Exploring Mind, Body, Breath & Senses In Movement & Stillness
My teaching approach is pragmatic, open and informal. Classes involve exploring, discovering, developing, and embodying the qualities and principles of the practice. The syllabus is an evolving expression of my understanding from over two decades of practice and draws on an ecletic range of sources – it doesn’t focus on mastery of one specific style, hardcore combative aspects, Chinese medicine, cultural or religious traditions. I aim to make the teaching accessible, clear and experiential – with a focus on enjoying and deepening the practice, while enhancing wellbeing in body and mind.
Simple Qi Gong – Body, Mind & Breath
Classes include mobilising, body awareness & breathing exercises. These help open and release tension, improve co-ordination, mobility and increase mind-body-breath awareness and integration – unifying mind, body, breath and senses is the essence of Qigong and Tai Chi.
Nei Gong – Internal Cultivation
‘Nei Gong’ refers to more in depth postural, breathing and movement practices that enable students to learn and embody the subtler and deeper (internal) aspects of Tai Chi & Qigong. ‘Nei Gong’ translates as ‘internal cultivation’.
Tai Chi & Qigong – Forms & Sets
‘Forms’ are the flowing movement sequences which most people associate with Tai Chi. Students will learn simple moving, stepping and walking forms, gradually progressing to more complex movements and longer sequences. The main Tai Chi form taught is the ‘37 Form‘ sequence (a ‘Yang style’ Tai Chi form developed in the 1940’s by Cheng Man-ch’ing).
Classes include additional Qigong, Neigong & Internal Martial Arts forms and sets from a range of selected sources – e.g. Cheng Man-ch’ing’s 8 Methods, Shibashi 18 Movement Tai Chi Qigong, Zhan Zhuang, Huang Sheng Shyan’s Five Loosening Exercises, Liu Xiheng’s exercises, and more – the goal here is not to learn lots of sequences, rather to experience a variety of movements, postures and expressions of the practice, and ultimately to find your own understanding and embodiment of these.
Partner practices are co-operative methods to enhance our understanding and embodiment of Tai Chi & Qigong. These practices cultivate numerous body-mind qualities – including sensitivity, stability, fluidity, connection, mobility and co-ordination. Tai Chi & Qigong partner work is fascinating and enjoyable, and approached with a spirit of co-operation and mutual learning.
Complementary Practices – Yoga & Meditation
I’ve practised Yoga & Meditation for many years and found them to be very complementary to Tai Chi & Qigong. These complementary practices can enhance and deepen our Tai Chi & Qigong.
Going Beyond Labels
While there are differences between Tai Chi, Qigong, Nei Gong, Yoga, Meditation – and the numerous styles and variations – I see these as aspects and expressions of ‘something’ which transcends the labels we attach to it:
“the name that can be named is not the eternal name” (Tao Te Ching)
“a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Shakespeare / Romeo and Juliet)
While a bit of ‘theory’ can be useful to orient and understand the practice, if we go beyond labels, we can hopefully free ourselves, coming out of intellectual concepts, letting go of attachment to ideas about practices, systems and methods – and go much deeper and more directly into our actual experience.
“Stand like a balance – Rotate actively like a wheel – Walk like a cat”
From the Tai Chi Classics