qigong with mindfulness
(exercise for health in LEEDS)
How are qigong and Tai Chi different?
Qigong is literally breath work but the most useful interpretation is energy work and that has existed in China for thousands of years. It is a blanket term for a wide range of Chinese exercises for cultivation and maintenance of health. Tai Chi is a part of these exercises which developed for martial purposes, using the movement and energy skills to defend and attack. Qigong and Tai Chi can look similar to the untrained eye but they develped with a different purpose.
How do qigong and mindfulness work together?The full benefits of qigong come with a mindful approach. Regular classes are ideal for those experienced in qigong and also good for those who want to start a regular exercise with mindfulness or meditation as part of it. Improving awareness of the body and the breath is the path into mindfulness. Through this your mind will become anchored in your body and mindfulness will develop naturally and easily.
What are the exercises like?Qigong exercises vary from the deceptively simple to the challenging. There are exercises that are within the grasp of all people.
Qigong is unusual because it is so versatile, it can be used:
- To improve vitality of the body even though the exercise is gentle
- To develop mindfulness in an effortless way that does not add to your stress.
- As an introduction to regular exercise
- For those who really do not like going to the gym!
- But it can be surprisingly challenging for the athletic - working without effort is hard!
Last but not least, it is an excellent complement to acupuncture and tuina, but also recommended by some physiotherapists (ask if you are in doubt).
about learning qigong
Like many other Eastern disciplines, learning qigong is as much about the journey as it is about the results - and it is a lifetime's journey because there is never an end to the learning. It helps if you can focus on enjoying every step of the way and increase your awareness of small changes in yourself. The successful student may appear the least physically proficient but they are the one who has seen that qigong is a different way of being. It is empowering, it is a way of being self-aware and it is a healthy way to be. Enigmatic - but that is the charm and fascination of qigong!
Contact Sue if you would be interested in joining a class. 1 to 1, 1 to 2 and 1 to 3 classes are also available. Sue also does consultancy work including taster qigong sessions tailored to the group, please ask for details.
For those who would lke to try qigong before committing to a regular class, please come to a single class with no obligation. Please do not be tempted to go it alone with one of the many DVDs on the market, you will get much more from attending a class.
How does qigong work?
There is nothing strange about how qigong works, it benefits the mind and body through cultivating your ability to work with energy. This happens naturally, all the beginner needs to work on is:
- Bringing focus inwards to feel the movements and their effects
- Correcting posture so the body can relax
- Moving freely and gracefully
These should come as naturally to adults as they do to a toddler but ... there is a lifetime's challenge - and a lifetime's interest - in working on these three. It is an act of faith (in the secular sense) to believe that they can promote good health but there is no need to be daunted, the classes are structured to help you develop these skills, and more, gradually.
Styles of qigong
Exercises in the class are drawn from many sources and teachers. They include warm up and warm down exercises, work on posture and the internal organs, calming routines. The exercises include popular qigong such as the Daoist Health Cultivation exercises, Eight Brocades - Ba Duan Jing - and Heaven and Earth exercises.
Resources on qigong
For Hua gong, see clear guidance in Dario Gerchi's Healing Form.
For the Eight Brocades there is much on Youtube, try for an inspiring example.
See this lovely set of 5 Element exercises.
Using qigong sensibly
Sue Dunham cannot take responsibility for your fitness to do these exercises. Tai Chi and qigong are not a substitute for regular medical care. It is the responsibility of the individual to seek advice and consent from their medical practitioner if they have any concerns.