I’m Claire. I have been practising Tai Chi and Qi Gong for 15 years. I hold teacher’s diplomas in Taiji 37 Form and Taijiwuxigong (Tai Chi and Qi Gong) from the Buqi Institute. I am extremely fortunate and very grateful to have been able to study with Taiji Grandmaster and teaching Lama Dr Shen Hongxun, and subsequent to his passing in 2011, his children Shen Jin and Shen Zhengyu. With them, I have studied Taijiwuxigong, Buqi Healing, Taiji 37 form, meditation and Taiji Sanshou, all of which draw on the basic principles of Taiji and use Taiji forces.
In 2002 I moved to Bristol. I was in my early 30’s and had been living and working abroad for several years. Whilst I appeared to have a successful career, travelling around Europe working for an international organisation, in reality I was physically and emotionally drained. I grew up near Bristol and decided to come home to put down some roots and be closer to my family. I soon started to go to Taijiwuxigong and Taiji classes run by my cousin Sarah B. In 2004 I began to study with Dr Shen.
At first I found I enjoyed the classes. They were a lot of fun, and I felt more relaxed afterwards. Little by little I began to notice bigger changes. I had more energy and felt less weighed down emotionally and physically, and day to day problems just didn’t seem to touch me in the same way. My relationships also changed. I felt calmer, and that set me on a journey of discovery of the benefits that the practice of Taiji, Qigong and meditation can have on both mind and body. I decided to follow the Buqi healing course. In 2007 I passed the exam. I then went on to gain a qualification in teaching Taijiwuxigong, passing my exam in 2010.
During this time I have had two children, and sometimes struggled, like many mums, with lack of sleep and the constant juggling act of trying to be there for my kids, run a household and hold down a demanding job. There have been times when I have not had enough strength, time or space to practice, and there have been times when this, combined with stressful situations has meant that life has not always been easy. However, I always know that I have the tools to help in difficult times, and the means to develop, grow and thrive when times are better. Classes and retreats are fun. They are also sometimes very hard work – not only physically but mentally too. However, the benefits are enormous.
For me, life has to be about more than getting through each day feeling like a mouse on a wheel. Quite simply, Tai Chi and Qi Gong make me feel happier, full of energy, and healthier.
Claire Mitcham, May 2016