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Accessing Your Center Core Of Light | The Shift Network

center core of light medical qigong qigong global summit 2023 the shift network Mar 13, 2023

This interview is part of the Qigong Global Summit a free online event. For more information, please visit This recording is a copyright of The Shift Network. All rights reserved.


I had the honor of being a speaker during the 2023 Qigong Global Summit with The Shift Network and it was a joy to share a conversation with Sharon Smith about medical Qigong prescription exercises and medical Qigong treatments. 


My topic in this years summit was "Accessing Your Center Core of Light" 

  • Your center core of light (located within your Taiji Pole) supports your entire energetic system. Tuning into this powerful energetic space also supports your conception vessel (Ren Mai), governing vessel (Du Mai,) and thrusting vessel (Chong Mai,) while integrating and cultivating your three Dantian's and seven internal chakra systems. Posture, breath, and intention are key points for alignment and cultivation of your center core of light.


In this session, you’ll discover:

  • Where your center core of light is located.
  • How your center core of light supports your entire energetic system.
  • You can begin to tune into your center core of light with a 15 min seated experiential practice.


Seated practice...

The seated practice I guide views through can be done by anyone to begin to ground their energy and move into their center core of light. [18:00 - 32:33]

  • The guided practice I take you through is very soothing and gentle and can be done at any time to calm your mind and tune in more deeply into who you truly are. 
  • This is great to do as a daily meditative practice, but also anytime you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed, worried or fearful. Just make sure you're breathing deeply so your energy can flow!



Did this interview and practice bring up any questions or insights? If so I love hearing from you > HERE


Thank you for being here and for being exactly who you are!

Lot's of love,

Dr. Maria

Transcript:  Sharon Smith and Maria Furlano, DMQ (China), MTOM, L.Ac.

Sharon Smith 0:09
Welcome, everyone. We're so happy that you're joining us. Today we have our special guest, Maria Furlano, who began her training in martial arts at age 12. A Doctor of Medical Qigong, and a physician or Chinese Medicine, she's been a teacher of energetic arts for over 20 years. Maria is the founder of The Art Of Tuning In Studio, and the host of The Art Of Tuning In Podcast. Welcome, Maria, I'm so happy to meet you.

Maria Furlano 0:42
Thank you, I'm so glad to be here. And it's nice to meet you too.

Sharon Smith 0:47
Wonderful. So let's dig in here. You know, many people learn Qigong forms for prevention, and general health enhancement. But even so there are hundreds, some people would say 1000s of forms that have been developed for different purposes, to align with the seasons, for particular organs, certain conditions and so on. You are unique in our summit participants this year, because you are a Doctor of Medical Qigong. So could you enlighten us about Medical Qigong, what your training was like, as well as any important healing experiences you might have witnessed, or even experienced yourself?

Maria Furlano 1:36
Oh sure. Oh, that's a great question. Well, first of all, my training came from the International Institute of Medical Qigong, and it was under Dr. Bernard Shannon. And that training program is a four year long training program in different levels leading up to the doctor of Medical Qigong. And what was wonderful too about the opportunity that I had, is that I was also able to continue for three years pass that in assistant teach with Dr. Shannon, which was wonderful in training and wonderful and experience. So I always explain Medical Qigong like this Medical Qigong is similar say, you got an injury, and you went to a physical therapist, and that physical therapist gave you very specific exercises to treat that injury. Medical Qigong is just like that. It's very specific exercises to treat different illnesses, or injuries or emotional conditions of the body. So if someone comes to me say, with a heart issue, maybe they're dealing with a lot of high blood pressure, and a lot of anxiety, there are specific exercises that we do just for that. And Medical Qigong works, just like Acupuncture works in the sense that we clear the body, we disperse, we tonify the body and we regulate the energy. So every time we're working with someone, it's also the same way you would give somebody herbs, is you want to work by letting go what the body doesn't need anymore. allow the body to build the strength of what it needs, and then allow the energy to flow. So it's a process and Medical Qigong has the exercises that we prescribe, but it also has the table work of the Medical Qigong therapy treatments that we do. You had asked about things that maybe I had witness. So I want to tell a story first about the exercises, when I know that for my experience, there was a woman who I treated who had been going to a hospital for weeks, every night at about three o'clock in the morning, she was getting extreme anxiety, and she thought she was having a heart attack. They would check her, they said she was fine. But this was going on and on and on. She had issues, tons of stress in her life, of course, I mean, that makes a lot of sense. And so she finally came in, she was very resistant, she wasn't sure what it was all about. But she committed to doing the exercises and she committed to understanding how her mind and her body worked together. And within a month, she no longer went to the hospital, she no longer had this high blood pressure and anxiety. And she was completely, hooked now on how you can shift your energy in a really short period of time. In the in the table work that we do in the treatments of Medical Qigong, there have been beautiful sessions where someone, for example was going through chemotherapy, who had cancer and There are treatments and Medical Qigong where you're able to release some of those really difficult side effects of chemotherapy and how people turn around and they feel so much better so that they're able to continue on with their treatment. But Qigong is done to help balance them balance, the nausea, balance the anxiety. And, of course, my teacher had stories of working with cancer and working with all kinds of illnesses of the body as well. So, yeah, there's a lot of wonderful things that happen.

