Shanti School of Taijiquan



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Brain_Workshop_V2Brain Workshop

~ Learn The Art of Using Your Whole Brain
~ Improve Balance and Memory ~ Prevent Falls
~ Heal Brain Injury ~ Reverse Aging
~ Use Mind-Body Integration for Higher Consciousness
~ Dance with Power and Grace
~ Advanced Training for Tai Chi, Movement Specialists and Therapists

Susan Matthews is a neuroscientist who has designed Brain Workshop training based on her personal research in spinal cord development, stroke, retina, neuroendocrinology (brain hormones), and dopamine neurophysiology (Parkinsons), as well as on current scientific evidence-based practices. Matthews is an anatomist, biomechanist, and a 30+-year Chinese Internal Martial Arts (tai chi/qigong) practitioner and teacher.

Brain Workshop™ Seminars are offered nationally. If you would like to sponsor a Brain Workshop seminar with Susan Matthews please email Susan Matthews at

Private Consultation via Skype and Private Retreats may be a good fit for those not in the local Four Corners Area.

Spiral Anatomy Module 1 Check out the Spiral Anatomy™ Training Course for great packages including many of these videos. Modules provide stepwise training on major topics!
Spiral Anatomy™- Movement and Energy Training
for Tai Chi, Sports, Chronic Pain and Rehabilitation

Brain Workshop™ videos are available for home practice:      

Brain_Workshop_V2Brain Exercise VideoBrain Workshop™ Whole-Brain Exercises- Use Mind Power and Movement to Change Your Brain

Brain Workshop™ Mind and Movement Exercises for Whole-Brain Function and Brain Health make it really possible to change the structure and function of the brain. By training your mind (mindfulness) and movement that involves whole-body integrated movement, you can change your brain. Susan A. Matthews, using decades of experience, combines the ancient secrets of Tai Chi with cutting-edge science to produce a powerful system which you can use to tap into the power of the mind and movement to change the way you think and feel, to reverse age-related changes in the brain, to rehabilitate and regain lost function after stroke or brain injury. Integrate these ancient Tai Chi principles to maximize any exercise for improving brain health and brain function and to maximize mind-body connection. Both Volume One and Two of Brain Workshop™ are now included in Spiral Anatomy™ Module 2 along with balance training and more.                

Volume One: Integrating Neuroscientific Principles is mostly lecture that presents an introduction to how the brain processes information and, using that information, how to use specific patterns of movement to activate and create new neural pathways in the brain. Learn how we use mental practice and visualization to tap into the power of training the mind to affect mental, and physical, well being, and even to repair brain injury.

Volume Two: 12 Key Exercises to Activate the Brain are combined to provide a full one-hour practice session. The constant rhythmic motion is profoundly relaxing. The 4 parts include: 1) Spinal Dynamics, 2) Head and Neck Circulation, 3) Mental Practice, and 4) Left/Right Brain Synchrony.
In each part we focus on both a physical exercise and mental exercise that involves a visualization of energy movement.
The beginning focuses on the dynamics of the spine and the concept of central equilibrium. This is the physical straight spinal column relaxed and balanced in gravity along with fluid energy dynamics created by movement and the mind.
Mental Practice is described for each movement where exercises are designed to train the mind to work within the physical body, generating a visualization of energy flow. The exercises teach you to create a strong root, or sense of balance, how to cultivate a sense of qi, and a method of effortless walking with intent, focus, and energy.
Exercises to balance left and right brain activity have powerful effects both mentally and physically. Here, the mind is trained to move the body, balanced around a singular point of focus.
Head and Neck Exercises provide an abundant blood supply to the brain. Head and neck massage, relaxation and meditation can increase circulation, particularly to areas damaged by stroke or brain injury as well as open doors to higher consciousness. We strongly advise ordering the Three Major Visualizations videos that were produced to expand and enhance Brain Workshop.

