Short Bio: Michael Winn founded Healing Tao University, the largest program for the Tao Arts in the West. He is ex-Pres. National Qigong Association, Healing Tao Inner Alchemy Senior Instructor, International teacher with nearly 30 years experience. Co-author with Mantak Chia of Taoist Secrets of Love, wrote/edited six other qigong books with Mantak Chia. Qigong therapist in Asheville, NC.
See www.HealingDao.com/pages/asheville for his teaching schedule.
See www.HealingTaoUSA.com for his progressive Taoist Energy Body Training using ten DVD & Audio home study coures.
Who is Michael Winn? The long version.
Here are selected excerpts edited from a condensed bio on Winn that appeared in the Empty Vessel:
Michael Winn has been a key figure in promoting qigong and Taoist meditation in the west since 1980, after years of training in Kundalini yoga. He was a two term President of the National Qigong (Chi Kung) Association ? USA, an umbrella non-profit organization serving all qigong teachers, healers, and students. He was also the Chairman of the Healing Tao Instructor's Association of North America for nine years, a network of about 150 qigong teachers affiliated with the Healing Tao system founded by Mantak Chia.
In 1980 Winn was one of Mantak Chia's first western students in Chinatown, New York. He played a key role in founding The Healing Tao in 1982 and directly wrote or heavily edited many of Mantak Chia's books on nei gong and qigong as General Editor of Healing Tao Books. His titles included Awaken Healing Energy Through the Tao, the first book in English on the microcosmic orbit; Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy; Healing Love: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy; Iron Shirt Chi Kung; Bone Marrow Nei Kung; Fusion of the Five Elements: Meditations for Transforming Negative Emotion; and Awaken Healing Light of the Tao., an advanced study of the microcosmic orbit. Winn edited a newsletter for Healing Tao instructors entitled From the Mouth of the Immortal Child.
The noted qigong master T.K. Shih lived in Winn's New York city apartment for two years in the early 80's: "I taught him English, and T.K. taught me how to move like a cat" is how Winn described their relationship. Winn studied with many other Taoist teachers, and edited B.K. Frantzis' Opening the Energy Gates of the Body. He studied qigong and ba gua with Frantzis, and the northern wu style tai chi as taught by David Dolbear. "I waited ten years before choosing a long form. David got a tranmission in Beijing that teaches tai chi as a form of alchemy, emphasizing the changes between jing, qi, and shen."
Winn sees his life "as an alchemical journey flowing between outer adventures and inner adventures, a process of cultivating my "worldly life" and my "inner essence"." He travelled to 30 countries before the age of 17 and ran 35 whitewater rafting expeditions as a guide down the Grand Canyon by the time he graduated from Dartmouth College in l973 as a Senior Fellow with a degree in Russian/comparative literature. After a successful three year career in New York publishing he got fired "for being too creative".
He became a free lance war correspondent and adventure travel photographer that took him on 30 trips to another 50 countries in Africa, the mideast , and Asia from 1977 to 1985. Included was a four month journey across China tracing Marco Polo's footsteps. In this period Winn, who is not Jewish, also ran an “underground railroad” smuggling white American Jews into Ethiopia and black Jews out of Ethiopia into Israel. In 1981 in New York's Soho district, Winn opened Abyssinia, the first Ethiopian restaurant in America, and operated it successfully for 20 years, closing it on midnight of the new millenium in 2001.
While in Africa Winn accidentally self-induced his first kundalini awakening, which led him to begin studying and teaching kundalini (hindu tantric) yoga in the late 1970's. This eventually led him to Taoist alchemy. "In college I studied comparative literature", Winn says, "and in real life I found myself training in and comparing the esoteric alchemical methods from different teachers. For example, my kriya yoga teacher, Swami Hariharananda, could shift into at will the breathless state of nirvikalpa samadhi. He died recently at age 97. Winn edited his The Bhagavad Gita in the Light of Kriya Yoga. Winn notes that kriya yoga, the essence of all yogas, has many cultures." He studied kriya yoga with Swami Hariharananda, who was the successor in India to Paramhamsa Yogananda. He kept a close friendship with this yogi because of the close parallels to taoist alchemy. But he finally left that path after deciding, "it's finally a pure fire path. The Taoist preference is to mix the fire and water, which is more accepting of the body. I vote to accept the body."
Winn also studied Dzogchen and tantric Buddhist teachings from the Dalai Lama and other rinpoches in the 1980's. "Tantra is philosophically very similar to yin-yang theory, but in practice uses more mantra, mudra, and deity worship. Dzogchen is the closest brother to the Tao with its emphasis on cutting through quickly to the clear or original light. But I like the refining process in Taoist alchemy, the many practical connections they developed with Original Chi. Taoist alchemy is a shortcut, it focuses on direct relationship with the life force."
Winn later studied the Celtic approach to earth based spirituality with R.J. Stewart. "All the mystery schools are great", Winn commented. "The ancient Celts used a mirror approach to Taoist alchemy, they first connect to the outer five elements/directions and then work their way inside the body. This is the opposite of the Eastern way. I love all the ancient meditation systems, but finally you've got to focus your practice on one approach. Ultimately, I find Taoist alchemy to be the simplest, the most practical and the most complete."
Winn, who now lives in Asheville, NC., maintains a private practice in chi kung/qigong therapy and taoist sexology. Winn is currently finishing a book on the energy science of how people can shape the life force to manifest what they truly need. The book is inspired by contact with a spiritual being who claims to have ascended with his body - at the age of 2,300 years old - into the "Stellar Mind", i.e. a full heaven immortal.
Every summer Winn organizes what has become the largest qigong and neigong program in America, at Dao Mountain, in New York’s Catskills. It offers about 30 low cost, week long retreats on all aspects of taoist meditation (with five full weeks of internal alchemy), qigong, taoist dream practice, feng shui & compass, taoist astrology, qi healing, tai chi, tao yin, ba gua, and more. He teaches a number of courses in the core Taoist internal alchemy curriculum, some with his partner of 20 years Joyce Gayheart.