Archives

New for Tuesday: Online Qi Gong Class

I am pleased to announce that we have a new online Qi Gong Class starting next Tuesday evening (7th September).

These are Tai Chi based Qi Gong classes with a focus on health and wellbeing. During the pandemic, our Monday evening class moved online. The Monday class is now back in-person, so this Tuesday evening class will allow those people who cannot attend in person, to continue their practise. Please email me to register: claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk.

Online learning has proved a great substitute for in-person practise during the pandemic. However online learning does have some limitations, and I would recommend that you come to a Monday evening in-person class every few weeks. Alternatively, I am happy to provide an individual or small group session on an ad-hoc basis, so that you can get some in-person tuition. Beginners and improvers are all welcome.

Tuesday online class details:

When: Tuesday 6.30 – 7.30pm

Where: Online via Zoom

What: Tai Chi based Qi Gong. These are health exercises from the Taijiwuxigong system, as taught by Dr Shen Hongxun.

Cost: £5.00 per session.

Who: All are welcome, whatever your age or experience – we will start with the basics, and everyone works at their own pace.

Registration

Please email me to register and get the Zoom link on claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk. If you have any questions about whether this class will be suitable for you, I will be more than happy to discuss with you.

If this does not work for you, please see my classes page, for other options.

This entry was posted on 1st September 2021.

Monday evening classes are back in-person

Qi Gong classes Bristol

I am delighted to say that Monday evening classes will be back in-person from 6th September. These are Tai Chi based Qi Gong classes with a focus on health and wellbeing. We have continued online during the pandemic, but we are now able to go back to our venue: Horfield Baptist Church. Please email me to register: claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk.

Monday evening in-person class details:

When: Monday 7.30 – 8.30pm

Where: Horfield Baptist Church

What: Tai Chi based Qi Gong. These are health exercises from the Taijiwuxigong system, as taught by Dr Shen Hongxun.

Cost: £10.00 per session.

Who: All are welcome, whatever your age or experience – we will start with the basics, and everyone works at their own pace.

Covid precautions for in-person classes:

We are moving to a larger room at the Church; The Griffin Hall. This room is directly accessible from Brynland Avenue. It is much larger than our previous room, so there is plenty of space for social distancing. The high ceiling and two entrance doors will help to increase ventilation.

I will carry out a full Risk Assessment in advance of the start of term. This will focus on Ventilation, Social Distancing and hygiene, and the results will be added to my website. You will need to bring your own mat for lying down exercises as I can no-longer provide these.

Registration

If you would like to come along to our in-person Monday evening classes, you are more than welcome. The hall is large, but there will be a limit of 20 people for this class, so you will need to register in advance. Please email me to register on claire@taichibodyandmind.co.uk. If you have any questions about whether this class will be suitable for you, I will be more than happy to discuss with you.

If this does not work for you, please see my classes page, for other options.

This entry was posted on 24th August 2021.

Good posture for meditation

Why is this important?

Good posture in meditation practise is important for a number of reasons. If you try to meditate with a collapsed body posture, you will not get the benefits that mediation can bring. If your shoulders are slumped forward or to one side, and your chin is protruding forwards, with the back of your neck closed, you will cause yourself problems. You will be less alert, you will probably experience some pain, your body and your energetic channels will be compressed and you may even find that you are damaging your health.

The best position for meditation

I run online meditation classes, as well as Qigong classes that include some meditation practise. In these classes we largely use sitting and lying down meditation techniques We always begin by stretching and opening the spine. This helps us to get good results, and feel more comfortable. if you can sit in full lotus comfortably, this is the best option. But for beginners, or anyone who cannot sit in full lotus, the best way to meditate in a sitting position is to use a chair. This allows your hips to be at the same level or slightly higher than your knees. If you try to sit in full lotus, but your body is not really ready, you will again find you have problems with your posture. If you sit in half lotus, your spine will not be straight, but offset to one side.

Here are a couple of links by other meditation teachers which discuss the problem.

https://www.yogainspires.co.uk/meditation-positions-how-to-stop-slouching-when-you-meditate/

https://www.wildmind.org/posture/slumping

How to prepare for meditation practise

While classes are paused during the summer, this is a great time to practise your sitting meditation position. Here is a link to a You Tube video made by me. It takes you through the preparation for a sitting meditation. It looks at how to sit, how to use your feet to lift and open your spine, and how to work gently through different areas. You will need to do this for a few minutes before your meditation practise. You can also just practise the stretch without doing any meditation, just using it to open up your body and improve your posture.

