20 Oct Tai Chi & Qigong – Working with Energy
The Body Follows the Breath, the Energy Follows the Mind
Tai Chi, and Qigong are closely related disciplines that developed in China over hundreds of years.
Their focus is on controlled, continuous movement, coordinated with the breath, helping the body to release tension in the muscles and increasing mobility in the joints. These exercises are non-impact, require no special equipment or clothing and are suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
Within the UK, Tai Chi is better known than Qigong and most classes labelled as ‘Tai Chi’ will actually contain a mixture of the two disciplines.
With a rich and historic pedigree, Tai Chi has evolved from its martial art origins in China to become a unique spectrum of movement techniques. Some branches of Tai Chi have remained as an effective, combative martial art, some as competitive sport while others have developed the therapeutic aspects. Different Chinese families have moulded the movements to give different styles: Chen, Wu and Yang being the most popular.
Here we will follow the Yang style in its short form – 37 complex movements that flow continuously from start to finish. It requires concentration, coordination, balance, strength and relaxation to produce the graceful, flowing sequence and typically takes 6 to 12 months to learn, but a lifetime to perfect.
Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) Gong translates as “energy healing” and draws on a vast, ancient range of exercises designed to improve health and well-being for a long and happy life. It shares the same qualities of flowing, controlled movements synchronised with deep, rhythmic breathing, as Tai Chi but is more accessible to the beginner and has more meditative qualities.
There are Qigong exercises that can be done in a seated position, offering the benefits to those with with restricted mobility or limited fitness. It also provides an excellent method for learning, developing and improving Tai Chi.
The Body Follows the Breath...
... the Energy Follows the Mind
Health Benefits & Medical Research
Interest in investigating the health benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong has increased over the past decade and the UK Government now recommends Tai Chi as way to improve health generally, but especially in terms of mobility and balance.
There are more, high quality, research studies comparing the benefits to Tai Chi and Qigong with pharmaceutical treatments and other exercise regimes. The results have shown significant benefits in a range of conditions including those below.
Relaxing – Helps to Reduce Stress & Tension
Mobility – Joints Move More Easily
Balance – Stability & Falls Prevention
Co Ordination – Improves Spatial Awareness
Strengthens Leg & Buttock Muscles
Breathing – Increases Lung Capacity
Anxiety & Depression
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