About Stuart Alve Olson

Stuart Alve Olson is the founder, director, and head teacher of the Sanctuary of Tao. Born in the year of the White Tiger (1950) in Minnesota, he is an author/translator of over thirty works on Taoist Philosophy, Taijiquan, Qigong, and Taoist internal practices, many of which now appear in several foreign language editions.

In his late 20s and early 30s, he began learning from teachers such as Chan Master Hsuan Hua and Master T.T. Liang, and continued to learn from them and many other notable teachers. For over thirty years, he has been studying Taoist and Buddhist philosophy and Chinese language while practicing Taoist meditation and ceremony, Qigong, Taijiquan, Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and Internal Alchemy.

In addition to cultivating through his own practice and translating and writing books, he has spent these last three decades conducting lectures and retreats, writing articles for Taoist and martial arts magazines, and teaching all over the world, including in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, and throughout North America, including Canada and Mexico.

Timeline of Stuart’s Life

Stuart’s interest in Chinese philosophy began early in his life, around the age of 16, but he did not formally begin learning until age 29 when he resided at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in 1979 and 1980. 

On Christmas Day, 1979, he took refuge as a disciple of Chan Master Hsuan Hua and received the disciple name of Kuo Ao (果 奧). Stuart focused on the Guan Yin Pure Land practices and The Profound Perfection of Wisdom Diamond and Heart Scriptures. While living at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Stuart was also introduced to Taoist studies by Professor Chen and Professor Wu-Yi.

In 1981, he participated in the meditation sessions and sutra lectures given by Dainin Katagiri Roshi at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center.

Master T.T. Liang and Stuart Alve Olson

In mid-1981, he met Master T.T. Liang and began learning Taijiquan, Taoism, Praying Mantis kung fu, and Chinese language under his tutelage.

In the spring of 1982 through 1984, he undertook a Buddhist bowing pilgrimage, “Nine Steps One Bow,” from the Minnesota Zen Center to the border of Nebraska, traveling along state and county roads during the spring, summer, and autumn months. During the winter months, he stayed at Master Liang’s home and bowed in his garage.

After Stuart’s pilgrimage, he resided with Master Liang in his home for the next six years and continued studying with him. He and Master Liang then started traveling throughout the United States teaching Taijiquan to numerous groups, continuing to do so together for nearly a decade.

In 1986, Stuart published his first four books on Taijiquan—Wind Sweeps Away the Plum Blossoms, Cultivating the Ch’i, T’ai Chi Sword, Sabre & Staff, and Imagination Becomes Reality.

In 1987, Stuart made his first of several trips to China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. On subsequent trips, he studied massage and Internal Alchemy practices in Taipei and taught Taijiquan in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

In 1989, he and Master Liang moved to Los Angeles, where Stuart studied Chinese and continued his Taijiquan studies.

In 1992, Stuart furthered his studies of Praying Mantis Kung Fu with Master Kong Wei (恭 衛 功 夫 師) in Indonesia, learning the Plum Blossom Praying Mantis style from him. He also taught Taijiquan there to many large groups. 

In 1993, he organized the Institute of Internal Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota, and brought Master Liang back from California to teach there.

In 2005, Stuart was prominently featured in the British Taijiquan documentary Embracing the Tiger.

In 2006, he formed the Phoenix Taoist Center with his longtime student Patrick Gross in Phoenix, Arizona.

In 2010, he co-founded the publishing company Valley Spirit Arts with Patrick Gross.

In 2010, he also founded the non-profit spiritual and educational organization Sanctuary of Tao with Patrick Gross, Lily Shank, and Denis Gendron. 

In 2012, Stuart received the Into Mountains, Over Streams: International Journal of Qigong and Taiji Culture Reader’s Choice Award for “Best Author on Qigong.” 

Presently, Stuart lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the Director and Head Teacher of the Sanctuary of Tao. He continues to write and translate Taoist works and texts into English through Valley Spirit Arts.

