9 Reasons Qigong Can Totally Be Learned Online

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Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

“You can’t learn qigong online,” he said.

I was chatting with a colleague via Skype. He was expressing his concerns about my new project, a comprehensive online qigong course for beginners. 

(Click here to learn more about that project before registration closes.)

His concerns are actually common in the qigong world. Many teachers share this idea that qigong can’t be learned online.

“I used to think the same thing,” I told him. “But you know me. I need to test everything. And when I tested my theory, it quickly became obvious that I was wrong.”

If you still think that qigong can’t be learned online, then you’re wrong. It can. 

The truth is that online learning works amazingly well for the art of qigong.

Here are 9 reasons why:

1. Harry Potter Pictures

Hogwarts Express

I love books. I’ve got hundreds on my shelf, and many of them are about qigong.

Some of you probably started learning qigong from a book. I did too.

But the truth is that books don’t cut it for an art like qigong.

With books, you can’t teach the smoothness of a qigong pattern, or the correct sound for an exhalation, or the proper speed of a technique.

I have one book that used an innovative technique. There were little pictures of a technique in the bottom corner. By flipping the pages quickly with your thumb, you could see the technique in motion.

Very cool…for 1995.

But it’s not 1995, and there are better options today.

Online learning is like one of those pictures in the Harry Potter series where the characters move and talk.

Actually, it’s better than that. Keep reading, and I’ll explain why.

2. DVDs Suck

What about DVDs, you ask? Aren’t those better than a book?

Yes. In some ways, DVDs are better than a book.

But they still suck. I could write an entire blog post on why DVDs suck, but here are the top 5 reasons:

  1. DVDs are uni-directional. You watch, and that’s it. You can’t ask questions or get feedback.
  2. You can’t use other types of media, like guided audios, charts, or documents.
  3. There’s no sense of community, of connecting with other likeminded students.
  4. You can’t stream a DVD to different devices.
  5. Navigating a DVD is a pain in the neck.
  6. You don’t get instant access to a DVD. I don’t know about you, but in the age of Netflix, I don’t want to wait 2-3 days for my DVD to arrive. I want it NOW!

Every week, I get emails asking if I have any DVDs.

Then answer is no. I have no DVDs, and no plans to make any.

Why would I make DVDs when online learning is a much better teaching tool?

You can do so many cool things with online learning! (Click here to see all the cool things that are included in my new online qigong program.)

3. Stop, Rewind, Review


If you come to my retreat in Costa Rica, you’ll learn a ton of material in a week.

Let’s be honest. It’s hard to remember everything. Especially when you’re constantly being distracted by beautiful scenery and delicious food.

Online learning is a wonderful compliment to in-person learning because it allows us to review techniques at our own pace.

I know what you’re thinking. “You can do that with DVDs too!”

But DVDs are inferior.

With online learning, you always have the lessons handy — whether it’s your phone, your tablet, or your laptop. You can even log in using someone else’s device.

My students often take their online lessons outside with them on the porch, or with them while traveling.

Plus, online learning allows me to record the actual retreat itself, and then send the materials to the participants.

Can’t do that with a DVD!

4. Shopping for Teachers

With my 2 grandmothers in 1994 when I graduated from Columbia

With my 2 grandmothers in 1994 when I graduated from Columbia

When I was in college, we had something we called Shopping Week.

During the first week of the semester, you could sit in on any class, whether you were registered or not.

Needless to say, the good teachers had packed classes, and the bad teachers had empty ones.

Personally, I love this kind of meritocracy.

The internet gives you the ability to shop for good teachers, no matter where you live. 

And you know what? People want good teaching.

They’re tired of having to settle for a mediocre local teacher, or having to fly thousands of miles to learn from a good one.

Here’s an email I received from a gentleman who recently signed up for my online course:

Hi Sifu,

I looked at the videos on the first part of the course this morning and all I can say is that it is all even more than I expected but also it is exactly all that you said it would be.

I have probably seen at least 50 different qigong teachers, mostly on dvd, some on Skype and a few in person. From those that I have seen teach, I would say you would be the best for anyone who is a beginner.

You know how to break it all down into steps, whereas most teachers just demonstrate their form with not enough or in most cases, no break down at all. The student is just supposed to get it all by watching.

