time. Darlene Griffin, Ann Wilson

Ancient Chinese Qigong exercises use specific moving meditation techniques and mind exercises for increasing energy or qi,  increasing blood circulation, stress reduction, calming the nervous system, and strengthening joints. Techniques include: meditation, gentle movement, self massage, acupressure point stimulation, energy healing exercises for the internal organs to improve general metabolism and the immune system.

"My hands and wrists were so bad they had to put rubber grips on the doors at the hospital where I work so I could manage to turn the handle. Now I routinely carry two-2˝ gallon jugs in each hand." —Cherie Hughes

How to Use Tai Chi to combat Alzheimer's and Memory Loss


Meditation and mindfulness techniques increase relaxation, employ stress management tools that empower the mind to help heal the body. These simple movements (easily performed in chairs) reduce high blood pressure symptoms, improve digestion, and improve brain function. Susan's Energy Gathering and Blood Circulation Qigong DVD is available to supplement home practice and are highly recommended.

I can do things I couldn’t do before—no more neck pain, and I can garden without pain again. Tai Chi has really made my good life better; I believe in it. —Mary Colgan

Guidelines for Practicing Tai Chi after Stroke Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, and other neurological injuries

Matthews introduces five aspects central to her approach to movement and brain health, especially relative to neuroplasticity and neural repair. She defines them and works with participants to understand their meaning and how they may be incorporated.

First, movement with synchronicity, rhythmicity, and symmetry has been linked to brain activation during memory acquisition, states of consciousness, locomotion, neural repair, and rehabilitation.

Second, mental practice, including visualization and movement imagery, are receiving greater significance for athletic training and for treatment potential, she says. New imaging techniques show that when you visualize going over the movement in your mind (imagery), neuronal (nerve cell) activity in the brain actually mirrors that movement.

Third, balanced, integrated, left- and right-sided movement is accompanied by balanced brain activity. Such movement activates the neural circuitry of the whole brain. Balance is accomplished by using two major components of Tai Chi training: 1) “central equilibrium training,” or developing a straight spine with an energetic central “plumb line,” and; 2) spiraling in the joints, which is called “chan shi chin training.”

Fourth, engaging and integrating multiple sensory systems both physically and with mind intention, wakes up the entire body and brain, and can speed up the healing process. These systems include visual, kinesthetic, the sense of gravity and position, muscle load, stretching and contracting, sensors in the skin, and the sensation of qi.

Fifth, using these techniques and others to train the mind achieves three levels of adaptation. First, increased awareness of the sensation of internal qi energy flowing in the body. Second, the ability to direct internal energy and physical movement to flow in harmony. Finally, the training cultivates awareness of, and harmony with, the energetic movement in the space surrounding the body. Matthews believes this is a critical step to truly feeling “at one with the universe.”  

Brain Workshop™ training on DVD uses Tai Chi and Qigong plus scientific principles found in neuroscience and is the most effective set of tools for rejuvenating the aging brain. Movement along with mental practice stimulates the brain and body to maintain the flexibility of youth. 

Travel to the Southwest- Custom Tours
Come to Colorado for a Rehabilitation Vacation! Tour the wonders of the Southwest while receiving expert, cutting-edge rehabilitation therapy. Email Susan for details.

ONLINE VIDEO STORE Click to see All Titles on Chinese Internal Martial Arts,Tai Chi and Qigong DVDs
Breast massage DVD
Qigong Practice DVD
Daily Breast Massage

Holistic Healing and Prevention with Physical Therapy and Qigong
Brain Workshop™ Exercises for a New Brain- Use Mind Power and Movement to Change Your Brain
China Camp 2007 Video Project DVDs
Many Styles Chinese Internal Martial Arts Masters