Why I Closed My Studio Doors for Good

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On May 31st, I locked up my qigong and tai chi studio for the last time.

As I returned the keys to the landlord, my eyes were not dry.

For the last 9 years, the Flowing Zen Studio in Gainesville Florida has been my baby, my mission, my everything.

With little more than a dream, I somehow managed to build one of the full time qigong and tai chi studios in the country. Over 2000 people have come through those doors.

Now the doors are closed.

I’m not done teaching, not by a long shot. In many ways, I’m just getting started.

I believe that qigong and tai chi are about to explode in popularity, that we are witnessing the tipping point for these arts.

I believe it so strongly that I just finished certifying 25 wonderful instructors.

And yet – I’m closing my studio.

Why?

I shot this video before turning in the keys. It probably does a better job of conveying my complex emotions on the subject:

If you don’t have time to watch the video, then here are the major themes:

  • I’m being called to teach globally rather than just locally.
  • The studio demanded a ton of my time and energy.
  • I now have 25 certified instructors who will carry on my teaching locally.
  • The world is now my classroom.

My local students (and some of my long-distance students) have known about the closing for a few months. In that time, I’ve received a lot of thoughtful emails, many of them with the same theme:

“When one one door closes, another opens.”

I totally agree with this sentiment. I’m excited about the future, and I’m thrilled to be bringing qigong to a global audience.

And yet — I’m still heartbroken.

I can feel grief and excitement at the same time. As Whitman said, I contain multitudes.

The future may be bright, but that doesn’t change the fact that I have put my heart, my sweat, my blood, my tears, into a studio that is now closed.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, grieving is healthy. It shouldn’t be stifled.

I’m grieving. Perhaps you’d like to grieve with me?

Here are some pictures to help you (and me) remember the Flowing Zen Studio: click here.

If you ever spent time in the studio, then you know that it was a beautiful, healing space. Wonderful things happened in that studio over the last 9 years.

Wonderful things are on the horizon, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

But the studio — its wonderful energy, its safe, nurturing environment, and its ability to connect people to each other to the qi of the cosmos  — all of that will be dearly missed.

Do you have any fond memories of this space? If so, I’d love it if you shared them in the comments below.

Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.

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24 Responses to Why I Closed My Studio Doors for Good

  1. Anne Young June 11, 2016 at 8:36 am #

    As I shared with my FIRST Heart Centered Qigong class at Unity church this week, when I first came to The Studio six years ago, I was a tired old woman waiting to retire and rest. Now I’m a sexy sexagenarian and Flowing Zen Certified Qigong Instructor who is excited to start this new career. I officially retire from my old career on Monday 6/13.
    What happened to me in The Studio changed my mind, body, spirit, and life! I resonate with Sifu Anthony’s feelings of grief and sadness at its closing. I received such amazing gifts there, and I will be forever grateful for the sacred space it was. Now we all take the sacred space with us, within us, and go out into the world to share the blessings! Thank you, and bless you, Sifu!

  2. Sifu Anthony Korahais June 11, 2016 at 8:43 am #

    WOW! Thank you for sharing this, Anne. It’s been such a pleasure working with you the last 6 years. I look forward to sharing my other sacred space with you: the practice hall in Costa Rica!

  3. Candice Hayden June 11, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    I am just getting involved in Qigong after an accident that not only impacted me physically but, even more so, emotionally. I came out the other side physically impacted, perhaps for the rest of my life, but died a small death. It opened floodgates of mourning for a multitude of things that would never be the same. I know intellectually that change is good but quite often we cannot appreciate it until we look through a hindsight lens. So I will practice patience until then. I look forward to more of your online presence — quite a bit different from the small class I take in person — and would love to see you teach a retreat here in Colorado. Namaste and Godspeed. Such courage it takes to move from a place of comfort (despite the discomfort of it) to a potential that was not possible in that space. It is the only way we grow into better versions of ourselves, isn’t it?

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais June 12, 2016 at 8:08 am #

      Thank you, Candice. I would love to teach in Colorado some day. It’s been too long since I’ve seen the Rockies.

  4. David Burch June 11, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    I loved everything about this place. My first visit was when it was The Gainesville Wellness Center, I believe. I loved the treatment rooms, the bathroom, the waiting room with the comfy chairs, the tranquil setting, the tea. The sounds-you-may-hear-are-due-to-stress-relief-exercises sign. Smiling faces at the front desk. The practice room with the warm, earthy floors. The plants, rocks,and Guan Yin in the window.

  5. Cheryl Winter June 11, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    Wishing you all the best in your new chapter of life! I became a student before your studio at a church in Gainesville and continued in the studio while I was economically able for a few years. You gave me many gifts that changed my life . You will continue to do that for others where ever you go locally or over the whole world! Thank you for all that you have done and all you will continue to do!
    I clasp my fist and bow to you Sifu Anthony, Tai Chi, Qigong, Kung Fu Master
    a past, but ever grateful student,
    Cheryl Winter

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais June 12, 2016 at 8:07 am #

      Thank you, Cheryl.

    • Carolina Gomez June 12, 2016 at 8:55 am #

      Hi Cheryl,
      It’s me Carolina. We started about the same time. I learned a great deal from Sifu Anthony!

  6. Shawn June 11, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

    I had been to the studio 4 times throughout my time as a distance student. Every time I walked into the studio, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of great potential just waiting to be unleashed in the practice space.