I found that to be most frustrating and stressful to the point where I usually would just give up on that form since it was too hard to learn. It was not the form, it was the lack of correct teaching.

– Steve M.

Of course, I’m not the only good teacher out there. But I think many of the best teachers aren’t particularly well known — yet.

I believe that online learning will gradually allow the cream to rise to the top, letting good teachers shine.

5. Qigong is Forgiving

Perfect form? Nope. Great results? Yep!

Perfect form? Nope. Great results? Yep!

Qigong is a forgiving art to learn. Your physical form doesn’t need to be perfect.

In fact, I encourage my students to butcher the form because it’s the least important thing we do.

Olympic weightlifting, on the other hand, isn’t forgiving. If your form is wrong, you can really hurt yourself.

As long as you have good instruction, it’s hard to hurt yourself with qigong. This makes it ideal for online learning.

6. Qigong Isn’t a Martial Art

An old image of me doing kung fu drills with a friend

An old image of me doing kung fu drills with a friend

Whenever people say, “You can’t learn qigong online,” I vehemently disagree.

But when people say, “You can’t learn kung fu online,” I have to change my tune a bit.

Whether it’s Shaolin Kung Fu or Tai Chi Chuan, here’s what you CAN learn online:

  • You can learn the fundamentals.
  • You can learn the forms and routines.
  • You can learn internal power training methods.
  • You can learn strength and flexibility exercises.
  • You can review techniques that you’ve learned in person.

Here’s what you CANNOT do online with kung fu:

  • Partner work.

If you’re learning a martial art, then you need to do partner work. You need to drill your punching, kicking, throwing, and grappling techniques with another person.

No exceptions. Otherwise, it’s not a martial art.

Luckily, qigong ISN’T a martial art, so it does not require any partner work whatsoever.

7. Group Learning Isn’t For Everyone

By necessity, most qigong is taught in groups. It’s just more cost effective for everyone involved.

But group learning can be problematic for many people.

For example, people with anxiety disorders, people who are known as HSPs (Highly Sensitive People), people who are highly introverted — all of these people will struggle in a live, group setting.

Online learning solves all of these problems. You can learn from the safety of your own home, without the group dynamic.

In other words, for many people, learning online is their ONLY option.

8. A Teacher’s Dream

In the old days, you went to your master’s house every day to learn. Or you lived in a temple, and learned there.

This method didn’t involve actual lessons the way we think of them today.

The masters would just give you small pieces of instruction, and then watch you practice.

When you were ready for something new, the master would give you another small piece of instruction. This allowed you to learn at the perfect pace.

When I ran a brick-and-mortar qigong studio, it was hard to set the perfect pace. I had 18 group classes per week, of all different levels.

From a teaching perspective, it was absolute chaos.

It was impossible to control the curriculum because students jumped from class to class.

Online teaching allows me to have complete control over the curriculum.

Honestly, it’s a teacher’s dream. I can choose the EXACT order for students to learn the material in. And I can even see if they’ve completed the lessons!

Teachers of all subjects are falling in love with online learning, and this is one big reason why.

9. It Works

The proof is in the taste of the pudding.

With qigong, the “taste” is measured in results. If students are getting remarkable results from learning online, then that’s all the proof you need.

And my students are getting results online. Period. (If you’re one of them, then please back me up by adding your voice in the comments below.)

Many qigong teachers insist that the art can’t be taught online — and yet they’ve never even tried it.

They reject the idea on principle, despite their lack of evidence.

If they tested it, they would see that they’re wrong. That’s what I did.

I thought you couldn’t learn qigong online. Then I tested it. I was wrong.

You absolutely can. 

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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26 Responses to 9 Reasons Qigong Can Totally Be Learned Online

  1. Chris Roman December 6, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    Timely article. While I was waiting for you to announce your online class after I discovered your Facebook group and website last August, I signed up for a weekend Qi Gong workshop locally, which was last weekend. When the teacher asked about everyone’s experience w/Qi Gong, I explained that I’d been doing some online learning through you and had been having good results, but was eager to learn more and expand my practice. It was like she didn’t even hear the part about good results, she rolled her eyes, emphatically stated to the group that you can’t learn online, and everyone should be cautious in case they got sucked in like I was! Seriously?

