qigong training london

Qigong training

Qigong is the modern term used to describe a wide array of Chinese exercise systems. Each of these systems is quite different in many ways to the other, though the best ones adhere to the same fundamental ideas and principles.

Qi is the rather large, catch all, word that has been used in China for a very long time to describe 'energy'. In many cases the ideas expressed within the use of the term Qi, are quite similar to the ideas of a modern physicist. In essence, everything, whether solid state or more ephemeral is a manifestation of 'energy'.

Qigong training is essentially a way to help these natural types of 'energy' flow smoothly along, as nature intended. When the 'Qi' isn't flowing as it should then various physical ailments arise, leading to illness if not soon corrected.

Fundamentally Qigong seeks to 'regulate the Xin'. The Xin is the Chinese way of expression the idea of emotional, 'heart' driven thinking and feeling. In traditional Chinese medicine it is believed that one of the worst things you can do is to have an unregulated 'Xin'. In modern western medicine, it is also acknowledged that the vast majority of minor and major illnesses are caused by 'stress'. In essence, this is the same idea.

Postural training as well as breath work (or at least awareness) are often primary tools for 'regulating the Xin'. Ultimately the training may highlight unhelpful and deeply held attitudes which are the primary contributor to a troublesome 'Xin'.

So with good Qigong training you can expect to practice things that will stretch and mobilise the whole body, rid yourself of physical tensions and mental stresses that reduce the free flow of your natural 'Qi' energy.

The results is a deep feeling of ease and tranquility, along with a more positive mindset and feelings of wellbeing.

 


Wudang tai chi long form training concepts

The Wudang Tai Chi long form

Tai Chi Chuan requires a thorough mastery of certain key principles and ideals. Although we learn and practice techniques, the objective is ultimately to reach a state of no-technique, where a spontaneous understanding is achieved.  The systematic approach to training begins with learning the Square Form. This form contains precise structural positions which the student settles in and feels, to the point that their natural movement patterns become remodelled, in improved ways. Posture, body awareness, awareness of shapes and structures are developed. Practice also develops a tensile strength throughout the body. Stamina and fitness also increase.

The round form is learned once a certain level of ability and refinement is achieved in the Square Form. The sequence and techniques are the same, though they are now practiced in a completely fluid style, with no gaps or pauses between any of the techniques. The whole sequence takes between 15-20 minutes when practiced at a slow speed. The practice of this form further develops body awareness, coordination and is a perfect expression of the Tai chi principle.

After a student has become proficient in the Round Form, they will start to practice the form in a ‘mirror image’. This develops and refines all of the skills and qualities though now all the techniques are performed the opposite way, leading to development of ambidextrousness. The body’s physical development is also balanced.

The final stage for advanced students is the practice of the form in revers. This is tremendously challenging for anyone at any level. It develops absolute mastery of body awareness, control and coordination as well as a thorough understanding of the mechanics of all techniques.

Regular daily practice of the Hand Form should instils the qualities of lightness, agility, balance, circularity and liveliness;

Fundamental qualities in form practice

Balance and Centredness

Each of the postures of the Hand Form is practiced in it’s optimal balance point. Each of the stances is rooted from the feet, with optimal foot, ankle, knee and hip positioning. We practice to develop awareness of the spinal positioning in it’s entirety from the base to the head, finding the perfect neutral balance in all postures. The alignment of upper and lower parts of the arms, as well as the hands is trained. This body awareness practice is carried out in a mindful, relaxed and tranquil way, allowing the Qi to sink.

Tranquility

In Tai Chi Chuan there should be no forced movements, everything should feel natural and unstrained. Movements and actions are practiced so that they flow naturally from one to the next smoothly, with calm, smooth and deep breathing. The body is completely relaxed, using the minimal amount of muscular tension to carry out the postures and movements. Body and mind in this state are said to be tranquil. This allows for smooth circulation of vital energy.

Confort

All of the postures in the form are trained so that the practitioner feels perfectly comfortable in all of their movements. Proper extension and contraction of all of the bodies muscles and joints, combined with a relaxed attitude and well balanced body positions leads to a relaxed and sunken, comfortable quality.

Lightness

When you practice a form with the emphasis on comfort, tranquility and balance you can begin to develop the quality of lightness. A keen sensitivity is developed and movements become unrestrained and light. Lightness of movements leads the way to sticking skills, which require a keen sensitivity to your own actions and those of the opponent.

Agility

Once you have achieved lightness, agility is also developed. Being able to change with perfect timing, balance and coordination with the movements of the opponents requires agility. Perfect control of your own movements and the ability to connect to and follow the opponent lead to agility.

Circularity

The human body, with it’s myriad of muscular lever systems and the connective tissue matrix that assists movement and posture, moves optimally in arcs. The Tai Chi Chuan Hand Form therefore trains the student to find perfect arc like movements in all of the postures and techniques. Additionally all of these movements are carried out with the body moving as ‘one Qi’ – or as an entire unit. So that in any given technical execution, the optimised mechanical power capacity of the whole body is behind it.

Liveliness

After a student has trained the above qualities into their Hand Form practice, liveliness begins to develop. This leads to perfect and effortless opening and closing, extending and contracting, advancing and retreating.

You can learn Tai Chi by attending my classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays or by booking private tuition. Get in touch for details.