Whether you are a seasoned Taiji practitioner wishing to develop your skill, a complete novice wanting to improve health and fitness or just looking to relax and de-stress, we aim to meet your needs.
Training Events are organised several times during the year. They provide an opportunity for students to consolidate their experience or learn something new.
From time to time we offer taster sessions for anyone wishing to try Taiji or Qigong.
Taiji class begins with a warm-up carefully designed to stretch the muscles and open the joints, making the body feel loose and flexible. Next comes standing meditation. With guidance from the teacher, students grow to enjoy this practice as it encourages deep relaxation in the joints and muscles, allows the spine to re-align and results in a more upright, relaxed posture. It also calms the mind. Students continue the class with a Taiji form that gives a complete and balanced workout. Balance and flexibility are improved, strengthening and toning the body, relaxing and calming the mind.
Taiji Quan Philosophy
Taiji Quan philosophy is drawn from ancient theory and principles of traditional Chinese medicine, Yi Xing(I Ching or Book of Changes),the writings of Lao Tzu and Confucius. But it is the Daoist concept of Yin and Yang (the opposite and balancing forces of the universe) that influence the practice of Taiji most: open and close, light and heavy, soft and hard, breathe in and breathe out, empty and full, attack and retreat, and so forth.
Taiji as a Martial Art
Taiji as a martial art uses energy, or Qi , to power movement rather than brute force (Li), hence the description internal art. Taiji translates as supreme ultimate, meaning harmony and balance within body and mind.
Quan means fist, representing the martial skills. In the beginning, Taiji training emphasises the basic movements and routines: learning to breathe correctly, practicing slowly, developing strength and self-control, being relaxed and centred. In time the applications and meditative aspect of Taiji become an integral part of practice.
Taiji for Health
Taiji for health is different to other forms of exercise as the focus is on the internal systems of the body (mind, organs, soft tissue and joints). Through correct practice we learn how to focus our minds and tune into our energy and align the body so that the internal energy, or Qi, can flow naturally. This helps to restore the inner balance and harmony so often lost through the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Qigong (Chi Kung) is a relatively new term introduced in the 1950s. It groups together a vast range of holistic health exercises practiced widely by the Chinese and classified as part of traditional Chinese medicine. The oldest exercises, known as Daoyin, contain the principles of leading and guiding to rid the body of pathogens and play a large part in the ancient practice of health preservation or Yang Sheng.
The purpose of Qigong is to cultivate mental calmness, improve physical fitness and prolong life. What sets it apart from other forms of exercise is that it is specifically designed to regulate body, breath and mind.
Qigong Class starts with a warm-up followed by learning Daoyin exercises designed to remove stagnation from the body and Qigong routines to balance the body’s organ systems.
Basic Principles of Qigong
Learning to adjust the physical structure, which gently aligns the body and allows the internal organs to be positioned correctly. This increases their efficiency, reduces tension and helps restore balance within the body.
Efficient respiration requires breathing in a conscious manner, regulating the pattern of inhalation and exhalation to stimulate the flow of Qi and energy within the body.
Regulating the mind:
Inner awareness and mental focus (Yi) is required in order to guide the physical movement and breath throughout the body.
It is the combination of these key principles that make Daoyin and Qigong exercises different, yet effective tools for improving our health and well-being.