Enjoy your practise and we will catch up again in September.

This entry was posted on 26th July 2021.

What is this thing called Qi Gong?

Daoyin Tu - some of the earliest known Qi Gong exercises

When people ask what I do, I usually tell them I teach Tai Chi. The truth is though that this is a shorthand catch-all term for what I do. I teach Tai Chi & Qi Gong for health. I also teach meditation as part of this. I’m not into fighting, and I don’t teach the martial aspects of Tai Chi. I’m interested in health and feeling good. Most classes I teach focus on Taijiwuxigong (pronounced Tai Chi Woo She Gong) – a form of Qi Gong developed by a Tai Chi Grandmaster, teaching Lama and medical Doctor from Shanghai called Shen Hongxun. He based his system on Tai Chi principles but made it easier to access the health benefits of Tai Chi more quickly. You can find out more about his work here: https://www.buqiinstitute.com/

A very brief summary…

People have been practising forms of Qi Gong (often referred to as Daoyin) for at least 2,500 years. The picture above shows part of a scroll called the Daoyin Tu, found in a tomb in China dated to 168BC. Taijiwuxigong is part of this tradition. Very briefly; this form of Qi Gong differs from others in that we focus on letting go of negative or sick Qi. Dr Shen called this Binqi. This ‘letting go’ is combined with the activation of the Dantian, and the body’s energy system, and a focus on opening up the spine and all the joints.

Binqi represents bio-chemical waste products that our bodies do not need. Most Binqi is cleared through normal metabolic processes, but sometimes the body is not totally efficient in doing this, and some elements get left behind. They often get stuck around the spine and joints. Binqi also includes the idea of stress, tension and negative emotion. Dr Shen developed the theory of the double vicious circle. This describes how the combination of poor body posture and stuck Binqi can cause pain and chronic disease.

This form of Qi Gong emphasises clearing Binqi, thus allowing Qi to move naturally around the body. By contrast other forms of Qi Gong (as I understand it) seek to conserve all Qi, and move all Qi around the body. Dr Shen used to talk about the problems this can cause for health. In particular I remember him describing how, during the Qi Gong craze of the 1980’s in China, he was called in by the Chinese Government, to help people who had mental health problems, as a result of practising certain forms of Qi Gong.

Qi Gong classes

So how can you expect to feel when you come to a class? What happens in a Taijiwuxigong class is explained here. If you want to find out more about Qi, and Dr Shen’s theory of the double vicious circle have a look at the following posts: https://www.buqiinstitute.com/binqi-and-expelling-binqi/

This post is about the changes you might notice in your body and mind when you practise Taijiwuxigong, and how you might feel.

How does Qi Gong practise change us?

When I started Qi Gong classes I was having a tough time. I had been working in a stressful job for an international organisation and I found it toxic. I just wanted out. Moving back home to Bristol, I started going to Taijiwuxigong classes run by my cousin Sarah B. Sarah is a great teacher, she explained the exercises really well, and I immediately began to feel better emotionally – happier and not so weighed down by my worries. I was not that comfortable with some of the talk about Qi though. This was new to me and I was a bit sceptical. But I felt so much better. So I decided not to worry about why it was working – suspend judgement, and just dive in and have a go.

Hitting the wall – opening the door…….

After a while I started to feel physical changes too – funny twinges and aches as my spine and body opened up. I kept on going, and they went away. I’ve noticed from teaching others, that this is the point when some people stop coming. They might feel some physical or emotional pain as the body starts to open up. It’s like hitting a wall. Letting go is hard, and when you do, seeing yourself can be hard and classes can be physically and emotionally hard work. I’ve read posts by Yoga teachers in the past that talk about the same thing.

I understand why some people stop coming at this point, but if you get through it, you can really begin to work on yourself and start to make real change. It’s a continual process though. Very gradually, you will start to feel new and different sensations in your body. They can include vibration, movement of energy, sensations of warm or cold, and more.

The way we experience and perceive these changes can be different for different people. Some people do not feel very much in a physical sense. I suspect this has something to do with Interoception. Sometimes after 20 years, I feel I have barely scratched the surface of what Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation have to offer. Its a bit like the Socratic paradox – the more you learn, the more you realise you know very little. For me that is fascinating – an endless mystery – always revealing more. Its a journey, but it can be hard. As one of my teacher’s said recently, ‘people open the door, but they do not always go through’.

