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Guidelines for Conducting a Sheng Zhen Weekend Workshop
Overview: The purpose of a weekend workshop is to hold space for a longer, more immersive experience that leads the practitioners into a deeper understanding of the essence of Sheng Zhen. As the intention of the group and objective of the event/activity is typically stronger given the bigger commitment, it is best that this be communicated to the participants prior to commencement. The purpose of this document is to help provide guidelines that support that intention.
Format: Generally, a weekend workshop consists of two eight hour practice sessions which involve movement, meditation and discussion. The total number of hours and breakdown of sessions may vary slightly but here is a suggested template to follow:
Cost: The cost may vary depending on location, experience etc. but anywhere from $125-$250 for the entire weekend (which includes at least: retreat costs, the teacher’s fee and their food and lodging) is suggested.
Maximum Participants: Depends on comfort level of instructor and venue size.
Venue: Best to see the hall prior to check for space per person (at least 1 m3 per person, 20-25 square feet (2-3 m2), or one arms’ length, ceiling height, ventilation, cleanliness, tea area, restrooms
1. Stage: With big numbers, a stage is essential. When elevated, all participants have a good chance to see the teacher’s whole body, in turn making it possible for the teacher to see everyone’s whole body. Especially if stage is improvised, best to test for stability and safety.
2. Sound system:
a. Microphone: Not a must, but best to have when doing big groups. It is more comfortable for the students, easier to relax and follow instructions if one can hear the teacher well. It is also more comfortable for the teacher, easier to hold everyone’s attention, and enables one to speak softly for meditation, yet heard well. Best to have wireless mic, lapel mic or headset mic. Normal mics are better than none, possible to use, but is very cumbersome. If doing workshops, retreats for big groups and demonstrations often, contemplate on investing in a PA (public address) system with the headset and/or lapel mics.
b. Music? No music is the best. The lovely sound of silence can bring one to a higher place than any background music can. The only exception is demonstrating at markets and public events to draw people’s attention. Then when one can mention that it is best done in silence.
Resources: The best resource are the Sheng Zhen books. During the workshop, read some of the contemplation messages to help get the “flavor” of the movements and go deeper and into the Sheng Zhen state. Reserve telling the story of Sheng Zhen and Master Li to more experienced students, or those who would like to hear the Truth.
Feel free to utilize the available resources within the teacher portal on the Sheng Zhen website that include flyers, guidelines documents (such as this one), FAQ section, message board, etc.
8:30-9:30 AM Registration
- It’s necessary to check everyone in and to leave enough time for participants to get to the venue and get situated prior to the start of class. It’s important to be respectful to everyone and to the practice of Sheng Zhen to start on time. There may be talking and/or commotion prior to the start of class so you may also want to spend a few minutes to quiet down the class and set the tone prior to starting.
- The introduction generally entails the following: a brief description of what will take place over the course of the weekend workshop, Zhongtian movement, an overview of Sheng Zhen, what forms will be practiced, what the structure of the class will be, where restrooms are, who the instructor(s) is(are) and a personal story as to how or why they got into Sheng Zhen.
- Take the time to make eye contact with everyone in the room and have all of the participants go around and introduce themselves, state where they are from, and why they are here or how they heard about Sheng Zhen.
- You may want to start with some slight stretching or gathering qi and then move into the form. Start slow, take your time, ease into the movements, be detailed, repetitive if necessary, no rush, you have all weekend, this is important in setting the pace, the absorption of the essence of the form.
- Review what was covered in the first hour (i.e. if you covered the first four movements, at least go through the first four movements for memory before continuing onto the fifth movement) and assess whether the class is retaining the information which will help you determine how thorough you will need to be on each movement for the rest of the day/weekend. Then continue working on additional movements at the appropriate pace.
- Note: At your discretion you may alternate Union of 3 Hearts meditation during any of the “Form/Meditation” sessions. For example, if you feel the energy needs to settle down or the participants need a physical break you may determine that meditation is more appropriate.
- You may want to suggest to the participants that they get back in time to being promptly at 2:00 (again this is about respect to everyone who paid and to the practice of Sheng Zhen).
2:00 – 3:30 Form/Meditation
- Continue working on additional movements, though it may be appropriate to start with some meditation to aid digestion. Ask if anyone has questions on the movements.
3:45 – 5:00 Form/Meditation
- Depending on where you are in the form you may want to continue working on the movements but there should be an emphasis in the last session on review over all of the movements that were covered throughout the day. Ask if anyone has questions on the movements.
7:00-8:00 Early Morning Practice (Form)*
- Led by a guest Sheng Zhen Gong Teacher or a teacher trainee, optional.
- You may choose to begin with the next chronological movement from the prior day and then start with the first movement and cycle through them all before going to break, or begin by reviewing movements that were covered in the prior day and then move onto new movements. Ask if anyone has questions on the movements.
- Continue with movements and/or meditation (use discretion). Ask if anyone has questions on the movements.
- Continue with movements and/or meditation (use discretion). At this point you may want to break the class into separate groups and have them practice the forms on their own from memorization (this helps reinforce learning/memory within the individual rather than just following an instructor).
3:45 – 4:45 Form/Meditation
- Make sure you cover all of the movements of the form and it is suggested to go through the entire form more than once. Ask if anyone has questions on the movements.
4:45-5:00 Closing Remarks (May need more time than this. Can use another schedule: **)
- Leave dedicated time for open discussion:
1. Was my question, “Why am I here?” answered?
2. What is my “take home gift” (realization/favorite movement) from the weekend?
3. How do I plan to bring my practice into everyday life? In my body, heart and mind.
- 4. Where to get more
- 5. Let participants know where to get more information
- 6. Upcoming classes and thank them for coming out.
**Another schedule proposed for Closing Remarks to have 0.5 hr. at least.
11:15-12:30 Form/Meditation (1.25 hrs.)
12:30-2:00 Lunch (1.5 hrs.)
2:00-3:15 Form/Meditation (1.25 hrs.)
3:15-3:30 Break (0.25hrs.)
3:30 – 4:30 Form/Meditation (1 hr.)
4:30-5:00 Closing Remarks (0.5 hr.)
Do we wish to mention Master Li’s offering of 30% of total income he is giving to Seminar hosts as info and ideas for other teachers? This does help to support local communities.