Stuart’s Books

Taoist Books

  • Actions & Retributions: A Taoist Treatise on Attaining Spiritual Virtue, Longevity, and Immortality, Attributed to Lao Zi (Valley Spirit Arts, 2015)
  • Being Daoist: The Way of Drifting with the Current, Revised Edition (Valley Spirit Arts, 2014)
  • Book of Sun and Moon (I Ching), volumes I and II (Valley Spirit Arts, 2014)
  • Chen Tuan’s Four Season Internal Kungfu (Valley Spirit Arts, 2016).
  • Clarity & Tranquility: A Guide for Daoist Meditation (Valley Spirit Arts, 2015)
  • Daoist Sexual Arts: A Guide for Attaining Health, Youthfulness, Vitality, and Awakening the Spirit (Valley Spirit Arts, 2015)
  • Embracing the One: Taoist Visualization Meditation (Valley Spirit Arts, 2018)
  • Embryonic Breathing: The Taoist Method of Opening the Dan Tian (Valley Spirit Arts, 2016)
  • The Immortal: True Accounts of the 250-Year-Old Man, Li Qingyun by Yang Sen (Valley Spirit Arts, 2014)
  • The Jade Emperor’s Mind Seal Classic: The Taoist Guide to Health, Longevity, and Immortality (Inner Traditions, 2003)
  • Li Qingyun: Longevity Methods of a 250-Year-Old Taoist Immortal (Valley Spirit Arts, 2016)
  • Qigong Teachings of a Taoist Immortal: The Eight Essential Exercises of Master Li Ching-Yun (Healing Arts Press, 2002)
  • Refining the Elixir: The Internal Alchemy Teachings of Taoist Immortal Zhang Sanfeng (Valley Spirit Arts, 2016)
  • Scripture on Tao and Virtue: Escritura sobre Tao y Virtud by Lao Zi; translated into English by Stuart Alve Olson; Spanish translation by Suzanne J. Nosko (Valley Spirit Arts, 2019)
  • Six Healing Sounds: Taoist Breathing Therapy for Health and Longevity (Valley Spirit Arts, 2017)
  • The Seen and Unseen: A Taoist Guide for the Meditation Practice of Inner Contemplation (Valley Spirit Arts, 2016)
  • Tao of No Stress: Three Simple Paths (Healing Arts Press, 2002)
  • Taoist Chanting & Recitation: At-Home Cultivator’s Practice Guide (Valley Spirit Arts, 2015)
  • Transformation Through Good Literature: Teachings of Wen Chang, Taoist God of Literature (Valley Spirit Arts, 2018)
  • Yellow Court: The Exalted One’s Scripture on the External Illumination of the Yellow Court, vol. 1 (Valley Spirit Arts, 2017)

Taijiquan Books

  • Tai Ji Qi: Fundamentals of Qigong, Meditation, and Internal Alchemy, vol. 1 (Valley Spirit Arts, 2013)
  • Tai Ji Jin: Discourses on Intrinsic Energies for Mastery of Self-Defense Skills, vol. 2 (Valley Spirit Arts, 2013)
  • Tai Ji Quan: 105-Posture Yang Style Solo Form Instructions and Applications, vol. 3 (Valley Spirit Arts, 2017)
  • Tai Ji Tui Shou: Mastering the Eight Styles and Four Skills of Sensing Hands, vol. 4 (Valley Spirit Arts, 2014)
  • Tai Ji Bing Shu: Discourses on the Taijiquan Weapon Arts of Sword, Saber, and Staff, vol. 6 (Valley Spirit Arts, 2014)
  • Imagination Becomes Reality: 150-Posture Taijiquan of Master T.T. Liang (Valley Spirit Arts, 2011)
  • Steal My Art: The Life and Times of Tai Chi Master T.T. Liang (North Atlantic Books, 2002)
  • T’ai Chi According to the I Ching: Embodying the Principles of the Book of Changes (Healing Arts Press, 2002)
  • Tai Chi Changes: 64-Posture Taijiquan Form Based on the I Ching (co-authored with Patrick Gross, Valley Spirit Arts, 2019)
  • T’ai Chi for Kids: Move with the Animals, illustrated by Gregory Crawford (Bear Cub Books, 2001)
  • Tai Ji Quan Treatise: Attributed to the Song Dynasty Daoist Priest Zhang Sanfeng, Daoist Immortal Three Peaks Zhang Series (Valley Spirit Arts, 2011)
  • The Wind Sweeps Away the Plum Blossoms: Yang Style Taijiquan Staff and Spear Techniques (Valley Spirit Arts, 2011)

Kung Fu Books

  • The Complete Guide to Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu (Blue Snake Books, 2010)
  • The Eighteen Lohan Skills: Traditional Shaolin Temple Kung Fu Training Methods (Valley Spirit Arts, 2015)
  • Monk Spade: The Martial Art Weapon of Sagacious Lu (Valley Spirit Arts, 2016)