Wednesday’s 10:00am – 11:00am
Qi Gong: A gentle movements-and-breathing practice to restore health and resilience
We are excited to be offering Qi Gong course starting Wednesday 21st March, and welcoming the teacher Stephanie Betschart to the Alma Vale Centre. Stephanie shares how she first got into Qi Gong, and explains what it involves and how it can help improve your health and wellbeing
I first came across Qi Gong in 1995 and it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I practised regularly for a couple of years, but sadly life took over and it went on to the backburner until 2009. I was on top of a mountain doing a three months Buddhist retreat when I became ill, which got worse on my return. Qi Gong was on my mind and so I restarted going to regular classes with teachers of the Hua Gong tradition.
I have been hooked ever since!
What is Qi Gong?
Qigong is an ancient Chinese system of healing and energy medicine. It is a powerful healing art that involves gentle movements, meditation and breathing techniques to cleanse, circulate, strengthen and ground our life energy.
It works with the flow of Qi (or Chi or Ki) our ‘life force’ or ‘life energy’ for healing purposes, Working directly, with the Qi flow, it helps to restore a healthier balance within and between the different functions of the body.
Qi Gong originated in China thousands of years ago from shamanism. It was practised by Taoist and Buddhist monks, traditional Chinese medicine scholars and Martial arts practitioners as a source of health, power and wisdom. Tai Chi Chuan, better known than Qi Gong, is in fact an extension and more martial expression of Qi work.
Qi Gong is one of the most effective self-healing methods in the world. It is easy to learn: the only investment needed is time and the beneficial effects are cumulative.
It can be practised sitting on a chair for those who are ill or disabled. It doesn’t require that you learn long complicated forms, so it is very accessible in that way.
The way of Qi Gong is to awaken and cultivate the Qi to prevent illness, to improve physical and mental health, and to realise our inner potential, creativity and higher intelligence.
Why I teach Qi Gong
I teach Qi Gong because I believe we all have an innate ability to health and resilience.
Qi Gong provides us with tools to maintain physical health, ground our emotional resilience and open to our deeper creative abilities.
The time of practice itself is an opportunity to destress, pause and listen. The slow movements and the intention of the practice offer a space for self-awareness and compassion, and an opportunity for self-healing.
What to expect in a class
The QiGong classes are all for health and well-being. Beginners and those with experience are all welcome.
We will be going through a full and comprehensive Qi workout at every class. This will involve starting with some gentle dynamic warm ups: waking our bodies up and our Qi with stretching and moving. We will then loosen up to let go of any stagnant energy and also to open us to receiving fresh Qi.
The Qi Gong forms are slow mindful movements. This doesn’t require any special ability; they are easy forms that can be done sitting down if preferred, especially in case of ill health. The healing form and alignment of energies forms the core of the work.
We will aim to finish the class with some meditation to integrate the benefits of the session.
What are the benefits?
With a Qi Gong practice you can benefit from:
- Increased flexibility
- Strengthening and toning of your muscles
- A growing sense of calmness
- A general feeling of contentment, peace and happiness
- More energy
- A stronger immunity to fight colds and recover from illness
What people say about my classes:
‘A lovely blend of sensitivity, playfulness and deep stillness’
‘Really enjoyed getting into the flow of energy and felt really present in my body and breath’
‘Very clear instructions, easy to learn and follow’
‘Beautiful sequence, calming and energising! really enjoyed it!’
What Qi Gong means to me
Initially, Qi Gong was about healing my body, but it has very much become part of my spiritual practice too.
I have been a practising Buddhist with the Triratna Buddhist Community since the mid 1990s when I was in my early twenties. Since then I have been on countless meditation retreats as well as study retreats. I have studied Buddhism extensively, including Buddhist ethics, philosophy and psychology.
I have always been interested in what makes us healthy, balanced individuals and what supports us to grow, and become more than the sum of our parts.