    I enjoyed the class (which was Emei), but couldn’t help reflecting that I could get the very same sense of tranquility and well-being in five minutes of Lifting the Sky that I achieved with the 45 minute Wuji form I learned there (which she said could not be broken into smaller segments.) I did like the form, but I know I’d never stick w/45 minutes a day. On the contrary, as I said earlier, I have not missed a day of practice since I started more than 100 days ago with you. So excited for your Jan 10 class!

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 6, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

      Ugh. That really gets my goat!

      The sad truth is that a lot of qigong teachers ignore the whole “results” thing. They just look right past it!

      I’ve learned that Wuji form you’re talking about. Guess what? You can totally break it up into shorter sections and get results — especially if it means you’ll practice it more often!

      Looking forward to “sucking you in” to my program on January 10th, Chris!

      • Chris Roman December 7, 2016 at 11:04 am #

        Huh. I can do the Wuji form in parts huh? I’m intrigued. It was interesting also because there was a lot of talk about “secrets” (I love that you are blowing up the secrets) and lineage. To me, it all sounded a bit like ancient Chinese marketing for particular masters, but what do I know…I’m just a newbie!

        • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 7, 2016 at 11:13 am #

          Well, don’t tell your other teacher, but yes, you can do it in parts. I promise you will not explode!

          The secrets are real. But I’ll tell you this: most of the secrets have very little to do with the physical form.

          Aside from a relaxed jaw and a decompressed, rising spine, most of the secrets have to do with energy management, breathing, or subtle skills.

  2. Rachel December 6, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

    I’m so happy to comment on this! It’s simply outside the imagination of some people (we’ve all been there with one thing and another so I’m not judging) but I’ve learned way way way way way way way way way way WAY more from you online, thousands of miles away, than I have ever learned from a handful of different local classes I’ve attended. I’ve enjoyed it more too. And it’s infinitely more convenient, especially with chronic health problems to manage. I can totally understand that it’s a teacher’s dream, I love the positive and patient energy in the videos, it’s fresh every time, no matter how many times I make you repeat something! 😉 Can you believe that the first class I ever went to, which was full of more or less intermediate students, the teacher actually said to the group: “I hate teaching beginners!”?! Right in front of me!!! In these videos it’s clear you’re loving teaching us, beginners or not. And finally, what’s more, it gets better and better! 😀

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 6, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      Thanks so much, Rachel. And I’m so glad to hear it!

      I can’t understand someone who hates teaching beginners. I taught the same beginner’s workshop every month for 8 years in a row. It was one of my favorite things to do!

  3. Angie December 6, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    I think another option will be Virtual Reality Qi Gong. Enjoying the sense of sharing the Chi Field with other practitioners, from the peacefulness of your own home.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

      Hi Angie. Not sure if you’re joking or not, but I think that this isn’t far fetched. In 10 years, I think we’ll all be using virtual reality.

      • Angie December 6, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

        I’m serious with a big smile. I tried VR and QiGong was the first thing that came to mind as I watched a whale swim by me in the deep ocean VR. In the meantime, I am thrilled to learn from you online.

        • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 6, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

          Wow. That sounds amazing!

          Now imagine us all doing qigong together from our homes, but with the view from our retreat center in Costa Rica. Now that would be something!

  4. Tom Judge December 6, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    At age 83 I enjoy workouts on (1) my timetable and (2) my pace and (3) in a quite place of my choosing. After 18 months of growing stronger, healthier and younger with Sifu Anthony’s teaching I am pledged to a minimum of 20 years of growing. How else but online can this be accomplished?
    Tom J

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 6, 2016 at 6:01 pm #

      You’re a prime, example, Tom! One class live, and then you took the ball online and ran for some serious yardage!

  5. faceless December 6, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

    wow Tom is 83 and getting help from Qigong! i pray you live way way long, Sir! i have read of Qi masters living for more than 200 years. I believe it is possible. really!

