Energising relaxation for better health and well-being
See Events page for details of current Wednesday sessions for the Hestercombe Chi Gung Group and Thursday evening classes in Taunton.
Various sets of traditional Chinese exercises are used to bring a more conscious awareness to what's happening in the body at any moment. Chi is the vitality we are conscious of; and 'gung' means doing something with it.
Chi gung and taichi are often described as meditation in movement – not just a physical practice but a way of connecting with the stillness and presence of the body when the brain is not distracted.
Practised for wellness and health, chi gung can strengthen immunity, help us make best use of our energy and delay the onset of age-related conditions. So while the exercises suit all ages they are especially beneficial as we get older.
The basic form of chi gung practised by The Hestercombe Group is Shibashi Taichi. This simple set of 18 flowing movements is a good introduction to the various systems of exercise and health that originated in ancient China.
Shibashi' just means '18 moves' but in the English language has come to represent sets of exercises derived from a variety of ancient traditions.
These sets have been developed in recent times by Medical Chi Gung doctors to create a modern, easy to learn style of taichi.
The shibashi taught here is the form passed on by its creators to Sifu Wing Cheung. You will see him performing Shibashi and hear testimonials on his website.
It takes approximately three months of regular practice of shibashi for benefits to start to accumulate. Once it becomes a daily routine then you can begin to notice the effects in increased wellbeing. Later on you may become aware that your immune function is stronger and you move more easily.
More Advanced Chi Gung
When you have learned the basic shibashi form and reached a certain standard you can move on to other chi gung sets. The Hestercombe Group may use for instance Silk Reeling, Opening the Energy Gates, Dragon and Tiger Chi Gung, Tai Chi 15, Shibashi II and The Marriage of Heaven and Earth.
After continued practice your perception of chi develops and you can relax more consciously – more easily let go of the stresses and strains of daily life.
Attention is given to developing your perception of chi and how the movements connect you to earth energy and solar energy. Traditionally this is known as 'nei gung'.
Particular emphasis is given to postural alignments and grounding exercises. To develop the perception of chi and accumulate it experientially there has to be increasing awareness of access to the chi of nature - earth-energy. Then, as the body becomes your true ground, so it is more open and available to receive solar energy, experienced as greater clarity.
Chi gung practice eventually becomes a demonstration of universal principles enacted in the experience of your own body. As these principles are the product of an evolutionary process of life on earth, we can employ chi gung to serve our own personal evolution in consciousness. In this way chi gung can be seen as an entry to a more conscious way of life - one that is relatively free of the psychological forces that currently enslave our civilisation . . . Such as anxiety, anger, depression, competitiveness, malice, disillusionment and all the negativity that besets us.