Sharon Smith 5:35
Thank you for that. So I'm curious, because I know that a lot of people think that Medical Qigong is also energy transmission from the practitioner or energetic movement, like using the hands various ways of the practitioner, activating the Qi flow in the person, not using needles not using herbs. Is that what you're talking about when you're mentioning the table work? And if not, can you be a little more specific about what that would be like?

Maria Furlano 6:13
Yes, absolutely. So a Medical Qigong treatment on a table takes about 40 minutes or more. And it is a complete, energetic treatment that works all of the organ systems, all of the meridian systems of the body. When you learn Medical Qigong, you first have to learn how to cultivate your own energy to hold the space for a treatment. After you learn how to hold and create that space for treatment, you also learn how to allow the energy to flow through you from the earth from Universal Qi. That universal Qi is what we learn to bring through us and into the client or the patient. But a Medical Qigong therapy session is a unique system. It begins with the lungs, and the heart and the liver and the spleen, all the way through the intestines to the kidneys, and then it's releasing through the meridians. So it's a very set treatment that then is expanded upon the more you learn. Does that make sense?

Sharon Smith 7:26
Yeah, and that's exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. And, you know, for me, I've studied Qigong and practice for over 40 years, and I did learn a system of healing Qigong called Cosmic Healing Qigong, where you take in the energy of the universe and let it flow through you. And actually, when you're working with healing someone else, you're really also healing yourself, which is kind of an amazing thing. Because most people think, that the practitioner is using their own energy. But actually, what we're doing is we're channeling the energy of the universe. So thank you for that more extensive explanation.

Maria Furlano 8:17
No, you're welcome. And there's one thing, if I just can add just one thing on that, something that was so valuable through the training of this for me is that as you learn is you know that to clear your own, issues and heal and do the things you need to do and be able to hold that presence, is you learn through working, when you're actually holding that space of light. And when something in the client or patient, it has triggered something in you, and now you are out of that space of light. And that is a huge part of the training, as well as understanding what's yours, what's there's the work that you need to do for your own healing. And it's all to build that space where you're able to hold that and hold it for a long period of time. But when you can, of course, it feels wonderful. And that's the energy that you're talking about that's just flowing through you as you're doing this work and you feel so great afterwards. So it's not draining, right. If it's draining, I think you will realize that, you know, there's a few things you need to work on. But yeah, I totally agree with you that it is very healing.

Sharon Smith 9:28
Wonderful. So, we've now really started to talk about the internal energetic opening, which is at the heart of Qigong and of healing. So can you talk a little bit about the energetic architecture that is supporting all of us?

Maria Furlano 9:49
Sure. So I love that word energetic architecture. So I call this energetic architecture, this central core of light. So I, because the central core of light that runs through us, is connected to the earth. And it's connected to universal energy. And as this energy begins to move through us, it supports every cell in our body, and it supports every energetic system in our body. Would you like me to share a little bit how that work? So we are thinking of something a little bit different there?

Sharon Smith 10:31
Well, you know, I know we're gonna get into this part of the session very soon. But, you know, I think a lot of people are kind of clueless about the meridian system. And, you know, the whole, the whole architecture, I mean, for sure, the central channel, we're gonna get involved with that shortly, but just the idea that there, there are energetic pathways in our bodies, the highways and energy and how that supports our life. If you can address that, I think it would be helpful to people.