    A particular memory stands out to me though. It was during the first small universe course, and Andy and I were there before one of the sessions washing out tea mugs upstairs. Time seemed to stretch out and stop up there as we cleaned and dried the mugs. For that brief time, all things were made right, aligned on some larger scale I could sense but not quite grasp. I had never felt so at peace or been so excited for what was to come. It was like that momentary pause just before you enter the vault room to a lost treasure after years of searching for it. It was a moment of Zen timelessness in your studio among piles of dirty tea cups that I will always cherish.

  7. Beverley Kane, MD June 11, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    Anthony, while I applaud your commitment to your well-being, I am dismayed at this literal closing of the door to your personal, in-the-flesh, pheromonal presence for your students. It’s not just you. I am equally disaffected with Mingtong Gu, David, the TaijiFit guy, and others, all going the way of digital dojo’s, Or mass produced workshops with upward of 50 people in a room. (You can edit or remove their names for posting, tho I stand by my shoutouts.)
    As a Silicon Valley techie who has been on the internet since 1985, with many webinars conducted, I just can’t fathom giving up my 1:1 personal, in-the-flesh medical qigong sifu with whom I share breath, candles, tiny sounds, fleeting facial expressions, touch, subtle energies, and kinesthetic unities unimaginable across a Skype connection. I can also not imagine being as effective as a teacher myself without the up-close and personal shared energies of our physical classes.
    I hope you will continue to do, or come back to, some sort small, highly personal, highly fleshy medium for teaching.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais June 11, 2016 at 6:23 pm #

      Beverley, I’m still teaching in person. I have a retreat in Costa Rica in a few weeks, which is one of the most powerful, face-to-face experiences a person can get with these arts.

      I don’t know Mington Gu or David (I assume you’re talking about Dorian Ross) personally, but I have a lot of empathy for people who run a brick-and-mortar studio. The saying really is true: walk a few miles in someone’s shoes before you judge them.

      In the flesh is always preferred, but I’m a teacher first and foremost, and I want to help people. Many people just don’t have access to a local teacher, at least not a good one.

      I’m helping more people with online teaching than I did in person. If we judge by the impact my teaching has on students, then online teaching is superior.

      But as I said, I’ll continue to teach face-to-face in retreats and workshops. What I won’t do is teach every Monday-Thursday from 5pm-9pm, as I did for many years.

  8. Eric June 11, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

    Sifu Anthony,

    You really are a beautiful person – never think of yourself as a failure, as you said, you are merely opening your “Story of Life” and turning the page to a new chapter (filled with new and rewarding experiences). You’ve done a fantastic job building yourself up to where you are, and it is evident in this video – your passion and gratitude literally transmitting through the camera.

    Keep up your tremendous ethics and I can’t wait to one day travel and be a part of one of your retreats!

    Best wishes,
    Eric. 🙂

  9. JohnK June 11, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

    I have learned from you. From Minnesota, I also have learned much from Master Chun Yi Lin of SpringFores Qigong. Collaboration? I am in

  10. Vera June 12, 2016 at 12:18 am #

    Thank you for sharing the perspective..yes, it hurts a lot to give up something that was intense and constant for a long time. I did not visit your studio, nor did I take lessons with you,Sifu ,in person. But the experience is universal ,I think, when time comes to turn a new page and so much had been invested in physical , emotional efforts with hope and money. But that is the road to grow…..we look back and forward at the same time…
    Thank you for your lessons.

  11. David Young June 12, 2016 at 12:50 am #

    Damn! I was hoping to visit that place when I could save up too. . I certainly loved the location.

  12. Sifu Cindy June 20, 2016 at 11:37 pm #

    Hello Sifu Anthony,

    I have been teaching tai chi since 2000 at various locations and cities in my area. I remember thinking how wonderful it would be to have my own studio, but I was never able to accomplish that on my own financially. The more I thought about it, the more stress I began to feel of being committed to all the responsibilities involved. Thinking about it not only brought on stress, but I began to visualize the paperwork involved and keeping financial records and I could see the stress I would encounter. My thoughts then showed me that my students may feel my stress which in turn could affect their performance.

    As time passed, I began to appreciate teaching at our local community centers. I was not confined to four walls because I had the freedom to conduct my classes outdoors at a local park by the river, when the weather permitted. There my students learned to connect with nature and experience the true feeling and meaning of chi, as they stood in the wu chi posture.

    It was then that I realized I no longer wanted a studio, because the great outdoors with all its natural beauty was my universal studio. En Plein Air, En Plein Jour, in the open air, in broad day. The greatest place to be when practicing Qigong and T’ai Chi. I believe you would now agree.

    Anthony, everything happens for a reason, and it was meant for you to be in a studio environment because that is what it would take for you to learn two lessons. How to let go and how to move forward and welcome the great outdoors as part of your world. A world without structure, and without walls.

    From this day forth, leave your past behind, a past that made you reject change because you fell into a daily routine. Remember the students, and let all else fade away. Now is the time for a new beginning, feel the freedom and enjoy what lies ahead. Comfort and peace.

  13. Chuck Boardman June 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. I am glad you have closed the studio. Time for you to move on to bigger and better things. I really enjoyed it during the years I faithfully attended…but it is time for the student to become even more disciplined and practice diligently on his own. I have learned such a vast quantity of skills while there that I will never be board. There are also groups available if I choose to drive to Gainesville again from Lake City FL. Some day it may work out that I will be teaching others, but for now my retirement of traveling the USA and practicing on my own seems to be working out for me. Glad you are on line to have for reference. If folks from Lake City FL want to casually get together for Qi Gong, Tai Chi I am available here.

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