New beginners are always welcomed to join. We are a keen and friendly group; some students have been coming for many years because they have discovered that tai chi makes them “feel great”.
The sessions involve:
1- Warm up exercises: these are traditional Chinese exercises, combined with Mrs Bao’s own exercises, taken from her vast experience in sports and gymnastics and put together in a structured sequence to ‘oil our joints’ before we start.
2- Chi-kung (also spelt qigong): chi-kung means ‘energy work’. ‘Chi’ is the fundamental force in the universe – air, breath and nourishment. All things would be lifeless and static without chi. Chi is the driving force of the universe and human life, the energy that allows us to grow and develop as we pass through life. Without it we would regress and decay. Chi is the root of all energy.
Chi-kung exercises have been practiced for thousands of years and concentrate on three areas:
Better breathing – deep and natural
Greater concentration – focusing and balancing the mind
3- Energy awareness: exercises bringing our awareness of the energy field that surrounds us and every living thing
4- Tai chi practice: Tai chi is practised all over the world for the great health benefits it has to offer. It consists of gentle graceful flowing movement’s co-ordinated with deep breathing which increases self-awareness. Tai chi is best described as a sophisticated type of chi-kung and both are traditional Chinese arts. They are disciplines that can help:
– Improve balance, co-ordination and memory,
– Strengthen joints and develop and maintain flexibility,
– Enhance circulation and digestion,
– Boost the immune system function to help prevent illness,
– Help achieve and maintain correct body weight,
– Improve physical, mental and emotional health,
– Increase general vitality,
– Heighten awareness,
– Help reduce stress by promoting a sense of calm and well being,
– Slow the ageing process and helps prolong life.
Tai chi and chi-kung work with a subtle current of life energy, flowing through every living thing and when that flow gets blocked; our health systems begins to break down. The symptoms of blocked energy are first felt as tension and stress. The practice of tai chi and chi-kung help release physical blocks as well as emotional and mental ones, opening us up to the spiritual element of the practices. This eventually becomes the core of our training and we aim to practice tai chi and chi-kung to heal ourselves in order to open up to a maximum flow of life energy.
Approximately 70% of all doctors’ visits for modern complaints have the onset of the problem caused by stress factors, or blocked energy, in today’s frantic life. There are two ways energy gets blocked, either through an accident such as a broken limb or through internal unmanaged stress. Tai chi and chi kung help us find our flow of life energy through the use of breathing and relaxed slow movements, we enable the mind, body and spirit to let go of tension or ‘dis-ease'(lack of harmony) before it becomes a disease.
Breathing is the key to releasing the ‘world we all carry on our shoulders’, and so we encourage learners to come to sessions for no other reason than to ‘breathe’ and to ‘let go of their grip on the rat race from today’s frantic life style’ and then one day they will discover that they have grasped tai chi and chi kung naturally at deeper and deeper levels without any struggle