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Mental Health Awareness Week 10-16 May

Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health awareness week, promoted by the Mental Health Foundation. What better time to start practising Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation?

The mental health benefits of these practises are now quite well known. They include relief from depression, anxiety, chronic stress and insomnia, as well as improved concentration. For many of us, the ability to calm our minds and feel a sense of quiet is key to our enjoyment of Tai chi. This is a mindful practise and is often referred to as a moving meditation.

When we spend our lives in a state of chronic stress, always on adrenaline, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation give some respite. They all help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system – our ‘rest and repair’ function. Harvard Medical School recommends Tai Chi as a way to combat long term chronic stress, and my previous post looks at why this is.

People also find the improvement in their physical health from practising Tai Chi, and this benefits their mental health – long term chronic physical illness can have a really negative impact on our mental health.

Approximately 15% of us are Neurodiverse. My own personal experience is that, for people with conditions such as Autism and ADHD, the calming benefits of Tai chi, Qi Gong and Meditation can have a positive impact on our mental health and help to calm our racing minds.

This year, the focus of Mental Health awareness week is Nature, and the Mental Health Foundation provides some top tips for getting out into nature, including exercising in Nature. We run a weekly Tai Chi in the park class on a Tuesday evening in the summer months (weather permitting), and we still have some limited spaces available. If that doesn’t work for you, then we have regular Tai Chi/Qi Gong and Meditation classes online throughout the year. These will return to their venues in September 2021.

This entry was posted on 12th May 2021.

Make Time For Wellness with Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation

Make time for Wellness with Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation

When we are under a lot of stress and pressure, the first thing that tends to get squeezed out, is the very thing which makes us feel good. Yet this is the very time when we need to do something to ease the stress and tension in our lives, and rejuvenate ourselves. Tai chi, Qi Gong and Meditation are increasingly recognised for their Wellness benefits. You only need to take an hour or two out of your schedule each week to practise and nurture yourself.

When I worked full time in a professional office environment, my weekly Tai chi class was often the thing that calmed me down and kept me grounded. When I missed it, I really noticed the difference. I’m not the only one. Below are just a few quotes from people who have attended my classes. They show what a difference Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation can make to how you feel.

What People Said

It’s harder work than I thought it would be, but afterwards I feel much better and I have more energy – Maddie W

These Tai Chi classes have become an indispensable part of my week. An hour of invaluable calm amidst the usual hectic schedule! – Jane C.

Before I came to Claire’s classes I had to think twice about bending down to pick something up off the floor. Now I do it without thinking. Lisa E

Before I came to Claire’s classes I could not lift my arms above my shoulder height. Now I can stretch right up and reach for the sky! Tat M

I feel fresh, invigorated and clear, with much less muscle tension after each class. Sam L

I always come away feeling positive and calm, rebalanced and aligned – physically and emotionally. Lucy B

I find it great for helping managing the stresses and worries of life. I would really recommend these classes for all ages. Lucy W.

Beginners are always welcome. There are several online classes running per week, and a new Tai Chi in the Park Class is just starting – Make time for Wellness and try Tai chi, Qi Gong and Meditation.

Tai Chi in the park is back

Tai chi in the park Bristol

Tai chi in the park

The weather is warming up (hopefully!) and its time to start thinking about Tai Chi in the park again for the summer.

There will be no limit to the size of the group this year, so all are welcome. This class will focus on learning Tai Chi form. This is Dr Shen’s Taiji 37 form, which is based on Yang style. It is a perfect class for beginners as we are starting from scratch. We will also do some standing Qi Gong exercises. For a flavour of what we will be doing, have a look at the video clip here

The aim is to start on Tuesday 20th April (weather and temperature permitting).

The location is Muller Road Recreation Ground from 6.00 – 7.00pm.

If you would like to book a place for Tai chi in the park, please email me on claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk or use the contact form.

The aim will be to continue this class indoors in the Autumn provided a suitable location can be found. It is important to remember that learning the form is more about the process than it is about knowing all the moves, so however much you learn over the summer, you will be getting the usual mental and physical health benefits of doing Tai Chi and Qi Gong.  

In the meantime our other classes are continuing online. If we have good weather, we may also take the Tai chi / Qi Gong class outdoors on some days.

This entry was posted on 31st March 2021.

Tai Chi & Qi Gong – Free Taster

Tai Chi & Qi Gong exercises
Tai chi & Qi Gong

We begin a new term with a Tai chi and Qi Gong free taster session at UWE Bristol this Thursday. For the time being classes remain online and are open to all. 

