Why Qigong Is The Workout To Try

Sometimes referred to as the Chinese form of yoga, qigong is an ancient healing practice that combines slow movements with breathing, stretching and meditation to lower stress, focus the mind and build strength. With its fans now including Trinny Woodall, Kate Beckinsale and A-list nutritionist Pippa Campbell, we sat down with two of the UK’s leading qigong teachers to find out more…

It’s A Mindful Way To Exercise

If you’re looking for a way to balance your mind and body, qigong could be just the thing. A subtle but powerful form of exercise, it brings together posture, movement, breathing techniques, self-massage and body conditioning. For Katie Brindle, Chinese medicine practitioner, founder of the Hayo’u Method and qigong expert, it’s the ultimate way to work out. Katie has worked in Chinese medicine for the last 20 years and claims qigong has transformed her body more than any other form of exercise. “Qigong works the body gently, yet intensely, from within. It not only keeps me in good health mentally and physically, but I have gone from being a forever-dieting, reluctant exerciser to trim and toned. It has changed my body, energy levels and mood more than any other form of exercise. It provides immediate results and long-term benefits – it’s the ultimate self-healing technique.”

The Health Benefits Are Endless

Research shows qigong provides a long list of mental and physical health benefits, and it all comes down to getting your body’s energy – or ‘qi’ – back into flow. “Chinese wisdom believes qi is the overarching life energy, which is found in every living thing,” Katie continues. “Like emotions, qi can’t be seen yet it penetrates every part of our body at every moment. The stronger our qi, the better we feel. During qigong, you aren’t just moving your body, you’re stimulating your meridians, the energetic pathways that flow through the body, moving emotions and strengthening qi.” It’s believed doing qigong regularly can realign the body and bring it back into balance. According to Chinese medicine, stress, fatigue, headaches, insomnia and general malaise are all linked to blocked energy, which qigong can release for better health. “Qigong is about opening up the stuck energy and bringing it back to a flow state,” Katie tells us. “By strengthening your organs, nourishing your cells and encouraging healthy circulation, it’s a gentle and energising form of exercise that leaves you energised, sculpted and strong.”

It has changed my BODY, ENERGY LEVELS and MOOD more than ANY OTHER form of EXERCISE.
Katie Brindle

It Can Help With Menopausal Symptoms

“Although loved by women of all ages, qigong particularly resonates with women who are that little bit older,” Katie continues. “Its nurturing and gentle nature is the perfect way to stay active and incorporate self-care into your routine.” Whether you’re looking for increased energy, mood and vitality, a stronger immune system, reduced physical pain and inflammation, better sleep, healthier digestion, regulated blood pressure or reduced anxiety and stress levels, qigong has been shown to improve many menopausal symptoms. Arron Collins-Thomas, qigong teacher and director at ToniqLife, adds that the benefits for mature women are unparalleled: “The benefits of qigong for anyone are huge, but especially so for women in their fifties and beyond. Because you are regulating the movement of energy, you see a more balanced and calm reaction in your body, there is increased harmony, and the hormonal changes many women experience around this stage in life are vastly decreased.”

By NOURISHING the body and encouraging HEALTHY CIRCULATION, it’s a GENTLE and ENERGISING form of EXCERCISE that leaves you feeling ENERGISED, SCULPTED and STRONG.
Katie

You’ll Feel The Benefits Immediately

Qigong may not be a sweaty, cardio-focused workout, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the power to strengthen and tone. “Equating physical exertion with results is a mistake,” says Katie. “Qigong’s strength is not only in the sequence of movements but also the mental engagement and breathwork which, when combined, can powerfully direct energy to clear stagnation and bring harmony and balance to the body. When you first start qigong, allow yourself time for these subtle shifts in energy to take place. You will feel uplifted and calm from your first session.” Arron agrees, adding that when practised consistently, you’ll reap the rewards. “You will notice benefits immediately,” he tells us. “You’ll quickly see that qigong is an enjoyable way to tone and feel better in yourself without breaking a sweat or overly taxing the body. With regular practice – say three or four times a week – you’ll quickly notice a change in your fitness and shape.”

There’s Something For Everyone

If you want to give qigong a go, there are simple moves and exercises you can do that only take a few minutes, or longer forms that last up to an hour. If you’re booking in for a studio-based class, these tend to be around an hour long and involve a warm-up, opening and closing forms and some form of meditation and breathwork. There are classes held across the UK although they’re slightly trickier to find than yoga classes, or you can practise at home. Wearing comfortable clothing is the only thing you need to do to prepare for a class. “Qigong really is for everyone and, like any form of exercise, there are different class types,” explains Arron. “A classic qigong class will have a bit of everything – gentle movement, breathwork and meditation – while more energetic practices will focus on balance and power. Meanwhile, for those who have limited mobility, or are recovering from injury or illness, there are gentler and more healing classes available.”

For more information or to try a class, visit HayouFit.com – your first seven days are free. You can also try qigong at Toniq Life if you are based in Bath – visit ToniqLife.com.

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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