Qigong is a traditional Chinese practice of exercise for health maintenance, healing and increasing vitality.
Tai Chi is a branch of Qigong and, although it can be practiced as a martial art, my interest is in its health benefits.
There are many health benefits associated with Qigong: it improves relaxation, flexibility, muscle strength, lung capacity and joints as well as boosting bone health. Sleep is better. It reduces cholesterol levels, blood pressure and chronic pain, as well as depression and anxiety levels. It improves balance and reduces the risk of falls by the elderly. Memory is improved and it prevents or slows down the cognitive decline associated with ageing.
The NHS has a guide to Tai Chi which looks at the health benefits, has suggestions concerning whether it is a suitable exercise for various conditions, tips on getting started and how to find an instructor. See NHS: A Guide to Tai Chi.
It can be good fun, and is always relaxing and stimulating. It is a gentle, healthy, social exercise, that stretches body and mind whilst exercising the memory. The programme of exercises I offer will enable you to develop a healthier and stronger body whilst exploring new and different movements on the path to well-being. You will learn how to imitate the swimming dragon, stretch your wings like a white crane, pose like a peeping monkey and balance like a wild horse.
As the body ages, exercise that we may have enjoyed in the past is no longer appropriate or possible. One of the key benefits of Qigong is that old age is not a barrier. There are no physical impediments from excluding people from practicing. Every move and posture is enhanced by a tranquil mind. Deep breathing, relaxed stances and balance with slow movements is both mentally and physically calming, leading to stronger muscles and flexibility. Exercising mind and body is an effective way to reduce stress and avoid mental and physical tension. Whilst Qigong does not appear to be a strenuous exercise, it is cardiovascular and does raise the pulse.
The longer you embrace Qigong, the easier you absorb it into your daily routine. There are many benefits from participating in the class. One of these is the energy generated by a group of people exercising together. I have participated in many classes over a period of thirty years and I never cease to be amazed at how uplifted I feel by the experience.