Tai Chi & Qigong
What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi, or Taiji, is a Martial Art originating in China. The first, and most familiar, aspect of Tai Chi is Tai Chi Chuan is the Hand Form (the sword form is known as Tai Chi Jian). This is the series of slow movements you see performed in the parks, in China, early in the morning. There are many benefits to be gained from practising the Hand Form. CLASSES : See my Blog for dates and location of Classes.
What is Qigong?
Qigong (previously spelled chi kung) literally means energy-work/skill. There are many forms of qigong ranging from the standing/ sitting types to moving types. They are systems to promote health , strength, endurance and peace of mind. They all work on nurturing Qi and Essence and calming the Shen (spirit). The forms I use and teach in my classes are Zhan Zhuang (‘Standing like a Tree’ Qigong pr Jan Jong), Wu Xing Qigong ( Five Element Qigong) and Chan si Gong (Silk Reeling Qigong).
On its simplest level, the Tai Chi Hand Form is an exercise system. However it is not what we, in western culture, usually regard as exercise. How can these slow movements be exercise? In order to understand why, it is good to have a knowledge of the concept of Qi (Chi) energy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is believed to be over 2,000 years old, also has, at its roots, the principles of Yin and Yang. It is believed that there are meridians or pathways which travel through the body carrying Qi energy. If there is a problem, or imbalance in the flow of Qi energy, a TCM doctor would use acupuncture needles, or perhaps acupressure - the use of thumbs or hands, to stimulate acupoints, and release the blockages.
Tai Chi Chuan and more directly, Qigong promotes the smooth flow of this energy. By performing the postures of the Form, in co-ordination with relaxed, natural breathing and the application of Yi, which is the intent or focus of the mind, we help to keep the Qi moving smoothly through the channels. Therefore, whilst doing these external movements, we are assisting the free flow of internal energy.
Aside from promoting the flow of Qi energy Tai Chi Chuan can also help to increase flexibility, suppleness and exercise the muscles. The smooth, gentle movements also aid relaxation and help to keep the mind calm and focused. These benefits are extremely useful in today’s stressful society. (Ref: Tai Chi for Great Britain : Ronnie Robinson)