So if you want to reduce anxiety and manage stress, boost your immune system and improve your general fitness, health and wellbeing, then this might be something for you. 

time: 12.30 – 1.30pm

Location: Zoom

What do I need: Warm comfy clothes and enough space so that you can exercise standing up and lying down. A mat / blanket or carpet is also useful.

This Tai chi & Qi Gong free taster is an online drop-in session and no previous experience is needed. We are practising for health so there is no martial application and no form to learn. Come along and give it a try this week (29th October). Email claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk for the zoom link. 

I teach a Tai chi based Qi Gong system called Taijiwuxigong. Every class includes a short 15/20 minute lying down guided meditation. To find out more have a look at my website here: https://www.taichibodyandmind.co.uk/taijiwuxigong/

This entry was posted on 26th October 2020.

Friday Morning Meditation Online

Friday Morning Online Meditation

Starting on 23rd October I will be running regular Friday Morning online meditation sessions. Time: 8.30 – 9.00am.

These session are suitable for both beginners and more experienced practitioners. We will practise a simple but effective meditation technique used in Tai chi and Qi Gong. This is known as Wuxi meditation.  It has a cleansing effect on your body, re-balances your nervous system, quietens your mind, and helps regulate your emotions. 

Good meditation practise is not just about relaxation. It is about finding the centre of the mind, using good body posture and breathing exercises as a foundation. In our Friday morning meditation online sessions we will practise in 3 stages. First we will stretch and open the spine and joints, then we will use breathing and sound vibration techniques, and then we will practise finding and holding the quiet space within ourselves. This will be a lovely, calming, lying down meditation that will set you up for the weekend. 

You will need a mat to lie on, warm clothes and/or a blanket. It is important not to get cold during meditation exercises. For more information have a look at my meditation page: https://www.taichibodyandmind.co.uk/wuxi-meditation/

These online meditation sessions are provided by UWE Move and they are open to all. So whether you are a student, staff member, or member of the public you are welcome to join us.

The first two sessions will be free of charge – just email me on claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk to get the zoom link. After that you will need to pay. You can either join UWE MOVE for a one-off fee, or you can pay as a guest for each class. Details of the MOVE scheme can be found here: https://www.uwe.ac.uk/life/activities/sport/membership-options/move

This entry was posted on 14th October 2020.

Tai Chi & Qi Gong – Online classes

I am currently running two weekly classes online. These are Tai chi and Qi Gong classes. I teach exercises from the Taijiwuxigong system, with a 15 / 20 minute lying down meditation at the end. Spaces are limited and priority goes to existing and previous students. However, if you have never tried my classes before and you are interested to give it a go, contact me and I will do my best to fit you in.

For further info and class links, please contact me on claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk

Classes are as follows:

Monday evenings – Tai chi & Qi Gong via Zoom.

Time: 7.30 – 8.30pm.

Cost: £5.00 payable online via paypal or bank transfer.

This class will continue until we can resume normal classes. 


Thursday lunchtimes – Tai chi & Qi Gong via Zoom.

Time: 12.30 – 13.30 pm.

This class is provided by University of West of England and will continue online throughout Autumn 2020. 

This entry was posted on 27th June 2020.

Tai Chi in the Park: New class

As the lockdown has now eased, I am starting a new outdoor Tai chi class.

The group is limited to 5 students, and social distancing rules will be observed. If there is an opportunity to increase numbers safely at a later date, I will do so.

I currently have one space left in this class, which takes place at Muller Road Recreation Ground on Tuesday evenings. Cost is £8.00 per person. If you would like to join, please email me on claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk or use the contact form.

This will be a Tai chi form class. We will be working on the Taiji 37 form and standing postures as taught to me by Grandmaster Dr Shen Hongxun and his daughter Master Shen Jin. The class will also include standing Tai chi and Qi Gong exercises.  The form takes a while to learn, so this will be an introduction. It is important to remember that learning the form is more about the process than it is about knowing all the moves, so however much we learn over the summer, you will be getting the usual mental and physical health benefits of doing Tai Chi.  

This entry was posted on 10th June 2020.

Poor Mental Health at work: what it costs…..

