Sifu Rubia ~ Prana & Qi – Two Paths to One Destination

I am happy to share this discussion I had with Tai Chi & Qi Gong teacher, Sufi Rubia. Rubia teaches a unique form of Tai Chi and we have the chance to share idea about the connections between the ancient practice of Qi Gong and Yoga. During this conversation she shares how she infuses Tai Chi movement into her daily living.

Visit Sifu Rubia on her website www.taichiwellness.online
Use the promo code FREEQI for a 100% discount on her Short Qi Gong Course.
You can follow her on Instagram at @weiwutaichi

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Todd McLaughlin

Hello, welcome to Native Yoga Toddcast. Today I have a special guest named Sifu Rubia. And she is a Tai Chi & Qi Gong instructor. She also practices yoga. She’s based out of California. I recommend that you check out her website, taichiwellnwess.online. Check out her courses. She has Tai Chi courses, which are amazing, she gave me an opportunity to take her Tai Chi Fundamentals course of which I was able to participate and I enjoy immensely. Tai Chi is an incredible art form. I really think it goes well with yoga. She is also offering for those of you that would like to try a free course with her. There’s a promo code FREEQI. That’s for her course called Short QiGong Course. On that note, let’s go ahead and get started. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. I’m so delighted to have Sifu Rubia here with me today. Rubia, how are you doing?

Sifu Rubia

Hi, good. Good morning, or it’s afternoon for you. I’m well Todd, how are you?

Todd McLaughlin

I’m doing really well. I’m so excited to have a chance to speak with you. And I feel like I you said you just finished teaching a class. Is that true? Yeah, private class, private class. And you are a Tai Chi and Qi Gong practitioner and teacher?

Sifu Rubia

Correct. 

Todd McLaughlin

Wonderful. Can you help me understand the difference between Tai Chi and Chi Gong?

Sifu Rubia

Oh, well, Tai Chi is the martial expression of your Qigong practice, essentially. So Chi Gong is, for your Yogi listeners, is the equivalent to prana and Gong simply means to work, to cultivate, to toil. So a chi gong practice is just that. So you’re working on your lifeforce, your vital energy, through specific movements. There are many different system. Qigong systems out there that target different things. And so that’s the cultivation of your of your prana. And then the Tai Chi is the martial expression of that cultivation. And that’s a simple way to understand the difference between the two.

Todd McLaughlin

When you say martial expression, meaning the actual physical movements.

Sifu Rubia

Yeah, correct. So Tai Chi is also known as the Grand Ultimate for martial artists. And usually a typical path to your Tai Chi is a kung fu practice. So people evolve into their Tai Chi, but every Tai Chi movement has a martial expression to it. I don’t typically teach martial expressions just because the venue actually requires, often times, requires me to, to teach it more as a meditation, which it also is, so I teach it primarily as a moving meditation.

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. Can you give me some insight into how you got started? And what your first introduction to Tai Chi was?

Sifu Rubia

Sure, sure. The first Tai Chi class I went to I literally went and walked out? 

Todd McLaughlin

Have you felt weirded out by that first? Like, what was it like that? Sorry? What was it that that made you want to walk out like you were frustrated, or you thought it was weird or….

Sifu Rubia

All of that. It was a combination of a few things. And I remember the feeling very vividly. And by then I’d already had maybe a five year yoga practice. So I was familiar with mind body movement. But the Tai Chi just brought it to another level of being really, really present and uncomfortable. And I just, it was uncomfortable. And your ego gets in the way. And you know, like, there are layers to spiritual practice and your spiritual evolution. And that’s where I was at that moment in time. Struggling with with that part of myself, so yeah, I walked out of class. 15 years later, here we are, yes. 

Todd McLaughlin

Can I ask you where that was?

Sifu Rubia

Where was it? I think it was here in California. So I’m not from here. I’m from Canada. And from the East Coast, and the I was visiting or traveling here in California. And the person I was with was actually a teacher. And he brought me to class. And that’s how that started. And then it took me a couple of years after that before taking another class. Just because the experience was…. I was just so weirded out that I never even considered going back. And then the second time, I can’t even say that it’s stuck, but it wasn’t as uncomfortable. And then the third time is when it stuck.

Todd McLaughlin

Nice. What do you think about the third time that made it stick? What was it that caused you to feel that way?

Sifu Rubia

So I don’t know. I think I was in a much different place. I was, you know, a little more seasoned. I transcended my ego a little bit more and I was a little more open and receptive to the practice. So I guess that’s what made the difference. And I see that in people who show up to class. You always have to meet as a teacher, you know, you have to meet people where they are. It has to come from within. The first time I was not forced into a situation. But it wasn’t something I was willingly going into, I think that’s part of the breakdown that happened. So by the third time it was a willingness from me. So I have to answer that question. That’s really the difference.

Todd McLaughlin

What do you think intrigued you about it when you had that switch to where you were going from being pulled into class versus let me seek it out? You already had a yoga practice? So it sounds like you had cultivated a passion for movement and mind body awareness? What was it about tai chi that caused you to want to try it again? Was it that initial kind of pushback that you felt from being uncomfortable in that really focused space? Or do you think there was something about watching the movement and watching people practice that you that got you intrigued you? Can you put your finger on that?

Sifu Rubia

I love how you put that…. it’s actually the latter. So to really observe people doing tai chi, just watching them it’s meditative. So I think yes, that was definitely the pull back. Yeah. In that space. Yeah, I love that you brought that up.

Todd McLaughlin

Oh, that’s cool. Well, it’s funny, because the first time I saw Tai Chi was on a video. And I remember I was with a group of people. And I had a massage teacher that was really into tai chi, and he put the video on and I think, because the reaction of the other people in the room, they started to giggle and laugh a little bit, kind of like, what is this? What is this person doing? Because the person was moving so slow. And so I feel like my first impression got formed by the reaction of the others around me. I was intrigued. I thought, well, that looks really interesting? But I remember that everyone else is wanting to make fun so it didn’t let me form my own first initial experience. Then my second chance getting to come across Tai Chi, was in Thailand. I was studying Thai massage and my Thai massage teacher would go and teach Tai Chi. Really early in the morning in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  I remember going to a big soccer field. And more than 100 people would show up to practice. And I was blown away by the energy.   I thought it looked so easy, but then to try to actually follow was another story. I remember people saying, Wow, that guy, he’s a real Tai Chi master. Like he really knows what he’s doing. And so I’d sit back and just kind of watch him and but I still didn’t have that eye yet for being able to detect who the master at the art was. 

Can you? When you watch people practice? Is there something that you pick up on? When you watch their practice that gives you that indication? Obviously, you study it, and you teach it. So you have some understanding of these nuances. But can you clue me in a little bit as to what you look for?

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