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The Beauty of Tree Gong


An interview by LINDA KIESLER published in the National QiGong Association Quarterly Newsletter.


Tree Gong Practitioner, Madeline Marchell, has a profound and soulful connection with trees.


Her connection with trees started as a young girl, when she would sit under a large tree in the yard of her childhood home. After sitting under that tree frequently, she started noticing that within the stillness of that tree she could feel its life energy and began to gain strength from it. This energy encouraged her, in her youth, to start looking at the energy trees offer, and how that energy differs between species. Leaning against the trunk of the tree invited immersion, connection, and a sense of oneness.


When she became a Qigong teacher in her adult life, she felt a disconnect while practicing Qigong in nature. Although many Qigong practices mimic nature and animals, she wanted that sense of immersion and oneness felt at an early age. Incorporating her movements and mind sensing with the tree bridged their energy fields. Immersion, connection and relationship developed.


As she once again turned her attention to nature and trees, she wisely observed that trees are very much like humans:


“We are all nature. Like us, they also have an upper, middle and lower Dan Tien. They have treetops, we have heads; they have branches and leaves, we have arms and fingers; they have trunks, we have bodies; they have roots, we have feet.”


Trees don’t always make friends easily. It may take a few times of going into a park or forest. This allows the tree time to identify human vibration. The tree will begin to recognize and form a relationship once it is familiar with your energy.


Working with the trees taught her patience and stillness. The trees work in “Deep Time”

(Madeline beautifully defines Deep Time as a metaphor for the wisdom the ancient, natural world brings to us: trees, rocks, minerals, mountains - things that have existed here long before us). She explains that older trees can have deep scars like we do, so it may take time to warm up to a relationship.


As she put these thoughts in perspective and aligned herself with her life’s work as a Shaman, Naturalist, and Qigong teacher, she became motivated to teach Tree Gong to the public.

Trees in nature
Mind sensing with Trees

As her practice continued to grow, she found a challenge in the journey of educating others. Although the Tree Gong movements were easy to do, some felt self-conscious in public places.


“I asked them to become familiar with the Tree Gong movements and then make the practice their own. Another option for physical movement is to sit and envision doing movements with a tree. She calls that method “mind sensing”.


Madeline says some of the benefits of Tree Gong are as simple as taking advantage of the sunlight and earth that trees live in. For example, walk on a concrete sidewalk and really tune in to how that makes you feel. Then, walk on grass or a dirt path, and tune in to that feeling. She says leather soles are the best conduits to take in earth energy, rubber soles won’t do it. Another amazing insight Madeline shared during this interview is that trees give out negative ions. We need negative ions to balance the positive ions that come from electronics, air pollution, and other not-so-good things for us that our bodies and minds are daily bombarded with. This is why we feel so good around forests and oceans! They bring us back into balance.


Some of us live in states where there is rampant tree loss; they are lost through natural disasters or cut to avoid potential problems. If this happens where you live, you know sadly all that remains is a stump. I asked Madeline about the impact on humans and the environment when trees are lost during wildfires, damaged in storms, or cut before potential disaster. Madeline gave a beautiful, heart-filled answer:


“Trees burned in a wildfire are part of the natural cycle. The carbon inside travels down from the roots and provides nourishment for surrounding growth underground. Tree energy remains. Honor it - give it a gift!”


If you would like to learn more from Madeline, last March she gave a Qi Talk on “Tree Gong: The Health Benefits of Breathing With the Trees.” This talk is in the NQA Archives under the 2023 Qi Talks.

Madeline Marchell is a Shaman, Naturalist, Tree Gong Practitioner, Yoga, and Medical Qigong Therapist. She offers many healing modalities for well-being and is available for virtual and live training. Her location is on a mountaintop in Fort Collins, Colorado. Explore her offerings and subscribe to receive her nature blog posts at: https://www.rockymountainshaman.com/


QiGong on the Sylvan Dale Ranch

Forest Qi Gong: Enjoy a peaceful walk while experiencing the pleasure of nature through all the senses.

Gong Voyage: Still feeling the peacefulness of the walk, enjoy a relaxing and healing immersion in sound. Bring a blanket and possibly a pillow to enhance your comfort as you experience the surprising and powerful vibrations of the gong.  Instructors: Madeline Marchell and Kathy Dickson

Sunday, July 28, 2024 10:00 AM  12:00 PM -   Click here to register

Saturday, August 24, 2024 10:00 AM  12:00 PM - Click here to register

Saturday, September 7, 2024 10:00 AM  12:00 PM - Click here to register

Saturday, October 19, 2024 10:00 AM  12:00 PM - Click here to register

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