A report released this week by Deloitte Uk has calculated that poor mental health at work cost employers £43 billion in 2018. That is a huge rise of 16% from 2016. Quite apart from the economic implications, this suggests we are living through an epidemic of stress and anxiety in the workplace. This has impacts on all aspects of our lives. As a society, we need to address this – fast!

More and more employers are realising that they need to help their staff in managing their mental health. Putting in place the means to help with mental health problems is important, but more and more companies are now going further. They are starting to tackle the problem upstream, by promoting resilience and workplace wellbeing.

There are lots of ways to do this. Bristol City Council has a website that gives ideas and resources. Mind has a variety of tools to help employers improve mental health at work.

But if you want to do something quick, and give your employees a boost, why not look into providing Tai chi & Qi Gong or meditation sessions? To find out more, have a look at our workplace wellbeing page, or email claire@taichibodyanmind.co.uk

There are many health benefits. Physical activities like Tai chi and Qi Gong help to re-balance the body’s nervous system and make us feel calmer and happier. They are also good for physical fitness, and help with long term chronic health problems associated with standing or sitting at work. This is a great way to show that you take your employees mental and physical health seriously.

This entry was posted on 22nd January 2020.

Tai chi & Qi Gong: 5 common myths and misconceptions

Tai chi and Qi Gong are mindful forms of exercise that are becoming more and more popular. They are gaining increasing recognition for their mental and physical health benefits, but they are still underrated as a fun route to health, fitness and happiness that works for all ages.

Lets have a look at some of the main reasons why you might think Tai chi and Qi Gong is not for you………….

  1. You think Tai chi is something Martial and you don’t fancy fighting.
  2. You think it is just for old people.
  3. You can’t commit to regular attendance, and you assume learning the ‘form’ requires you to come every week.
  4. You think it looks too easy / boring / slow and you prefer high impact sports.
  5. You don’t have time.

Well if that’s the case then you’d be wrong on every count!

Lets have a look at each one of these myths.

1. You think Tai Chi is something Martial and you don’t fancy fighting. Ok so Tai chi was originally a Martial Art, and there are classes where you can learn the martial application of Tai chi (which is actually great fun). But most people now practice Tai chi and Qi Gong for health. There is no martial training or fighting in my classes. We practice a series of standing and moving exercises to open up the body. They improve your posture, get your energy flowing more freely by clearing toxins and tensions, and calm the mind. Because of this, Tai chi and Qi Gong are great for tackling a wide range of mental and physical health problems. If you come to class you won’t have to touch anyone!

2. It’s just for old people. OK so you’ve seen pictures of older people doing Tai chi form in parks. But actually, just like swimming, walking, dancing or running, Tai chi and Qi Gong are for everyone. I’ve taught people of all ages from 4 – 94. Younger kids love the Animal exercises we do. These involve lots of jumping around. Adults of all ages enjoy the classes. They can be hard work. The exercises get you sweating and your energy flowing. You practice at your own level, so they are adaptable for all ages and abilities. The less mobile can even practice sitting down.

3. You can’t commit to regular attendance and learning the ‘form’ requires you to come every week. Those pictures of older people in parks again! Tai chi is often practised as a form, and I do teach the taiji 37 form, but this is only 1 way to practice. Actually, my teacher, Dr Shen Hongxun said that Tai chi is not form, form is a way to learn Tai chi principles, but it is not the only way. The exercises I teach from Dr Shen’s Tai chi and Qi Gong system (Taijiwuxigong) are individual standing and moving exercises that will help you to learn those principles, opening up the spine and all the joints, and clearing the body of tension, toxins and stress (or binqi). So you don’t need to come every week if time is an issue – bear in mind though that the more you put in, the more you get out.

4. You prefer high impact sports – this looks too easy / boring / slow. Actually Tai chi has recently been shown to have cardio benefits, so it is not necessary to do high impact sports to stay fit and have good heart health. It can also be hard work, and exercises every part of your body. Lots of people like higher impact exercise and team sports though, and Tai chi and Qi Gong can be a great compliment to those kinds of exercise. Because we are working on opening and clearing the joints and relaxing the muscles, it can be a great way to help heal sports and other injuries. Some people do struggle to slow down, but surprise themselves at how great they feel after a session working with the body’s energy and mind.

