Thomas Silvani
Qigong and Sitting Meditation Practice
The Way of the Heart
“Qigong on the Go”

My Life of Practice

When I was 19, I picked up a book entitled Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen, an American Zen Buddhism teacher. I became obsessed with the text, reading it on loop and considering its passages constantly. The essence of the book was both simple and profound, that there is something beyond the mind’s chatter and this something is worth paying attention to by taking up a wakeful posture to the present moment. A few years later, I finally took up the practice recommendations in the book: sit in meditation every day, work with a teacher, and sit with others. I took up meditation studies with Barbara Dahlman (aka “Bobbi”) at Cold Mountain Dojo in Toronto, Ontario, and practiced with the group there. A couple of years later I began qigong studies with David Mott at the same dojo. David studied qigong with Ken Cohen, who authored the western qigong classic, The Way of Qigong. David was also a master of karate and music (I studied music composition with David at York University while completing my Masters degree there). I remained a student of Cold Mountain Dojo for about 8 years until it closed in 2016, continuing studies with Bobbi and David for a few more years as they entered semi-retirement outside of the city. During my time at the Dojo, I found myself there as much as five times per week for sessions and classes of various kinds, eventually moving to an apartment right down the street. I worked stone masonry during this time with a fellow dojo student, and we applied the various mindfulness and movement practices to our work. David eventually granted me blessing to teach qigong which I began to do after the Dojo closed. As the Dojo closed, I also took up practice and studies with a Way of the Heart community which featured the practices of sitting meditation (in the lineage of Kapleau Roshi from Rochester Zen Centre), Heart Transmission (from the guru yoga tradition of Adi Da), the communication techniques from Non-Violent Communication, and 5-day silent sitting retreats (conducted seven times per year). My relationship with this “Heart” community lasted about 5 years and provided me an opportunity to observe and partake of another spiritual community, including the invaluable experience of learning what taking a meditation retreat is all about, from the simple healing benefits of stepping away from busy daily life to the profound insights which come from prolonged spiritual practice over a period of days to the joyous and enlivening simple physical work of chop wood and carry water taken up in the great outdoors.

I have trained extensively in sitting meditation and qigong in dedicated communities for over 15 years, and was granted blessing to teach from qigong master David Mott. I draw from Zen Buddhism, Taoism, the bhakti and devotional traditions, and Chögyam Trungpa’s Shambhala work. I present Qigong on the Go, a concept my teacher worked with where the qigong practitioner infuses his daily life with brief moments of practice. I also teach the following qigong sets: Opening the Breath, Eight Pieces of Brocade, and the Seven Animals (Crane, Deer, Monkey, Tiger, Bear, Dragonfly, and Snake). I hold an M.A. in Music Composition where my emphasis was towards achieving a state of playful flow in practicing and performing. I have studied and practiced spiritual disciplines alongside musicians and stone masons, and I believe energy work is intimately tied to the work we do in the world and the fashion in which we do it. I believe this work resonates from inside out, making the “kitchen sink” level of practice most profound and potent, and any work taken up with earnest willingness towards the Good, will benefit the practitioner and his environment immensely, both in the moment’s enjoyment of the flow of the work, and beyond into the brilliance of what is cultivated into the environment.

Write to me at for private meditation consultations and group classes.