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Qigong - The New Tai Chi

We hear a fair bit about tai chi for better health so where are all the tai chi classes and who is doing it? Yoga and pilates seem to dominate the gyms along with curious offshoots like Yogalates that sound like a new coffee flavour yogurt health drink and Body Balance which is a cocktail that claims to include tai chi in its routines.

Tai chi seems to be the poor relation, with classes mostly held in church halls, but the big benefits of recent years is the support we have seen from projects like Fit 4 Life, Ageing Well and the WEA. Local Authority Adult Education continue to run excellent classes but have been hampered in recent years by less funding and an ever increasing load of rather meaningless paperwork.

I did manage to find some celebrity endorsements:
  • Hazel O' Conner - Tai chi energises me and makes me feel supple and well. (Nottingham Evening Post)
  • Andy Summers (guitarist with 'The Police' ) -  One of the beautiful things that tai chi taught me was how to focus—how to be still in the middle of chaos (Black Belt Magazine)
  • Lou Reed has been a tai chi practitioner since the 1980s and also published a music CD and a DVD on the art
So now the big story is qigong. Often easier to follow and offering similar health benfits.  Usually included within tai chi classes but increasingly taught on their own are routines like Shibashi (18 taiji qigong), Wild Goose Qigong, Baduanjin (8 Pieces of Brocade), Five Animals Qigong etc.