During the Covid-19 lockdown period, I am offering Online Open Access Qigong Classes at a reduced rate.
Beginner-friendly classes currently online Fri 12:30-1:30 pm
Qigong (Chi Kung) literally translates as ‘Qi practice’. It is a Chinese method of exercise that seeks to harmonise the mind and body movement so as to cultivate resilient health and strength. There are hundreds of different types of Qigong with different purposes, for instance, martial and medical - in traditional hospitals in China patients may be taught specific Qigong exercises as part of their treatment regime.
The question of ‘what is Qi?’ tends to come up – it is such a fundamental concept in the traditional Chinese worldview that the same query seldom arises and Chinese teachers often respond to it being raised with a degree of amusement: “Why would you even bother to ask that?!” I feel that it remains a valid if elusive question. The concept of meridians as channels for Qi in the body relating to the different organs is a fundamental aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine. A teacher I studied with for many years, Chen Xiao Wang, has said that in the body, Qi is integral to the nervous system - certainly, much Qigong practice involves directing one’s mental focus within the body which inevitably involves engaging the sensory side of the nervous system. However, in my own practice, I have found it useful not to define Qi too rigidly. It provides a useful metaphor for a tangible relationship between the mind and body, akin to the manner in which the gears operate between the engine and wheels of a vehicle, to quote Chen Xiao Wang again. Qigong is more of a direct experiential than intellectual pursuit – the knowledge of what something is does not necessarily provide a useful relationship with it.
My first and principal teacher is Adrian Murray, who I still study with ( www.dakuai.co.uk/who-is-adrian-murray.html ). The style of Qigong that I have learnt is rooted in the ‘internal’ martial arts, with a strong focus on health, relaxation and strength. It involves working with the primary channels that run around the midline of the body. A key aspect is putting the mind into specific sites in parallel with fairly simple movements. These are not as complex or elaborate as those comprising T’ai-Chi, liberating the practitioner’s attention from the choreography to facilitate a tangible experience of the effects upon the body and mind.
What are the benefits of Qigong practice? There are many areas that may benefit from Qigong. It is useful for posture, providing a relaxed manner in which to align structures. It focuses upon stretching and rejuvenating the tendons (connecting muscle to bone), so often the focus of injury and strain. It helps build a deep form of flexible and relaxed strength, particularly in the lower extremities which in turn helps support the spine above. There is a stress reduction function – many modern people exist in a state of pervasive worry because we have too many demands on our time to cope with. Having something that invites deep level absorption provides respite, helping to reform and rebalance the mind away from a tendency of over-busyness. Sources of stress won’t vanish but your relationship with them can be eased. This meditative aspect perhaps alongside the effect upon the meridians has potential physiological benefits for such areas as blood pressure and digestive function. Beyond these health-related functions, there is also the pure interest inherent in exploring a totally different exercise paradigm.
Please email me if you are interested: