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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Guest Post from Beacon Bank Farm

I am so pleased to introduce to you some background to Chi Kung and what you might experience on an Off the Grid Weekend at Beacon Bank Farm. A truly exceptional Staffordshire location with experts in their field.

The ancient art of Chi Kung – Energy Exercises for Life

Beacon Bank Farm is running a weekend ofYoga and Chi Kung in June (the Off the Grid Weekend) aimed at de-stressing, relaxing and re-invigorating. Most readers will be familiar to some degree  with Yoga but Chi Kung is still a relatively unknown form of exercise in the western world. Originating in China thousands of years ago, Chi Kung shares many common attributes with Tai Chi and is often incorporated into Tai Chi classes. Both Tai Chi and Chi Kung involve gentle movements, breathing exercises, relaxation and work on the whole body (joints, organs, nervous system as well as muscles). In this way they are similar to Yoga and one would expect to get many of the benefits experienced in Yoga practice when practising Tai Chi or Chi Kung as well as other benefits.

These gentle and relaxed movements, co-ordinated with the breathing, appear to be simple and undemanding but one soon finds that one's whole body feels more comfortable and relaxed. One of the wonderful aspects of Chi Kung is that it can be practised by anyone regardless of age or physical ability. There are even exercises that can be practised lying down, when ill or convalescing.

Because with Chi Kung we work at less than our maximum (whether this is the extension of our arm, the twist of our body or the effort that we put into the exercises) we minimise the danger of straining or exhausting ourselves. The emphasis on relaxation also reduces the chances of harming ourselves as we work within our own limitations.

However the results can be surprising powerful. In one of my classes, I had someone who suffers from Fibromyalgia ( A chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas) saying how beneficial she found the gentle exercises as she was generally unable to do much exercise. In the same class, I was approached by a man who runs 5 miles three times a week. He said that the class had been a more demanding workout than his regular runs. Students in another class tell me that they sleep much better on the night of the class.

Research is starting to confirm what practitioners have found for themselves - that there are many benefits to practising Chi Kung and Tai Chi. As the Harvard Medical School journal states “Tai chi is often described as meditation in motion but it might well be called medication in motion”. The study goes on to state that practising Tai Chi and Chi Kung improves balance, flexibility and muscle strength and that it has benefits for sufferers of arthritis, low bone density, breast cancer, hypertension, heart disease, sleep disorders and strokes.

With only simple movements and postures to practise, one can easily immerse oneself into the experience of Chi Kung and so quickly feel it's benefits. How can it be so effective if it is so simple? It is in the carefully balanced way that we relax within our exercising, the way that we exercise within our relaxation. Both relaxation and exercising are known to lead to better health. With Chi Kung we are doing both simultaneously.

If you would like to get a good grounding in Chi Kung, together with Yoga sessions and delicious, healthy vegetarian food, all in a tranquil countryside setting then consider our Off the GridWeekend at Beacon Bank Farm. I also run workshops in London and the South and locally a weekly evening class on Mondays in Milwich and am now looking to start other classes in Staffordshire.

I have trained for many years directly with Master Lam Kam Chuen, who has written many books on the art of Chi Kung (The Way of Energy, The Way of Healing, Everyday Chi Kung) and who also starred in the Channel 4 series Stand Still, Be Fit. For more information about Chi Kung, classes or workshops please contact me:  alex.chikung@gmail.com, call 07970 732599 or visit my website www.alexchikung.org

1 comment:

Chris Courtis said...

I have noticed this sort of retreat is becoming a lot more popular in recent years. It may well be due to the stressful lives we lead and it is a great way to getaway and really relax.