A month ago I was wrapped up in wonderful bubble of morning Qigong on the beach, afternoon lectures and evening practices with a wonderful community of like minded Qigong teacher trainees from around the world being taught personally by Lee Holden.
A highlight was a special trip to the Land of the Medicine Buddha in the redwoods near Santa Cruz.
Although Qigong is the most popular form of exercise on the planet, with over 80 million people practicing daily, it's almost unknown in the west. There are over 3,500 different styles of Qigong, all with their own objectives yet all sharing the principle of moving with the breath, with intention, relaxation and flow.
Lee Holden is the master for Holden Qigong, for the last 30 years he's studied with many lineage holders and famous Qigong masters around the world distilling their wisdom and expertise into an easy to understand, practical style that is wonderful for integrating into our western lifestyle. After over 200 hours of teacher training with Lee, I am excited to bring the Holden Qigong style to New Zealand.
We start the class with an awareness of where we are, focusing on our breath. The class then moves to some gentle warm ups and stretches, followed by some flowing movements, standing postures and finally a short meditation.
In many ways, Qigong is similar to Yoga in that they both work with our internal life force energy. In Qigong this is called Qi, in yoga it's called Prana. Both practices work with energy to prevent illness and cultivate vitality. In fact thousands of years ago Indian yogi's travelled to China to learn about Qigong, and share their wisdom of yoga. This shared history means that a lot of the postures you may be familiar with in yoga are also present in Qigong. In Qigong the focus is on flowing movements that reflect nature, with the goal to release tension, become more resilient, increase strength and flexibility. It calms the mind and brings a deep integration between all parts of your being.