Maria Furlano 11:11
Absolutely, thank you for that. We have these energetic pathways in our body, and the energetic pathways in our body, which are called meridians. They connect to every organ in the body. And every organ in the body also has emotional energy in the body. And we have other meridians, extra meridians that connect even more deeply in the body. So when we have these Dantian's, these three energy systems of the body, upper middle and lower, we have our beautiful internal seven chakras of the body. And all of that feeds into our Wei Qi fields or in Qigong, what we call protective energy fields. So everything happens from within the body and how these rivers or streams or meridians are flowing, determines how much energy we have. And so I tell people, one of the reasons in Qigong we work with posture, so much and breath so much is because when that's flowing freely when our posture is flowing freely, when we're breathing, you know, our breath acts like a pump, these rivers flow freely, but when we get a kink in these energetic systems, or where we're holding too much emotional energy, that is detrimental for us, it's okay to have emotional energy, we also need to release that emotional energy and refill ourselves. But when we're holding too much, or we're too stressed, or everything is just getting tight. Everything in the body, bad has any kind of issue has some sort of stagnation involved. And if we can release that stagnation, things, nobody will right themselves and they'll be flow. And for me, when I'm able to tune in to those energies, no matter what's going on and release, I will heal. If I fight against it. It's like fighting against a river. So sometimes when people get angry at themselves, because maybe they're not doing enough, or maybe they're not feeling well. That's the worst thing we can do. We need to relax and surrender and allow ourselves to flow because there is a real flow in the body that is happening in every part of us. Every cell, every tendon, and every ligament, all of our organs, all of our bones and our marrow everywhere. We're just wearing electrical being of bioelectricity. It's pretty amazing.

Sharon Smith 13:44
Yeah, thank you for that. And, I think when Qigong practitioners first actually have the tangible experience of Qi, it often is like a major awakening. So I appreciate your description of the sort of energetic infrastructure that we're all built on. Your session today is really about a particular part of that energetic architecture. And that is the center core of light. So if you can explain to us what that is, where it is, and what it does for us. And then we can go into a practice to activate that channel. I think our audience would just love that.

Maria Furlano 14:38
That sounds great. I'm so passionate about this. This is just my favorite thing. Because when you teach somebody how to access this, and they're able to experience that it changes their world. This center core of light is a space that runs between us inside of us. It's an energetic space and it runs from the very top of the head, all the way down the center of your body, to your perineum. Now, some people don't know where the perineum is, the perineum is this space and for men, it's between the anus and the scrotum. And for women, it's between the anus and the vagina. And this is a very powerful Acupuncture point as well. And this central core of light that runs through us like a column of light, is what we call the Taiji pole. And Taiji pole just means great pole. So if this great center of light, the reason why this is so powerful, and why it's so important to learn about this, is this is where we move from everything in life, our centers, every movement that we do in every every Qigong exercise, but it's also how we tune into our intuition so deeply. The center core of light (this Taiji pole) is a fed, energize cultivated through the earth's energy that moves up. And it's also cultivated through universal Qi or traditionally called heavenly Qi that comes through. I love my teacher always used to say it's like a barbershop pole. And the way the earth and the universal Qi run is his barbershop pole, that it's constantly moving inside of us. But what's very unique about the center core of light is that it also energizes the Du channel that runs up the spine of the body, and the Ren channel that runs down the front of the body, and also energizes the Thrusting vessel, which runs between the Du and the Ren channel. So now we're, we're all in the center of our body. But then it integrates, and it regulates the upper Dantian, and the middle Dantian and the lower Dantian. And these are centers of energy, that have very powerful energetic focus. And it also does the seven internal chakras. So this center core of light feeds absolutely everything. And what I've found, and when we go through, this very simple practice that I'm going to lead you through to introduce you, is that the only biggest thing people have to get over is allowing their intention to being able to go internally inside of them, we're used to looking outside of ourselves a lot in life. And it can be more challenging for people to actually become integrated inside. But when you do, again, this is where you access all of that intuitive wisdom and guidance that you have, besides the fact that you truly energize your health. So that's why I'm so passionate about it. When I was able to begin to access this, it just changed everything for me. It's wonderful.

Sharon Smith 18:01
Wonderful, thank you so much for that explanation. Do you think you could lead us in 10 to 15 minute seated practice so that we can tune into our central core of light?

