Qi Gong is a form of exercise from China. Often it is written as Chi Gung. Roughly translated it means ‘energy work’ or ‘energy cultivation’. The exercises are relaxing and energizing as the translation suggests. The movements are performed quite slowly and initially produce a gentle stretching of the connective tissue, which spreads to a deeper level within the body. Exercises of this type have been used in China for thousands of years to deal with stress and to promote good health and longevity. The classes are suitable for all levels of fitness and will benefit everyone. If you are recovering from an injury or are limited in your physical movement, the exercises can be adjusted to accomodate this and will still be of benefit.
Qi Gong is not as well known as Tai Chi but is easier to learn as you do not have to do the exercises in a particular order, you can just do the ones from the class you like or remember. This makes it easy to build up your own practice outside of class if you wish.
The movements help increase the flow of energy in the meridians in the body- these are the energy pathways that are stimulated by acupuncturists. As you do more of these exercises you start to develop your awareness of how the energy feels and moves within you.
Doing exercises together in a class is like meditating in a group, the effects of working with others can be more powerful than if you work on your own. Classes are fun too!
Meditation has been recognized in the West for some time now as a way to help manage the increasing stresses of daily life as well as the inevitable ups and downs that life throws our way. Giving yourself the time and space to rebalance your system in a meditation class is a way to reconnect yourself with your deeper motivations and aspirations as well as providing a way for you to let go of pain of any kind and unresolved issues from your past. Meditation is both forward focused- what do I want and where am I going- and backward looking- letting go of the past so all of you is ready for the future- whilst focusing you in the present.
Developing a good sense of humour, especially finding some amusement at our own predicaments is very helpful in the letting go process so the classes are conducted in a light, friendly, supportive atmosphere. The different types of meditation that are covered are all done sitting comfortably on a chair. Training the attention so that you can be more focused in whatever you do, in a relaxed fashion, is part of all the types of meditation taught. It could be by focusing on the breath, the body, by visualizing or by listening to a sound. Different people respond differently to each type at different times so in this class you can try these different approaches and see what fits you best at the moment.
Classes are mostly doing but there is discussion of experiences and the framework of the practices; this talking is very worthwhile and help each of us to reflect on and makes sense of our own experience. Meditating in a group is also more powerful than meditating alone.
It takes a while for the practice to develop into a good ‘habit’ so coming to a class over a number of weeks and practicing what you learn outside class if you can, gives your brain (and whole system) time to rewire itself. Meditation has great potential to help transform your life as well as relax and de-stress you. Come and find out for yourself!