Tai Chi and Qigong classes for the over 50's in Bramcote and West Bridgford (Nottingham).
Instructor: Joy Parsons of the Cloud Dragon School of Tai Chi Chuan.
IS IT FOR YOU?
Do you want to do exercise that is slow, controlled and relaxing, in classes specifically designed for the over 50's?
Exercise that combines slow, graceful movement with relaxed breathing and strong mental focus? That is meditative and low impact, but works and strengthens both body and mind? That has a series of flowing movements specifically designed to improve the functioning of your organs, nervous system and mental clarity as well as your muscles and joints?
If so, these classes may be for you. They are enjoyable and non-competitive and everyone is encouraged to work within their own limitations. I began Tai Chi in order to regain my own health and fitness after undergoing a year's treatment for cancer, so if I can do it, so can you!
Tai Chi and Qigong can:
- Improve circulation, balance, flexibility, coordination, bone health and general well-being.
- Gently but powerfully massage, energise and oxygenate your body.
- Strengthen your nervous system, internal energy and organs whilst taking your muscles and joints through a full range of movement.
- Increase your body awareness, improve your posture and strengthen your legs.
- Give you time to enjoy feeling the soft, unhurried stretches and twists as you perform the moves.
- Exercise your memory and improve your ability to concentrate. Lift your mood and give your mind a sense of calm focus.
- Help you regain your fitness and health and boost your immune system after a period of illness or inactivity.
TAI CHI : What is it?
Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese movement programme which integrates body, mind and breath. It is a Martial Art, an exercise system, an art form, a relaxation technique and a methid of healing through the enhancement of vital energy.
It is much more powerful than it looks because it is an INTERNAL art with stillness and softness at its core. It focuses on cultivating inner awareness, balance and energy. It develops effortless power through relaxation, control and precision. It encourages a state of inner calm and peace, working on an emotional level as well as a physical one.
Anyone can do it and the benefits can be felt from the very first session.
WHAT WE DO IN CLASS:
WARM UP: We start the class with a series of relaxing Qigong exercises. These simple, flowing techniques use movement and breath to softly stretch your body, balance your vital energy and massage your internal organs. We use pleasant Oriental music to encourage relaxation.
Whilst some Qigong involves fixed postures, the work we do in class involves slow, repetitive movements that encourage calm, deep, regular breathing. These movements are often used as a warm-up for internal martial arts and can improve your coordination and increase your body awareness.
Strong emphasis is placed on continuous, conscious relaxation, so that as we release mental and physical tension, the body stretches and becomes more elastic. Movements are designed to work oxygen deep into the tissues and to improve lymph flow by expanding and contracting muscles where the largest lymph nodes are located.
The Qigong techniques we do in class are easy to learn.
MIDDLE SECTION OF CLASS: After we've warmed up, we move on to learning the Wudang Empty Hand Form which is a series of choreographed movements based upon unarmed fighting techniques.
Wudang Tai Chi Chuan (or Practical Tai Chi Chuan) is the particular style of Tai Chi that you will learn.
The 'form' is graceful and soft and looks rather like an underwater dance. Concentration is on relaxation and correct
posture/movement and the speed and nature of the techniques encourages deep, regular breathing. It is performed in a slow, relaxed and
controlled manner and has been described as 'cotton boxing'. The Tai Chi 'form' can be said to be a more advanced type of moving Qigong and has similar qualities and benefits.
In Tai Chi, however, the movement sequences are longer and more complicated than Qigong and take much longer to learn. Learning the 'form' requires patience, commitment, focus and self-discipline. Emphasis is on the journey rather than the destination! Classes are progressive, with new techniques added every few weeks so regular attendance is recommended if you wish to become proficient.
The movements of the form involve contrasting Yin and Yang elements, eg. rising/sinking, opening/closing, extension/contraction, coiling/uncoiling.
We learn the SHORT HAND FORM - a sequence of
34 techniques which takes approx 5 - 10 minutes to
complete when performed from beginning to end. Don't worry if you can't remember the sequence as we usually work together!
We start by learning the SHORT FORM SQUARE, where each technique is split into separate sections, allowing us to focus on correct posture and movement.
We then progress to the SHORT FORM ROUND which runs these movements together as a fluent and harmonious whole so that we can achieve the flow, continuity and focus of true Tai Chi.
CLOSING SECTION OF CLASS: Classes will finish with a little more Qigong.
CAN'T MAKE A REGULAR CLASS BUT WANT TO KNOW WHAT TAI CHI IS ALL ABOUT? I can come to you to give a one-off class or workshop, (as long as you're no more than an hour's drive from West Bridgford). These sessions focus on easy-to-learn Qigong techniques, and also include an introductory talk/demo. Please telephone 0115 9743542 for details.MEDITATION: These classes further relax both mind and body. We use our own breathing as the focus of the meditation with the addition of one or two simple visualisation techniques. We meditate whilst seated in a chair and use soothing music to aid our relaxation.