Spiral Anatomy™ Module 2 - Balance plus Brain Workshop™ Collection: Best videos in one package. Order/Download only $39.95

***Read this article on:

Using Tai Chi & Qigong for Chronic Stress, Anxiety, PTSD, Depression, Sleep Disorders

Brain Workshop Visualizations

As a neuroscientist, I consider visualizations to be some of the most important information I teach. Visualizations are extremely beneficial to the brain and nervous system. Check out the Relaxation and Meditation page in the Study Guide found in the menu bar at left. Brain Circulation Visualization and methods of building and circulating energy is now included in Spiral Anatomy Module 1. It is highly recommended that you order both Spiral Anatomy™ Module 1 and 2 for the best collection of videos organized in a step-wise progression of vital information and practices.

Spiral Anatomy™ Module 1 - Building an Energy Body Collection: Best videos in one package, $100 value. Order/Download only $39.95

Spiral Anatomy™ Module 2 - Balance plus Brain Workshop™ Collection: Best videos in one package. Order/Download only $39.95

brain circulationBrain Circulation Visualization video is an extension of the non-moving meditation that guides you to fill the brain and body with energy, light and love. This visualization/meditation practice brings spiritual energy and earth energy to the heart, profoundly affects sense of well being calming the nervous system, reduces fear and anger, and trains the mind to bring healing energy to specific affected areas of the body. This practice benefits sleep and reduces stress, anxiety and depression. This daily bedtime practice is step one for everything. 19 min.

get balanceGet Balance Visualization is an extension and expansion of the visualization on Brain Workshop focusing on Zhong Ding central equilibrium line. Focus on Zhong Ding is a major moving meditation (mindfulness practice). It creates superior balance. It creates a mental focus that reduces energy expenditure by increasing stability when walking or hiking. It increases one's connection with energy of the earth. 37 min.

Walking Visualization Meditative walking with zhong ding. 23 min.

More about Brain Workshop™ Whole-Brain Exercises- Using Mind Power and Movement to Change Your Brain

12 Key Exercises for Brain Health

1) Arm Swings with Mental Intent on Central Equilibrium (Zhong Ding)
2) Gathering Energy using Mental Intent for Up/Down Energy Movement
3) Spiral Up and Stretch
4) Head and Neck Massage
5) Relaxing, Qi Filling Breath Meditation
6) Zhong Ding Rooting and Stretching
7) Left/Right Sinking
8) Qi Walking with Central Equilibrium
9) Sitting Figure-8 Qi Circles
10) Open the Back
11) Backwards Bicycle Punches
12) Arm Swings with Central Equilibrium and Bicycle

These two volumes contain elements of Brain Workshop training for speeding neural repair and plasticity in patients with movement disability such as those who are recovering from stroke, brain injury, or who have progressive neurological symptoms as seen in Parkinson's Disease.

They also contains tools and specific movement principles for therapists to use to aid in learning and memory acquisition. For example, speech and reading therapists can incorporate rhythmic movement as a right-brain activity to facilitate left-brain repatterning.

Similarly, this mind-body integration training uses movement synchronization and rhythm coupled with mental practice that effects both physical and mental balance. For mental health, Brain Workshop technique is like EMDR therapy using the whole body.

Email Susan for more information:

Upon registration for any Brain Workshop™ Seminar, each participant is encouraged to use the videos as an excellent introduction to five aspects in her workshops central in her approach to movement, tai chi, and brain health. She explores them in class and works with participants to understand their meaning and how they may be incorporated into any modality:

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 treatment potential. New imaging techniques show that when you visualize going over movement in your mind (imagery), neuronal (nerve cell) activity in the brain actually mirrors that movement. This capacity of the nervous system is just beginning to be explored in brain injury research and treatment. Tai Chi and other ‘internal’ martial arts training tools greatly enhance mental agility by tapping into the mind connection between visualization of internal energy (qi) and movement.

Third, balanced, integrated, left- and right-sided movement is accompanied by balanced brain activity. Such movement activates the motor and sensory neural circuitry of the whole brain. Balance is accomplished by using two major components of training: 1) “central equilibrium training,” and; 2) mechanical spiraling in the joints.

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 (vital energy).

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.

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