What Qi Gong means to me

Qi Gong, like Tai Chi, is lots of things. For me it has been first and foremost a journey of discovery – one that helps me to feel happier and healthier. These days, having studied for a while, I understand much better how it works – even well enough to share it with others! I’m completely comfortable with all the talk of Qi, Binqi, Dantian and energy channels. I can feel how energy moves around my body. I can feel tension in my body and mind, and I can also feel this leaving. My spine feels longer, I stand taller, and I feel calmer, lighter and brighter when I have been practising.

Life isn’t always easy, especially right now, but this practise helps me to re-set my computer(as Dr Shen used to say) and deal with the difficult things.

This entry was posted on 19th July 2021.

What should I wear for Tai Chi & Qi Gong?

You don't need any special clothes to do Tai Chi

The best things to wear for Tai Chi, Qi Gong and meditation classes are warm, comfortable clothing and flat shoes.

The best clothes for Tai Chi

You don’t need a Tai Chi suit or any special clothing. You just need to be comfortable, warm and be able to move freely. Jeans or tight trousers or skirts are not great for practise as they are quite restrictive.

You do need to make sure you don’t get cold though. Once you start work, and your Dantian gets moving, you will find you warm up. Of course you don’t want to overheat, but if the air is cold, it is important to keep your arms covered. I’ve seen pictures of people doing Tai chi in the snow, or in very cold weather. It is not a great idea. When you practise Tai Chi & Qi Gong you will warm up, your skin pores will open, and Qi will flow through your meridians to the fingers and toes. If the air is cold and you are wearing only a vest or T-shirt, then this process does not function well.

When you meditate your body naturally starts to slow down, and you will get cooler. So if you are joining a meditation session it is particularly important to keep warm. Please wear warm clothes that cover your arms. If you are joining an online session have a blanket ready to keep warm. It’s also important to keep your feet warm, so socks are a good idea.

What shoes should I wear?

The best shoes to wear for Tai Chi & Qi Gong are flat soled shoes that allow some space for your feet and toes to stretch out and open up. For this reason, any shoes where the heel is raised up are not a good idea. I do not find trainers to be ideal, as they can often hold your feet in quite a restrictive way. But if you have problems with your arches, then the support that some trainers give can be useful. The best shoes will be different for different people. My preference is for simple cotton soled Tai Chi shoes that can be bought in any martial arts shop, or online.

It also depends on your floor. If you are working on a very slippy floor, then you will want to choose a shoe which does not allow you to slip and fall. If i’m practising on a carpeted floor at home, I often just wear socks. I like the way it allows my toes and feet to soften, open up, and I really feel like they are melting into the floor. Unless it is very warm, you should not practise in bare feet, for the reasons outlined above. Cold feet and Tai Chi, Qi Gong or meditation do not mix well.

This entry was posted on 7th July 2021.

Tai Chi & Qi Gong – 5 benefits for sport

The health benefits are much discussed, but have you ever considered that Tai Chi & Qi Gong can have benefits for sport? Whether you are an elite athlete, an amateur sports enthusiast or simply a regular runner, Tai Chi & Qi Gong (including meditation) are great ways to complement your training regime and improve your performance.

If you are serious about your sport, it’s likely you have heard of cross training. In essence this is about complementing your usual training schedule with a different kind of exercise. But this does not have to be high intensity. Tai chi and Qi Gong are great low impact ways to cross train. They help bring greater balance into both body and mind, and can help in a number of ways.

The Harvard Medical School guide to Tai Chi includes a whole Chapter on the ways that Tai Chi benefits Sport. Below are just 5 of the ways it can help.

What can regular Tai Ch & Qi Gong practise do?