Maria Furlano 18:15
Absolutely, absolutely. So one thing I'll say is just get comfortable. So let's say what you want to do. And just make this really simple for yourself. So you could do this standing, but I prefer to do it seated, just so that anybody no matter what kind of injury you have, or if standing is a little bit difficult for you, you're able to tune in because this is a beautiful meditative practice that will also help you calm your energy and energize your energy at the same time. So you want your feet to be on the floor and your feet facing forward. And you want your body. If you're sitting on a chair, you want to be at the edge of your chair so that you have a nice long spine. But if you need to put a pillow behind you or to feel free to do that. What we want again, because the center core is right to the center of us, we want our spine to be nice and long. Because again, when we put a little kink in our body, we put a little kink in the energy so nice and long as best you can. And you're going to slightly lower your chin just a little bit so you're not like tthis, you're just a little bit down. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, just behind your two front teeth wherever it's comfortable. And this helps to connect the Du and the Ren channel in the body so it's a good placement. Just lightly touching. Relax your jaw. mouth is closed but relax the jaw. Breathe in and out through your nose. As you breathe in and out through your nose, just allow yourself to be for a moment. You can even place your hands on your belly and see if you're breathing into your belly. If you're not breathing into your belly, just take your mind and focus on your belly. Focus on the breath.

Maria Furlano 20:22
And I like to share with people that if they're having a hard time getting the breath in the belly, breathe into your hips. Take your mind and focus all the way down and actually breathe into the hips, bring the energy of the breath into the hips and feel the hips expand. And as you're seated on this chair, breathe all the way down into the chair.

Maria Furlano 21:05
Every time you breathe, the perineum is a pump. And as you inhale, it expands. And as you exhale, it relaxes. And so the more you gain your breath into your belly and into your hips, the more you begin to energize this center, so the breath is really important. So we need to take a moment here, getting your breath in your belly, getting your breath in your hips, breathing in and out through your nose, and just calming your mind.

Maria Furlano 21:57
And now, as you're still breathing into your belly, take your focus your intention. You can close your eyes if you'd like or not, but just place it in front of you about three feet in front of your body and just be present with what's in front of you. To sense what's in front of you. Keep it fun. Keep it easy. Just notice what do you sense? Is it easy for you? Then relax. Then bring your energy back to yourself and move out to your right side, go out about three feet. And just sense what's on the right side of you? Is it easy for you to do that? Keep it fun.

Maria Furlano 23:12
And then bring your energy back into the center of yourself and move over to the left side of you, about three feet out. And just sense. Can you sense the left side? Keep it easy and fun. Keep breathing into your belly nice and deep.

Maria Furlano 23:45
Then carrying yourself back into your center and now you're going to take your attention into your back about three feet behind you. This backspace, can you sense this back space behind you about three feet? What do you sense, is it easy? Keep it easy and fun. Keep breathing

Maria Furlano 24:20
Now as you can bring back the energy from the backspace. Focus on bringing your energy directly into your center. You might think of your spine, from the center of your head, through the center of your throat, through the center of your chest, through the center of your belly, through the center of your pelvis. See how that feels? Can you Bring your attention within you in this center line? Just see what it feels like to be there for a moment.

Maria Furlano 25:13
If you can't do it all at once, start with the center of your head and move down through your throat. Stay in the center of your chest, move down to the center of your solar plexus. Move down the center of your belly. Move all the way down to your perineum. The deeper you breathe, the more energy you'll feel, the more alignment you'll feel. Do you see a color, and if you don't, it's totally fine. But allow yourself to be in this center part of yourself.

Maria Furlano 26:11
And as you feel more comfortable in this center space, I'd like you to imagine what it would feel like if Earth energy just naturally, beautifully guided itself up through this center of your body and filled this beautiful center core of light with earth energy all the way up to the top of your head. Just allowing it to flow in not trying just allowing it. What would it feel like?

Maria Furlano 26:53
And then at the same time, what would it feel like to open the top of your head and allow beautiful universal energy to flow in through the center of your body all the way down. Mixing and kneading with the earth energy harmonizing all the way through.

Maria Furlano 27:24
Breathing very deeply. And see if you can just allow yourself to be right now, breathing very deeply. Knowing that you have beautiful access to the earth, knowing you have beautiful access to the universe. And just experience what that might feel like as you try this new technique of just allowing yourself to be in your center and this energy is flowing effortlessly through you. You don't have to do anything. Just be open enough that it's moving through and keep breathing. Every time you breathe. Your center of light is brighter. And every time you exhale, you relax even more and allow even more. This is an exercise about allowing, not pushing or trying.

