Qi Gong For The Corporate World: John Millar’s Story

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At first glance, Qi Gong and the corporate world look like they are from two separate realms. One is concerned with health, longevity, spirituality and freedom; the other with growth, competition and profit. However, they may go together like Yin and Yang.

Expected to fully launch his business in January 2021, John Millar has had a long journey towards becoming a Qi Gong trainer for the corporate world. His commitment to high-quality, accessible Qi Gong education has supported the establishment of Three Monkeys School of Qi Gong, which uses the best of Eastern and Western practices alongside well-respected centres in China. While introducing the practice to different groups of people raises its profile, how does Qi Gong benefit the business world?

How Qi Gong Fits Into The Corporate World

John discovered Qi Gong in 1997, when he was still in the conventional business world himself. Once he found that the practice began to change the way he worked by developing the physical aspects of communication, he became inspired to share it with others.

In the 23 years since then, John has worked for a wide range of clients. Together with an actor from the Royal Shakespeare Company, he taught senior employees from the Welcome Break leisure company how to improve communication skills using Qi Gong . His work has even taken him to the Saudi military for leadership development training, and to top nuclear physicists, healthcare workers and non-profit organisations.

John sees Qi Gong as an effective tool for teaching soft skills such as leadership and communication, and can be used alongside other frameworks like the Seven Habits model. He has found that it makes learning or honing new skills feel more simple and accessible compared to direct training. People generally have the urge to do things right when you teach them directly, but because Qi Gong “seems irrelevant”, students have “permission to get it wrong”. A seemingly-unrelated teaching tool allows space to ask questions, to make mistakes, to think for themselves. The learning space then becomes more productive. As students often throw difficult questions his way, making it essential to find answers accessible to those unfamiliar with the practice and Chinese medicine (TCM) as a whole, John never stops learning himself.

Why Qi Gong Works

John explains that Qi Gong benefits communication in the way we present ourselves. Its techniques to promote internal relaxation help us to look relaxed on the outside too. As people naturally mirror us, this enhances communication. We have more space to listen when we are relaxed.

Additionally, Qi Gong teaches us how to listen to understand, not to respond. It teaches the principle of the “true observer” or “true nature”. This means the act of being an observer from a non-judgemental space. When you see your own patterns of judgement, you learn to not impose them on others and see things just for what they are. This has helped John extend personal development training to those typically judged by people in the ethical business space. As he explains, if you have the opportunity to improve a situation, why not take it?

Qi Gong, and TCM as a whole, emphasises the big picture and how individual parts relate to it, unlike Western culture, which focuses on small details. This can be illustrated by Holonic Theory. A holon is a complete thing that forms part of a bigger system, such as the heart or lungs as part of the human body. All together, they form the holon of a human. Qi Gong focuses on the holon of a human being, and where energy may be stuck. Moving in certain ways creates the space for things to move more freely. An organisation is the same; it gets Qi (energy) stagnation too! With Qi Gong principles, we can find the blockages and create space for flow in businesses, which can in turn be extended to stakeholders such as clients and investors. It is, overall, “a framework to understand what lies beyond”, but in a relevant, accessible and powerful language. 

What Success Means To John Millar

You probably know Qi Gong for its health benefits, which John has seen when working in corporate Qi Gong. Some students, for example, have come off blood pressure medication with regular practice! Despite this being amazing in itself, John sees true success in these cases as when the student also has the ability to communicate why they no longer need medication to potentially judgemental family members. His view of holistic practice also includes supporting the family and other systems such as businesses, so a success story will involve the student being able to explain their training to employers.

As Qi Gong is more than just a wellness practice, we shouldn’t stop once our health goals have been reached. In fact, John explains, “When you’re healthy you start practicing, you see what lies beyond”, and, “What we share, we can use”. Getting others engaged in the process, by making it relevant for them, is vital in his eyes. This is not just to inspire others, but to open the dialogue so yoga, mindfulness, Pilates and other practices can be seen as similar in effect, despite their different methods.

Finally, with John’s years of experience, should we call him Master? No, as he says, “I don’t like the term Master … it implies hierarchy”. He defines mastery as learning a skill, to “use the skill without worrying how you’re doing it”. For example, once you learn how to ride a bike, there’s so much more you can do, such as racing or cross-country. These are aspects of mastering cycling, as you would master more aspects of the skill.

We are all masters at something, but we are all still learning. To learn more about John Millar, visit watch our video portrait on youtube:

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Join the Free ZOOM session “An Introduction to Corporate Qigong”

This free session introduces a framework that can be used to make a real difference in the corporate world and leads to a 16 week training program that will run from January 2021.

If you are a Qigong practitioner interested in developing your personal practice and making a difference for people and organisations, come along, join in the conversation and see if you find the potential of Qigong in the corporate sector as exciting as we do!

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Tuesday, 17 November 2020 at

7.00 pm London time

8.00 pm Berlin time

2.00 pm New York time

11.00 am San Francisco time

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