  1. Stay calm, stay focused, and stay in the moment. Tai chi can help you to improve your mental focus and performance under pressure – especially at key points in a match or race. So whether you are taking a penalty, improving your racing starts, or swinging a golf club, Tai Chi and Qi Gong classes will help you to get into the zone. This is the space psychologists call ‘flow’. Here’s a good article that summarises some of these benefits: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tai-chi-health_b_5434837
  2. Improve your mental health. Many athletes struggle with the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Tai chi, Qi gong and meditation help regulate your nervous system and improve your posture. They help you feel calmer, lighter, brighter and happier. They help you to deal with the stresses and strains of life and the intense pressure that comes with elite sport. See this article on understanding the stress response for more details.
  3. Allow your body to move freely, more flexibly, and without tension. When you practise Tai Chi, you learn to relax the muscles, open the joints and connect with the ground. This helps to develop power without tension and increases flexibility. You have more energy, but with less physical force – allowing you to use your body more efficiently. Here’s a video which explores how you can use Tai Chi principles to move more freely and efficiently to improve athletic performance. https://instituteforrehabilitativeqigongandtaichi.org/training-tips-training-topic-tai-chi-for-sports-rehabilitation-athletic-performance/
  4. Improve your balance, co-ordination and reflexes. Tai Chi also works on the nervous system, improving your sense of balance, and helping you to connect better with the ground. It also enhances neuromuscular pathways and improves muscular reflexes. With practise, you will be physically more centred and able to change weight and direction more quickly. This study looks at Tai Chi, balance and reflexes: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51035366_Effects_of_Long-Term_Tai_Chi_Practice_on_Balance_and_H-Reflex_Characteristics
  5. Injuries. When you reduce the tension around your muscles and joints and you move more fluidly, you reduce the risk of injury to the musculo-skeletal system. If you are injured, you can focus your practise on healing the areas of your body that need rehabilitation. Here’s just one example with an article by a podiatrist on how Tai chi can help the healing process: https://powerpodiatry.com.au/tai-chi-exercise-therapy-part-1/

One Tennis playing Tai Chi practitioner summed her experiences up in the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi:

“Being in the present instead of over thinking is most helpful. Now I await a serve without anticipation, balanced on my feet and confident that when the moment comes I will organise a coherent response that’s suited to the moment – a plan but not a plan. And when I can do that, both my opponent and I are often surprised by what happens next, as I react more effectively than either of us thought possible”.

This entry was posted on 22nd June 2021.

Tai Chi Parkinson’s Bristol: New Class

For Friendship, Fitness & Feeling Fantastic…..

We are very pleased to announce that the Tai Chi class for Bristol Parkinson’s group will be re-starting in September 2021. I will be running the class alongside Sarah B. from Buqi Works. Sarah has been teaching the Parkinsons’s group for a number of years already and has a huge amount of knowledge and experience, not just about Tai Chi & Qi Gong, but about how best to teach to help Parkinson’s sufferers and people with long term health conditions. If you haven’t done Tai Chi or Qi Gong before, come along and give it a go. We look forward to meeting you.

When and Where:

Lincombe Barn, Downend Folk House BS16 2RW.

Fridays in school terms. 10.15 – 12.15 (Includes tea/coffee break).

What does a Tai Chi class for Parkinson’s involve?

This is a gentle Tai Chi & Qi Gong class aimed specifically at helping you if you have Parkinson’s disease. We also welcome carers and family members. The class includes standing Qi Gong exercises from the Taijiwuxigong system. Some people need to sit and we can change the exercises a bit for this. We also teach some simple Tai Chi form. This is adapted for people with balance and mobility problems. If you do not have Parkinson’s, but you have mobility and balance issues, and/or a chronic health condition, this class may also be suitable for you. There is no pressure. You do not have to achieve any kind of standard. Just go at your own pace, take a chance to relax, and enjoy yourself.


How can it help me?

The evidence suggests that Tai Chi can help to improve motor function and balance in people with Parkinson’s disease, as well as gait and posture. https://www.epda.eu.com/living-well/therapies/complementary-therapies/tai-chi/ Some people with Parkinson’s disease also say that they sleep better when they practise Tai Chi. The practise is thought to have a wide range of other benefits for your health generally. For example, it can improve your heart health and fitness levels as well as your mental wellbeing.

A chance to share:

There are two 45 minute sessions, with a half hour break for tea and coffee. Our participants really value the chance to sit down and chat between the sessions. Over the years, this has become a really important part of the session. Talking to other people who are going through the same thing as you is so valuable when you have a long-term health condition. These sessions have helped our participants to make new and lasting friendships.

Cost:

The class is kindly supported by Bristol Parkinson’s. This means that we can run the class at a reduced cost so you only need to pay £7.00 for a 2 hour session.

Safety

A Covid secure risk assessment has been carried out, and we will keep this constantly under review. You can participate safe in the knowledge that we are following Government guidelines on Covid-secure teaching practises.

This entry was posted on 17th June 2021.

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.