Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
I stood backstage, exhausted but also brimming with excitement.
I had worked my 16-year-old butt off, along with dozens of other young musicians. For months, we had endured grueling, hours-long rehearsals together.
And now, we were about to go on the big stage: Carnegie Hall.
“But it was just a youth orchestra?” someone said to me, years later.
It’s true. It was just a youth orchestra. It’s also true that the hall was filled with friends and family of the teenagers on stage.
But it was still Carnegie Hall. Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma had been on that same stage.
You know that feeling you get when you’ve worked as hard as you possibly can on something, and the time comes to release it to the world?
That’s how I felt that day, so many years ago.
I’m not 16 anymore, I haven’t touched my violin in years (sorry mom!), but I feel the same way, all these years later.
Admittedly, I’m on a much different stage now. And it’s a big one. So far this year, my website has been visited by over 200,000 people.
Good. The more of you, the better. Because this post is for you.
It’s In My Blood
Today, I start a new chapter. I’ve worked hard, and now I’m ready to release something to the world.
To understand this new chapter, we need to look at the previous chapter.
Once upon a time, a young man fell in love with an ancient healing art called qigong.
Okay, obviously that young man was me. If you don’t know my story, here’s the quick synopsis.
I dedicated my life to the art of qigong quite simply because it saved my life.
In 2004, I quit my job and moved to Florida to attend acupuncture college. I did this to further my understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is the foundation of qigong.
In 2008, I took out a business loan, and began construction on what would become the Flowing Zen Studio.
I guess you could say that the whole brick-and-mortar school thing was in my blood. My parents are musicians, and while I was growing up, they owned a music school in suburban New York.
Of course, my school offered qigong lessons rather than music lessons. And my school was in a small college town in Florida, not New York.
But it still felt like I was following in their footsteps somehow.
Opening my studio was a proud day for me. Over the next 8 years, I grew roots in Florida by getting married, buying a house, and teaching thousands of classes in my studio.
I worked my butt off. I ran the business, I taught 12 classes a week, I taught private lessons, I learned about marketing, I built the website…
This website. The one you’re on right now.
Back then, this website was meant to make my brick-and-mortar studio more successful.
Little did I know that FlowingZen.com would eventually be the death of my studio.
The Slow Death of my Studio
Once I started blogging on FlowingZen.com, I began to attract people from all over the world.
It was wild. I started receiving emails from places like India, South Africa, and Romania.
I even received emails from China! Chinese people want to learn a traditional Chinese art from me?!? Amazing!
My website gradually took up more and more of my time. The more I wrote, the more people visited my website, and the more they wanted to learn.
And not just people from other countries. A college professor from Wisconsin flew in just to learn qigong from me.
This blew my mind. A tenured, well-respected professor flew in just to learn from me?
For the Love of Qigong
It was a nice ego boost, but it wasn’t about me, and I knew that.
It was about qigong. He flew in because he wanted to learn this beautiful art.
And I wanted to teach him. And anyone else who wanted to learn.
Not everyone had the time or resources to fly to Gainesville to learn from me. So I began to travel.
I gave workshops across the US, and even in Costa Rica. I taught in hospitals and corporations, schools, churches, and synagogues.
But it wasn’t enough. The students I taught wanted more than I could teach in a weekend.
And that’s why I started teaching online. To support them.
They loved qigong, and they wanted to learn more, so for the love of qigong, I launched the Flowing Zen Online Academy.
It turns out that an online academy is terrific for an art like qigong — better than a book. It’s like one of those magical Harry Potter Books, where the pictures can move.
So I kept teaching online. Anything to help my students learn and love the art.
The Day My Studio Died
On May 31st of this year, I closed my brick-and-mortar studio for good.
It was absolutely heartbreaking for me.
I’ll never be able to describe what it’s like to put so much time, energy, and love into a project, and then watch it die.
On that last day in the studio, as I was moving out, a new catering business was busy moving in. My beloved studio — a sacred healing space for so many people — was being turned into a kitchen.
I watched them tracking dirt and dust into my studio, and I wanted to yell at them and kick them out.
Instead, I walked out quietly, and turned my keys in to the landlord.
And then I cried.
The Fatal Blow
My studio died that day in May, but I see now that the fatal blow was struck 4 months earlier.
In January of this year, I launched my first online workshop for beginners.
It was an experiment, really. A beta test. I had taught online before, but never to fresh beginners.
Until this point, all of my students had learned from me in person before learning from me online.
The workshop was a resounding success, and no one was more surprised than me.
By success, I mean that the students got amazing results.That’s my metric. They got the kind of results I had grown to expect from my teaching.
That moment when I finally saw that I could teach beginners online — that’s when everything changed.
That’s when my studio received a mortal wound.
The World is Your Classroom
Not long after that workshop, one of my certified instructors hit me with a truth bomb:
“The world is now your classroom,” she said.
Her statement hit me like a punch to the gut. She didn’t mean it that way, of course. But sometimes, the truth hurts.
She was absolutely right. Suddenly, the world WAS my classroom.
And that meant one thing: I no longer had an excuse.
You see, for years people had been writing me saying that they were desperate to learn qigong, but they couldn’t find a good teacher.
“Do you teach online,” they asked.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t teach beginners online,” I would say. Because back then, I didn’t believe it was possible.
I always did my best to help them. I answered their questions, pointed them to the appropriate blog posts, and sometimes even helped them to find a local teacher.
But basically, I always said no to them.
After the workshop in January, I had to acknowledge that it was indeed possible to teach beginners online.
In other words, I could no longer keep saying no.
So I started saying yes.
When Yes is also a No
After that online workshop, I started saying yes to online teaching.
I experimented with new software, I gave several more online workshops, I got feedback from the participants, and I tweaked my teaching to work better online.
Basically, I started building a new studio, but instead of using brick and mortar, this one was online.
I honestly thought I could do both. I really did. I thought I could keep the studio open, and also teach the world online.
I was wrong.
Whenever you say yes to something, you are also saying no to something else.
By saying yes to online teaching, I was saying no to my studio.
A brick-and-mortar business needs a ton of attention. More than you think. Ten times more than you think.
Without my full attention, the studio was doomed.
Building a New Studio
“The cosmos is nudging you in a new direction,” someone said to me.
Maybe so, but it still hurt like hell.
Closing the studio was a dark time for me. It all happened so fast. It was a whirlwind.
I actually had to fight off a major depressive episode as I closed the studio.
(Interestingly, that experience spurred me to write my most popular blog post of all time: Why I Will No Longer Hide My Depression.)
But I recovered, thanks to this really cool art called qigong. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
Anyway, after I fought off my depressive episode, I immediately dove into work.
I’ve been working hard ever since then. Tirelessly. Like I did when I was a teenager in that orchestra.
Since I closed the studio, I’ve taught in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Arkansas — but all the while, I’ve been working on something else.
And that something is for you.
Some of you are already familiar with my new online learning site called Qi School. I’ve already offered a few small courses there.
But all this time, I’ve been working on something bigger.
Something that will start a whole new chapter for the art of qigong.
I’ve been working on a classroom that anyone in the world can join.
And it’s finally ready.
This is For You
I did this for you. For all of you.
All 10,357 of you who follow my blog and my Facebook page.
All 213,370 of you who visited my website so far this year.
All of you who have been quietly waiting to learn qigong from me.
All of you who are sincere and eager to learn, but can’t find a local teacher.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I closed my studio for you.
And now, I’m opening a new studio.
This one — this studio — is for you.
Introducing: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.