5. You don’t have time. Perhaps this is the most difficult myth to de-bunk! No-one really has time these days, and everyone’s lives are a bit crazy – but if you are living life at super speedy pace, then you are probably spending too much time on adrenaline. That means your sympathetic nervous system is too active and you are always in ‘fight or flight’ mode. Sooner or later it is likely you will crash. You may already be feeling the strain. Coming to class will give you some respite and help you manage your energy better. These exercises help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system ‘or rest and repair’ and bring your body back into balance. It’s like re-setting the clock. Each week at the end of class we also do a guided lying down meditation. As one Bristol University student said to me recently “This is my favourite 15 minutes of the week”.

A UWE staff member recently said: “I have found taking an hour out of the week for Tai Chi is a great way to do something new and allow my mind to regroup away from the desk – I recommend it!”

So how to do I start? If you want to come to class then have a look at my options for public classes. If these do not suit you, then there are other teachers in the Bristol area. Alternatively I would be happy to come to your workplace or run one or more sessions for a group or organisation you are involved with. Just send me an email on claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk

This entry was posted on 16th October 2019.

Bristol Companies: Workplace Wellbeing quick wins…..

Does your workplace wellbeing strategy need a boost?

In my previous job I worked on a number of strategies. I understand the importance of delivering quick wins – something tangible that will make a real difference in the short term, while you go through the process of developing a holistic approach that engages staff.

Tai chi and Qi Gong and meditation are mindful practices that can have a real impact on mental and physical health. If you would like me to come into your workplace and deliver a one-off or regular session, get in touch on claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk and have a look at my Workplace Wellbeing page for options.

This entry was posted on 1st May 2019.

Bristol Uni – Exam De-stress Sessions

I am now running sessions designed to help relieve exam stress at Manor Hall, Bristol University. Sessions are open to all students and run from 1.00 – 2.00pm on Tuesday lunchtimes throughout May.

Book in through active residences or just come along. Manor Hall is just around the corner from the SU on Lower Clifton Hill. We are in the reception room on the ground floor.

This entry was posted on 1st May 2019.

UWE Bristol Meditation Sessions

This month I am providing free meditation sessions for UWE students:

Frenchay: 2nd May 12.00 – 12.30 The Octagon

Bower Ashton: 14th May 11.30 – 12.00 Room OB16

Glenside: 16th May 11.00 – 11.30 Room OSC14

Book in through UWE MOVE

This entry was posted on 1st May 2019.

Classes Resume for 2019

Happy New Year.

Classes start back in 2019 on the following dates:

Monday evening – Horfield Baptist Church – 7.30pm – RESUMES MONDAY 7TH JAN – to book email me on claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk  or book in through Move GB.

Tuesday lunchtime – Bristol University – 1.00pm – RESUMES TUESDAY 15TH JAN (Book through active campus)

Thursday lunchtime – UWE Frenchay – 12.30pm – RESUMES THURSDAY 17TH JAN (Book through UWE Move)

I look forward to seeing you there…..

all the best

Claire

 

This entry was posted on 7th January 2019.

FREE SESSIONS WITH THIS GIRL CAN…….

Next week I am running my classes at UWE and Bristol University as part of THIS GIRL CAN week. That means participation is free for women. Follow the links below to sign up for a free session:

For Bristol Uni –  Tuesday 20th November –  1.00pm – 2.00pm. (Students only)  sign up here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/sport/events/2018/tgc2018.html

For UWE Bristol – Thursday 22nd November – 12.30pm – 1.30pm.  sign up here: https://www.thestudentsunion.co.uk/opportuniti…/thisgirlcan/

 

This entry was posted on 16th November 2018.

Master Shen Jin comes to Bristol in November

Master Shen Jin will teach a four day Taijiwuxigong course from 1st – 4th November this year.

During the course Shen Jin will teach exercises from the Taijiwuxigong system developed by her late father Dr Shen Hongxun. This will be the first time she has taught Taijiwuxigong in the UK for a number of years and so it is a great opportunity to study with the head teacher of this fantastic Qigong system.

The course is open to all and beginners are most welcome. To sign up go to http://www.buqiinstitute.com/event/taijiwuxigong-course-bristol-uk/?instance_id=164

If you would like to read more about the Taijiwuxigong system then you can do so here: http://www.buqiinstitute.com/taijiwuxigong/.

This entry was posted on 17th October 2018.

BBC’s Trust me I’m a Doctor says Tai Chi improves health and fitness……

Interesting Episode of Trust Me I’m a Doctor on Wednesday this week.

Quite a few of us are already very clear that Tai Chi has a range of health benefits, but  it’s always great to see some scientific research on the subject and the favourable comparison with Zumba for Fitness and blood pressure results.  – And yes, Tai Chi and Qi Gong is hard work – it is not just waving your hands around!

