Use this ancient art form to relax and release the stress from both mind and body.
Buddhist qigong originated from India’s Hatha yoga and pranayama (breath and energy control) tradition over 4000 years ago. It traveled into China through two main sources. First, it came to the Shaolin Temple (home of kung fu) in central China, where it was taught to Buddhist monks to make their bodies strong enough to withstand prolonged meditation sessions and stay healthy. The second source of Buddhist qigong is the Tantric tradition of Tibet, from where it spread throughout western China and moved eastward.
Qi-gong is essentially about aligning breath with specific ways of moving and is described as both meditative cultivation and physical exercises. In combination it ends up addressing strength, flexibility and energy flow in the body at the muscular, skeletal and organ level. What makes Qi-gong suitable for everyone is its soft and gentle approach. All the movements and exercises are adaptable to whatever your needs are. To receive the enormous benefits from qi-gong will not take long after you have begun a regular practice. As little as a once a weekly class is sufficient to begin with. Obviously if you do more you will get even more benefit, but it needs to suit your life-style and routine.
Budhist Tai Chi is built on the foundation of the qi-gong. Tai Chi is essentailly the next step on from qi-gong, where postures are developed into a form of more complex movements in a way that harmonises mind, body and breath. Tai chi also drew on the martial arts of the time in the Southern Shaolin Temple where the form was developed. The from incorporates the pure crane style of martial arts which is famous in the south eastern China. The resulting form call Shuang Yang was used for cultivating the monks health as well as training in the martial abilities to defend themsekves.
By co-ordinating the postures with the breath in slow movements develops both flow and ultimate control. This results in the practitioner reaching a deep understanding of movement along with the strength and flexibility. This deep understanding of how ones own body moves would also enable the practitioner to predict those of an adersary, should the need arrive, and give the practitioner and advantage in the situation.
From a health perpective performing the Qi-Gong and Tai Chi release tension (the result of stress) freeing up the body and mind to work together as one. The result of this a better physical conditioning of the whole body (organs, muscles, sinews, bones etc) and a calming of the mind enabling one to better handle any given situation in day to day life..
"I originally started Tai Chi classes with Bryan a few years ago, as recommended by my physio, because I had painful knees after some tough hill-walking and hard skiing, after a lifetime of little exercise and a sedentary job. Bryan’s teaching of the various postures is relevant, informative and effective, whatever your ability, and I quickly started enjoying the classes and making them part of my weekly schedule. It took several months for my knees to slowly stop hurting and creaking, but on subsequent walking holidays I found that my legs were stronger and I was able to walk up and down hills (and stairs!) much more easily and painlessly. If ever I have backache now, a few Qi-Gong exercises quickly help me loosen up. I also find the controlled-breathing aspect of Tai Chi very beneficial and, particularly during the Covid-19 lockdown, the regular classes during the week have helped with my mental well-being. I think it also helped my recovery earlier in the year after I had a chest infection (possibly from Covid-19). I never thought Tai Chi would become such a central part of my life. I learn more at every class, as I attempt to continue improving. I particularly enjoy doing the “form” (often on my own, outside, in the middle of nowhere) – it makes me feel relaxed, refreshed and energised."
"I have been practising Qi-Gong and Tai Chi with Bryan for a few years now and can highly recommend his classes. Bryan is a brilliant teacher, he explains everything very clearly and is always very patient and understanding. After his “Zoom” classes he is always happy to answer questions and discuss any problems we might have. Since taking up Qi-Gong I have become much more aware of the benefits of breathing correctly and have found that the practice has quietened my mind and increased my energy levels. I just love learning the Tai Chi form with Bryan and feel it has strengthened my body and helped with my flexibility and balance. It is rather like a moving meditation and I always feel better after his classes."