What is Qigong?
Qigong (pronounced chi gong) is an accessible system of self-care. It originated in ancient China, becoming popular in the west during the twentieth century. Through functional exercise, breathing and meditation techniques qigong is an enjoyable way to improve body, mind and spirit. I often describe it as the original mindfulness technique.
There are many ways to express this approach to life – mindfulness, meditation or ‘living in the moment’ have all become familiar terms in recent years. Whatever you call it, the simple process of tuning into your own body (including mind and emotions) can have a profound, liberating, effect on how you see yourself and the world around you.
Do you find seated meditation a challenge? Qigong is a ‘moving meditation’, combining rhythmic exercises which encourage the body to regulate itself naturally. A common ‘side effect’ from our qigong class is a good night’s sleep, along with feeling less stressed the following day.
What do we do in a qigong class?
To help new students I describe my classes as a combination of tai chi and yoga. Most of the exercises are done in a standing posture with students taking responsibility for their own bodies. This means each exercise can be adapted to your own level; there are no strict rules or complicated forms to learn. The challenge is to be open and curious about your own body and mind, engaging with the gentle yet profound practice of qigong.
WEEKLY CLASSES IN CARDIFF
Tuesday 2-3pm - Whitchurch Community Centre (Old Church Road CF14 1AD)
Wednesday 7-8pm - Ararat Centre (Whitchurch Common CF14 1PT)
Suitable for all levels, beginners always welcome
£5 in advance (in 6 weeks blocks) or £7 drop-in
Please contact Louise in advance if you want to come along as there are some weeks classes may not be held
email@example.com or 07999580223
I have been a student of tai chi and qigong for over ten years. In those years my practice has developed into something which helps me through life’s knocks; always there to provide a gentle, self sufficient way of de-stressing and re-booting.
We live in fast changing environments, bombarded with technology and information. Technology can be a wonderful tool for innovation and entertainment, enhancing our lives in many ways. It’s up to us not to become over reliant on gadgets to tell us how are bodies are functioning.
Why does qigong make us feel good?
The human body is incredibly resilient, evolving to self-regulate, repair and make adaptations in response to trauma. Unfortunately fewer people than ever are able to hear the subtle signs from their own body, as it is increasingly drowned out by chemicals, technology and stress hormones. My personal interpretation of qigong and what it offers us today is – it is a way to reconnect with the natural ‘apps’ within us all. Increasingly our body clocks (governing sleep, hormones, mood, appetites etc.) are thrown out of sync, maybe through shift-work, pregnancy, stress or illness. Usually our natural rhythms are restored through sleep and proper care, but more people are looking to computer software to help them out. The word ‘smart’ is overused today, however, I think it can truly be used to describe our bodies. For me qigong is a non-invasive, non-toxic way to begin reconnecting to our own, innate, body intelligence which is in danger of being permanently overridden by a computer algorithm.
I’m not anti technology; I am simply in favour of not letting it rule our lives. A meditation app may help you begin a daily routine of morning meditation but if you become reliant on the app to ‘make’ you meditate I would argue it is adding to your guilt and stress! As with all things we need to keep a balance between what is useful and what is potentially unhelpful, harmful or simply a ‘crutch’.
My approach to qigong is from a healing tradition as I am also a combined therapist working with Bowen Therapy, Emmett Technique, Reiki and Emotional Freedom Technique. Many clients are seeking help with illness and injuries from a lack of knowledge of how to care for themselves on a basic level. By this I mean they are disconnected from their bodies, handing themselves over to health care professionals in a bid for relief. It sounds simplistic but I believe if we can befriend our own bodies, that is listening and noting signs of dis-ease, we may be able to prevent many levels of pain and stress.
With qigong there is always something new to learn. I love the way it can be used to enhance fitness, flexibility and balance, or simply because it is an enjoyable way to unplug from the world for an hour or so. The forms I teach are all incredibly adaptable so it doesn’t matter if you consider yourself as ‘fit’ or not. Everyone works to their own abilities and personal goals.