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Qigong & Meditation with Colin – Session 8

19 Apr 2023

Our qigong and meditation sessions are open to everyone. The class is great for those with chronic pain, chronic illness or mobility problems and has been thoughtfully put together with modifications on the exercises, making it suitable for all abilities. You don't need to have been before and don't worry if you can't make it to every session, you can always join us at the next one!

Wednesdays at 1pm. Suitable for all ages and abilities. £2.00 per Session.

How To Sign Up

Click on the Book Place button below.

About Qigong & Meditation

Qigong (pronounced “chee-gong”) is a traditional Chinese medicine mind-body practice. Research has shown that qigong can be beneficial for people living with chronic pain and reduced mobility. The gentle movement encouraged through the low-impact postures of qigong can help to improve circulation and promote healing. The focus on breathing and intention-setting in both qigong and meditation can help with anxiety and depression.

Please speak to your doctor before starting any new forms of activity.

Without getting tangled up in the subtleties of translating the Chinese language, qigong is a term used to cover a wide range of therapeutic holistic exercises originating in China, with roots in classical Chinese medicine and martial arts.

Qi = life-energy/vitality        Gong = skill developed through practice

Many people have heard of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and massage. Qigong is less well known, although in China there are hospitals and clinics specialising in qigong, just as there are specialist hospitals and clinics for acupuncture, herbs and massage.

Tai chi is more familiar - a traditional Chinese martial art which incorporates qigong to help keep fighters healthy and strong, and to prevent and heal injuries. In modern times, most people practice tai chi as a form of qigong rather than as a martial art or combat sport.

Typically, qigong involves being mindfully attentive to breathing, postural alignment and some form of coordinated whole body movement. As well as all the benefits of mainstream exercise, qigong is particularly suited to people living with chronic health conditions because of the way it helps relax and exercise the body, and calm the mind. In particular, the approach can help lessen the kind of physical tension which can amplify pain, and help lessen anxiety and other aspects of mental stress. Also, qigong helps lower stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol. This means less time in ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode and more time in ‘rest, digest, and heal’ mode. As well as relaxing the nervous system, qigong can promote positive physiological function by optimising fluid flow - be it blood, lymph, interstitial tissue fluid, cerebral spinal fluid or synovial fluid – all of which can help lessen some causes of pain and associated anxiety and stress.

Some Helpful Guidelines

  • First, do no harm – check that you are well enough, including checking with a medical professional if appropriate, and practice attentively in a gentle relaxed and meditative way, well within your ‘comfort zone’. If injured, ill or otherwise compromised, you should avoid aggravating your condition. People who live with continuous chronic pain should avoid triggering the ‘ouch-amplification’ response. Participants should rest out at the onset of any unexpected discomfort. Some benefit can be accrued just by watching.
  • Visualisation can enhance practice when injured, ill or otherwise compromised. This means using the mind to imagine movements that are not possible or safely feasible due to a medical condition – imagine the movement through your body rather than make a picture in your head.
  • ‘You become what you practice’, so if you practice having good posture and balance, and moving and breathing well whilst remaining relaxed and calm, then there will be a tendency for these qualities to increase, and for their opposites to diminish in your everyday life.

What To Expect - Class Format

  1. Sitting and breathing meditation. We begin each class with a focus on sitting with good posture and breathing well, to calm the mind and align and relax the body (relaxing without collapsing). Being attentive to posture and breathing helps people to relax and “get out of your thinking intellectual brain, and more into your feeling physical body”.
  2. Standing or sitting scanning and relaxing meditation. Next, we stand, or sit if needed, and explore how to further align our posture and become more aware of how our bodies feel, and to notice excess tension in the body while standing or sitting still. We then use our intent and breathing to “relax, release and let go” – again, relaxing without collapsing.
  3. Moving well. Having encouraged mindful awareness of our breath and body, we practice selected qigong movements. These gentle flowing movements are simple and symmetrical. We take time to achieve the basic choreography before refining movements as we become more aware of a deeper sense of being.
  4. Closing massage and meditation. We end the class with a simple self-massage and short calming meditation.

The Benefits of Qigong

  • In a research study into the use of qigong for managing chronic musculoskeletal pain, it was found that the practice of qigong might help to alleviate pain with few side effects. The study focused on adults living with different forms of chronic pain.

Marks, R., 2019. Qigong and musculoskeletal pain. Current rheumatology reports, 21, pp.1-11.

  • Another study looking into the effectiveness of qigong on adults living with chronic pain analysed the differences between external qigong and control, external qigong and waiting list, internal qigong and waiting list, and external for premenstrual syndromes. It found that the differences were not significant amongst these different types but that internal qigong proved beneficial as a treatment for some chronic pain and produced significant differences.

Bai, Z., Guan, Z., Fan, Y., Liu, C., Yang, K., Ma, B. and Wu, B., 2015. The effects of qigong for adults with chronic pain: systematic review and meta-analysis. The American journal of Chinese medicine, 43(08), pp.1525-1539.

Guided by Colin Hughes

Colin has been teaching qigong, meditation and tai chi for over thirty years. He has studied oriental martial arts, classical Chinese medicine and Asian meditative practices with authoritative teachers since the early 1970s, and he continues to learn with more experienced higher-level teachers. Colin is a Senior Instructor with the Tai Chi and Qigong Union of Great Britain and a Senior Trainer with the international Tai Chi for Health Institute Trainer, (helping ‘teach the teachers’). He is also Professor Emeritus in the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Manchester.

Colin is particularly interested in making qigong, tai chi and other meditative practices more accessible and effective for people living with chronic health conditions.

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