Discover QigongWe can all appreciate the importance of staying active, and in recent years there’s been an increasing move towards more mindful exercise.
Mind-body activities such as Yoga and Tai Chi focus on a combination of movement, breathing and stretching, to improve physical and mental health. Qigong is another mind-body activity that’s growing in popularity: like Tai Chi, it involves graceful movements and can be enjoyed by all ages and fitness levels. If you’re looking for a new way to stay active at home, reduce stress and boost your mood, we’ve found the perfect exercise for you.
With roots in ancient Chinese medicine, philosophy and martial arts, Qigong is designed to cultivate and balance ‘qi’, which translates as ‘life energy’. The physical exercises are mainly standing, some are static, with others in a more dynamic flow to get the energy moving. Combined with breathing practices and meditation, Qigong promotes deep focus and a relaxed state. It centres on nourishing and balancing the organs, nurturing your internals and realigning the body.
Arron Collins-Thomas is a leading personal trainer and lifestyle coach, specialising in Qigong.
His popular Twelve Rivers course invites people of all ages and abilities to learn 12 movements over a five-day period for you to use every day for the rest of your life. Following the principles of the Wah Family System of 12 organs in the body, 12 meridians and a move for each, he takes you deep into the practice while developing your understanding of the responsibility and effect of each graceful move on your body.
Enjoyable, powerfully effective and quoted as ‘life- changing’, Qigong requires no special equipment - all you need is a space to stand and freely move your body - nor any experience. Focusing on moving, meditation and breathing, the mindful, flowing moves have a range of benefits for wellbeing, encouraging many people to make these activities part of their daily routine. Among many others, it’s reported to reduce anxiety, improve immune function and aid aches and pains. By balancing the organs with your emotions, you can begin to undo the stresses of a busy lifestyle and focus on your mind and body.
By no surprise, many have found comfort in Qigong during lockdown, practicing the 12 moves at their own speed and level. With more time to try something new, they have been able to refocus their mindset and lifestyle, finding a new inner-strength through a form of exercise that helps you to move in a way which makes you feel good.
To discover the 1000-year art of Qigong, Arron runs a virtual course via Zoom every Monday to Friday making it widely accessible to all. The five-day course takes not much longer than an hour a day and teaches you a sequence of gentle moves for you to repeat as and when you wish. If you fall head over heels for the practice, his follow-up course Heaven and Earth delves deeper into Qigong, where you will learn more advanced moves.