Introduction to Qigong

Qigong and tai chi have a connection, both are heavily influenced by Daoism. The practice of qigong can be traced back to ancient China, some say its origins go back five thousand years but more likely 2 or 3 thousand years.

Qigong exercises can be moving and fixed. The moving exercises are where parts of body such as the arms or waist is moving. Fixed is holding a position or posture.

Qigong when learnt correctly can be very beneficial for health. If incorrectly taught can cause physical and mental health problems. Always seek a trained and experienced practitioner. If you have problems, STOP.

There are many resources for qigong exercises the internet and books to buy showing qigong. This is no substitute for a teacher as they can spot things that aren’t correct such as incorrect posture or breathing.

I practice a qigong set called Baduanjin (Eight brocades of the immortal family) as taught by my Teacher and their teacher before them. The exercises are based on those taught by General Yue Fei. Legend states he taught these exercises to his troops to keep them fit and healthy. Ready for battle.

There are many versions of baduanjin and is a subject in itself.

Qigong can be practiced sitting or lying in bed. This makes it practical for those who are recovering from illness, have difficulty standing and elderly people.

Many of the qigong exercises have many benefits such as improving balance and breathing.

You can find more information on the NHS website and TCUGB in the UK.

First tai chi workshop since Covid-19 lockdown

Small group of PTCCI students of Dan met up near Northampton at the weekend for some socially distance instruction from Dan Docherty.

There around 12 of us in attendance. It was a bit awkward at first, remembering to keep our distance and wearing masks when necessary.

Arranged by Caroline, everything was in place to make it as safe as possible and limit the possibility of the spread of COVID-19.

Dan went through the first section of the long form and explained some of the applications. We opened with exercises such as pillar support the sky, tiger embrace head, cloud hands and retrieve the moon from the bottom of the sea. These exercises are really good for the spine.

Later he went through the Spear form, giving us much needed corrections and more in depth explanation of what we are doing in respect to applications.

I think everyone benefited greatly on Sunday from Dan Docherty instruction.

It was nice to see some old friends, some who have recently recovered from the COVID-19 and others who have been in many months of self isolation.

Hopefully another workshop will be around corner.

Bare feet or shoes

Training in bare feet is so much better. This depends on the circumstances and environment that you are practicing in.

On the grass, Sandy beach or in the comfort of your home, bare feet is practical and very beneficial for building up strength in the feet. Feeling more connected to the ground, the feel of grass or sand between the toes is a nice experience.

On concrete or rough floor I prefer to train in wide fitting pumps, I avoid narrow fitting trainers and running shoes with a spongy sole. Flat soles are proven to relieve back pressure and improve posture over time.

Kung fu style shoes

Shoes for tai chi are inexpensive, I think I brought these off Amazon for about fifteen pounds. You can get pumps from the supermarket or local shoe shop.

The important thing is to feel comfortable and enjoy your tai chi

Three amigos go training

Three of us were able to meet up in a suitable location while adhering to social distancing rules. It was nice to meet up for a couple of hours. Having a catch up and remembering to keep our distance. We had plenty to do practicing our forms and having a brief discussion to see what we’ve forgotten, what we have discovered while training alone and sharing these ideas and giving feedback on how each of us can improve. We went through our short and long form a few times while a storm was brewing in the distance. With a rumble of thunder we thought we leave the running thunder hands till next week.

Big stone hands in Lake District