 

This entry was posted on 12th October 2018.

Employers Offer: Reduced rates on a 6 week introductory course. Book before World Mental Health Day on 10th October.

Employers, have you ever thought of providing Tai Chi and Qi Gong classes as part of your range of initiatives to promote mental and physical health in the workplace?  Perhaps you are a member of staff who would love to see Tai Chi and Qi Gong being provided at work.  I am currently offering a reduced rate of £400 for a 6 week introductory course if you book before World Mental Health Day on October 10th.

A recent report by mental health charity MIND, found that work is the biggest cause of stress in people’s lives and that poor mental health is now the No.1 reason for staff absence. One of the main reasons why people come to my classes is to get help with stress or mental health problems. This article from Harvard Medical school explains how physical therapies like Tai Chi and Qi Gong can help.

The benefits for your staff will not just be about giving them a break,  calming the mind and energising the body. It will be of particular help to those people who feel under stress, but do not feel that they want to discuss this with you as an employer. MIND found that although half of workers had experienced poor mental health in their current job, half of those people did not feel that this was something they wanted to discuss with their employer.  Providing classes therefore gives you an opportunity to be proactive in improving the mental and physical health of those people who are struggling unseen.

Options for classes can be found on my workplace wellbeing page.

If you are interested in providing either a one-off introductory session or regular Tai Chi and Qi Gong class for your staff, then please complete the contact form or email me at  claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk and we can discuss your requirements. I generally work in and around Bristol, the West of England and South East Wales. Alternatively, if you are a member of staff who would like to bring Tai Chi to your workplace, just send me the contact details of your HR or Well-being staff member, and I will follow up with them. I currently have several early morning and lunchtime slots available for corporate clients.

This entry was posted on 19th September 2018.

Easter Meditation with Shen Jin

This Easter, Master Shen Jin will run a 5 day meditation retreat at Harper Adams College, Shropshire. Details below:

 

About Wuxi Meditation

The focus of Wuxi Meditation is to find the Centre of the Mind – the place from where all thought originates. Both Buddha Sakyamuni and Padmasambava spoke of the Golden Light that can be found in this area. Discovering the Golden Light can help to open the door to spiritual development. This meditation can help to change old negative thought patterns, improve health, and awaken latent functions, such as our healing abilities.

You will learn how to use your physical structure to help you stay mentally clear and physically comfortable during the meditation. Most students sit on chairs and so it is perfect for those who find meditation sitting on the floor difficult. Exercises are also taught to help maintain flexibility during the course.

29 March – 2 April in Shropshire

Address
Harper Adams University
Newport
Shropshire
TF10 8NB
http://www.harper-adams.ac.uk

 

Course Fee
£250

Accommodation Options
Single room with all meals: £320

Extra night with breakfast on 28 March: £45.60

The majority of the rooms are singles with en-suite showers and the price includes full board and accommodation. Bedding and towels are also provided.

There are a small number of twins/doubles available for couples or families. Please book now if you require one of these rooms!

Camping with no meals: £12 per person per night

Camping with all meals: Please contact us for price quote.

Arrival & Departure
Registration starts at 12 noon on the first day. Lunch is available from 1-2pm and then the course starts at 3pm. On the last day we leave at 2pm after lunch.

Travel information
Call National Travel Enquiries on +44 (0)871 200 2233 for information on train and bus travel links from your main train station or airport.

The nearest airports are Manchester and Birmingham. The nearest railway stations are Stafford (main line) and Telford. The fastest route by train from London is via Euston to Stafford and then by taxi.

Online Booking
Reserve your place for the Shropshire meditation now!

This entry was posted on 26th February 2018.

Calm down for Christmas with Tai Chi

Christmas can be a stressful time of year. Everyone is looking forward to some time off, but for many of us, there is a rush to complete projects and meet deadlines before we can relax and let go.

An article by Harvard Medical School outlines the problems caused by chronic stress. These include anxiety, depression, weight gain, high blood pressure and lack of sleep. Fortunately, says the article, physical movement therapies such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong, which include deep breathing, meditation and mental focus, can help to calm the mind and body.

This year, I am offering one-off Tai Chi sessions for corporate clients. Why not treat your staff to a taster session and give them a lunchtime or morning break? Contact me for more details through the contact page.

This entry was posted on 10th November 2017.