Maria Furlano 28:41
Check in with your jaw. Make sure your jaw is relaxed. Make sure you're not holding any tension in your shoulder. Your spine is nice and tall. Take a moment to acknowledge the earth and to acknowledge the universal energy and to acknowledge this center core of light that runs through you. And maybe thank it for all the energy that it gives you.

Maria Furlano 29:22
Take some more deep deep breaths inhaling through the nose exhaling through the nose. Breathing all the way down into your hips.

Maria Furlano 29:51
Then with your mind, you're going to begin to ground your energy again. So with your mind, see a gentle waterfall and allow this waterfall to gently bring your energy down through your head, through your upper body, through your middle body, all the way through to your belly. And allow your energy to root now in your belly, place your hands on your belly and take a deep breath in.

Maria Furlano 30:38
Relax your shoulders, hands on the belly, deep breath in. And if your eyes are closed, very, very slowly open them. In fact, if you tilt your head down just a little bit, so that you're gazing at the floor. And then you slowly open your eyes to a soft gaze and allow your head and your eyes to slowly come up. And then just to finish to see how this is shifted for you take your attention out about three feet in front of you. Is that easier? Bring your attention back, take your attention out about three feet to your right. What do you sense? Do you have more awareness? Take your attention in through to your left side. What do you sense? Take your attention back in. And this time, your backspace about three feet behind you. Is that a little bit easier to sense that you can see behind you? You can sense energy or feel energy or no energy or hear energy behind you. And then with that, come back into yourself into your center. And this alignment that you feel in your center now, see if you can carry that through your day. See if when you get up and you move around. It doesn't just stay here when it moves with you. Because we move from our center we see from our center. Good. Very good. Thank you.

Sharon Smith 32:33
That was so beautiful. I wanted more. Because

Maria Furlano 32:40
I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It's really nice.

Sharon Smith 32:45
Yeah, you know, I really appreciated the Yin receptivity of the approach to allowing and receiving. I mean, so much of what people do when they do these kinds of meditations, is they want to make it happen. And I really felt like you were a master at putting us into a state of receptivity. And I really appreciated that. So thank you for that.

Maria Furlano 33:21
Well, I really appreciate you saying that. And you know, I have to be totally honest, I have a student a while ago who asked a great question and it made me be really aware of how we place ourselves because what she was wanting to do was to pull up the earth energy and pull in the universal energy and move it through us. And she was really struggling with it. And she asked, you know I'm trying to pull it up and I can't. And it was such a wonderful reminder of No, this is effortless energy that is given to us, the earth nurtures us and the universal Qi nurtures us, but we through stress or again, injury or just not being aware of it, we always have this center core of light or Taiji pole is there. But we can close it off. We can make it smaller. And so the more we practice it, it really does become like like a hose like a pole like a grade pole. And then that's how you move through your life. That's how you're fed, you're energized. You're absolutely right. It's a very Yin, allowing, which can be very challenging for people.

Sharon Smith 34:37
Yes, particularly in our kind of overly Yang world. But yeah, I loved it. It was great. I really appreciated the practice and also the transmission that happened. So Maria, can you share with her our audience, what you're doing these days and how they might get in touch with you?

Maria Furlano 35:07
Yes, thank you for asking, well, the best way to get in touch with me and to learn about my programs and my private sessions are to visit And I have an online membership. I'm getting ready to do a new group mentoring practice, that's for several months where I really take people into getting into their Center Core of Light and really work with their intuition. And so that's going to be a smaller group that's very focused. And also I do private sessions and I work online, so I work with people all over the world doing coaching. I call it Vibrational Coaching, and distance Medical Qigong healing sessions, as well as teaching Qigong exercises, and I love it. It's wonderful. I have so many great people. They're amazing.

Sharon Smith 36:04
I'm sorry, where are you located exactly?

Maria Furlano 36:08
Well, I just moved literally last week to Ojai, California. So that's where I am right now. And I plan on staying here, so this is my new home.

Sharon Smith 36:18
Wonderful. So thank you so much, Maria, for joining us today and for sharing your insights and your wisdom and this beautiful practice. And for all of you out there listening. We appreciate your being here. And I'll see you soon.

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