  6. Vera December 6, 2016 at 11:05 pm #

    Yes, yes….it is a common thing to deny the usefulness of on line learning. But in my opinion it is only because the local teacher would lose the students and, if they do not have many, they’ll be left with none. It is the competition! But one cannot deny the social interaction in a class of students ,it is much stronger and liaisons are quickly created among the neighbours .
    All this said, I have learned a lot on line since I got my iPad! 🙂 I am happy with your lessons!

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 7, 2016 at 7:06 am #

      You know me, Vera. I don’t subscribe to the “competition” viewpoint. I think it is shortsighted.

      On the other hand, I totally understand the financial struggles that qigong teachers face. In fact, I understand it better than most because I’ve been all in for 10 years. This is my full time job! I don’t have a day job to fall back on.

      Nevertheless, trying to compete with other qigong teachers is a mistake. There’s room for everyone if we all do our job of educating the public and bringing in new students.

      As for local classes — you’re absolutely right. The community aspect is beneficial. That’s why I have a longterm plan to certify Practice Leaders who can facilitate local classes for people learning from me online.

  7. Russell Kennedy December 7, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    Hello Sifu Anthony!
    I am a medical doctor, neuroscientist and yoga and meditation teacher and I’ve been doing a 15 minute program of yours for almost 4 months. I do it before my yoga practice and find I get more benifit from the yoga alone. After your 15 minute practice I start off my yoga in a calm but attentive state and it has added a level of focus and flow to my yoga. If I am short on time I just do your practice, which I find curious. It’s almost like my body knows which practice “works” better for me. That said, I find the best results when I can mix qigong and my yoga practice together, so all you yogis out there, who perhaps feel your yoga practice is getting a bit routine or has less “life” in it please consider Anthony’s course as the qigong has really energized my yoga.
    Also, I’ve done quite a bit of online learning in yoga and find the teachers hit and miss. Some seem to translate well across the computer screen, while others have not. What has really stood out in your online teaching is your ability to be natural,real and engaging IE fulfilling my needs as a student who’s sharing a connection with you while at the same time being firm and coherent in your leadership.
    You are an excellent teacher Sifu Anthony.
    Thank you!

    Russ Kennedy, MD

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 7, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

      Hey Dr. Kennedy! Good to hear from you. And thank you so much for the kind words! I’m so glad to hear that you’re enjoying your practice!

  8. Russ Kennedy December 7, 2016 at 12:09 pm #

    I’m typing on my small iphone screen “benifit” above in my post should be spelled “benefit”

  9. Jeff December 7, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

    Actually, “traditional” training can be much worse. In a “traditional” kung fu class I took when I was younger, the teacher would teach by showing us a segment of a form without saying a word. We would be expected to watch what he did and then imitate it while he walked around the class and watched us practice. He would correct your form, again, silently, by moving your arm or whatever into the correct position. If you did the form to his satisfaction, he would teach you the next part. If not, you kept practicing until you got it right. If you asked more than one or two questions, he became visibly irritated.

    My teacher wasn’t mean, he was just teaching the way he had been taught. But it took forever to learn anything that way. Those people who only want to learn Chinese arts the “traditional” way should be careful what they ask for, lest they get it.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 8, 2016 at 6:36 am #

      Hi Jeff. Yep. Traditional training can be slow, boring, or even brutal. You’re right that people should be careful what they ask for!

  10. Dion Short December 10, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    I agree. You can learn qi gong online. I’ve learned it from you.
    At first, I tried to learn it from a book. That didn’t really work out. When I took my first online class with you, it all changed. Qigong became real. i could, for the first time, feel the energy bubbling up from within. It was at that point that I came to realize what Chi (Energy) is. Yes, qigong can be learned online. I am living proof of it!

  11. Bill Grocott January 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    I wish I would have seen this post much sooner as I see that registration is closed for now. I have been studying qigong for several years now and I totally love it but the training I was involved in was based 2300 miles from my home and I had to make 2 trips onsite to obtain my 200 hour certification and once I stopped paying I lost all connection. To continue my training would require several more trips and several thousand dollars more in fees. I completely understand that there are costs involved in training and making the information available as well as compensating the teacher but when it becomes a financial burden then the student can no longer benefit. Your online teaching looks to be very affordable so I will continue to look into it further and watch for the next open registration.

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