Most people have heard of Tai Chi but its sibling art of Qigong is less well known, which is a great shame. Qigong (pronounced chee-gong) has its roots in ancient China and as such shares many similarities with and benefits of Tai Chi but is considerably easier to learn comprising a variety of simple exercises rather than a long sequence of intricate movements. There are many different types of Qigong; some styles focus upon developing specific aspects of the body such as joint mobility or improving the function of certain internal organs while others build strength or seek to promote a calm state of mind. In essence most of what we do in Qigong usually focuses upon building an integrative combination of all these attributes and the benefits one can expect from regular training centre around posture, breath, concentration, calmness, balance and strong, smooth connected movement with the body and mind working in unison. It is a vastly beneficial art to learn!
One of the challenges that beginners face when learning Tai Chi is that there are a lot of movements to remember and this can become one’s focus rather than correct training which revolves around paying attention to how one is actually moving. Qigong is an excellent supplement to Tai Chi and other types of training such as Yoga or Pilates. Traditionally it has always accompanied martial arts training as a way of preventing injury and keeping the body and mind strong, supple and firing on all cylinders over a long period of time.
I started to learn Qigong at the same time that I began Tai Chi. While I love both arts and appreciate that there is much that overlaps between the two, I have found that my students often get more from learning Qigong than Tai Chi especially when they first start out. The brilliance of Qigong lies in its simplicity and this encourages people to practise on their own – twenty minutes a day of good Qigong practise can have the most superb effect on one’s health and state of mind.
I am running a one day workshop where you can learn some excellent Qigong exercises on Saturday May 20th, 10.30-16.30 at the Newell Centre, Tozer Way, Chichester. During this workshop we will learn and practice Fansong Gong (joint loosening/conditioning), 8 Animals Qigong (8 simple exercises loosely based on animal movements and their attributes) and Zhanzhuang (Standing Qigong). The fee for the day is £50. All abilities are welcome however if you have any specific health/mobility issues please contact me to assess suitability. All the details are on the website: www.sussextaichi.co.uk