Meet Stuart Alve Olson

Guiding Teacher at the Sanctuary of Tao

Author and translator of over thirty books on Taoist philosophy and practices

Stuart Alve Olson is the author and translator of over thirty books on Taoism, Tai Chi, Qigong, Internal Alchemy, and the I Ching
For over forty years, Stuart has been studying Taoism and practicing meditation, Qigong, Tai Chi, Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and Internal Alchemy.

While following his own spiritual path, Stuart has also been translating and writing about Taoism, conducting lectures and retreats, and teaching all over the world.


Stuart’s interest in Chinese philosophy began early in his life, around the age of 16. However, he did not formally begin learning until age 29.


One day, while perusing a local bookstore, Stuart saw The Sutra in 42 Sections by Chan Master Hsuan Hua on the bookshelf and it piqued his interest.

Stuart read through the whole Sutra that night, and by 11:00 am the next morning he knew he needed to go study with Master Hsuan Hua. Two days later he was on a bus to California.

An image of Chan Master Hsuan Hua

On Christmas Day, 1979, Stuart took refuge as a disciple of Master Hsuan Hua. He received the disciple name of Kuo Ao (果 奧).  He then resided at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in 1979 and 1980. 

Group photo from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas with Master Hsuan Hua in the middle. Stuart is kneeling in the front row on the far left. 


In 1981, Stuart moved back to Minnesota and participated in the meditation sessions and Sutra lectures given by Dainin Katagiri Roshi at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center.

Stuart with founder and teacher of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, Katagiri Roshi and his wife Tomoe Katagiri.


Around that time, Stuart met Master T.T. Liang and began learning Tai Chi, Taoism, Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and Chinese language under his tutelage.
In 1982, Stuart started a two-year Buddhist bowing pilgrimage of “Nine Steps One Bow” from the Minnesota Zen Center in Minneapolis to the border of Nebraska.


After Stuart’s pilgrimage, he resided with Master Liang in his home in St. Cloud, Minnesota for the next six years and continued studying with him.


An excerpt from an interview with Stuart on his time with Master Liang

Learn more about Master Liang here.



Master Liang and Stuart then started traveling and teaching Tai Chi together throughout the United States. They continued to do so for nearly a decade.


T.T. demonstrating Tai Chi applications on Stuart


In 1986, Stuart published his first four books on Tai Chi, including this one:

Imagination Becomes Reality, the Teachings of Master T.T. Liang


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.


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

Many people in Indonesia had read Imagination Becomes Reality and knew Stuart was a close student of Master Liang’s, so they wanted to learn Tai Chi from him and discuss Master Liang’s teachings while he was there. 

Left to right: Mrs. Ingsan, Stuart, Wei Sheng, Patrick Gross, Tai Chi Master Song Luwei, and Mr. Ingsan, after a Tai Chi gathering. Photo taken in 1997 during Stuart’s second trip to Indonesia, on which Patrick joined him and his family.


In 1993, Master Liang and Stuart began teaching together in St. Paul, Minnesota after both of them had moved back there from California. 


Stuart demonstrating Tai Chi staff


In 2005, Stuart was featured in the British Tai Chi documentary Embracing the Tiger.


In 2010, Stuart co-founded the publishing company Valley Spirit Arts with long-time student Patrick Gross.

Stuart and Patrick drinking tea at Seven Cups Teahouse in Tucson, Arizona, 2021. See list of Stuart’s books from Valley Spirit Arts below. 
Also in 2010, Stuart, Patrick, and Lily founded the Sanctuary of Tao, a non-profit educational organization, to pass on the Taoist teachings Stuart spent his lifetime learning and cultivating.

Lantern Festival celebration held by the Sanctuary of Tao around the time of the founding of the organization.


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.”
Stuart currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and continues to translate, write, and teach about Taoism through Valley Spirit Arts and Sanctuary of Tao.

Through his work, he wants to do for you what Master Liang did for him—teaching you Taoist ways to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.


In the following commentary on a Taoist poem, Stuart talks about nourishing yourself through Taoism.


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Stuart looks forward to getting to know you and supporting you on your path!




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)
  • 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)

Visit Valley Spirit Arts for more information on any of these books.  


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