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Lighthouse Aqua Tai Chi® Antenatal - the benefits for mums-to-be

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Lighthouse Aqua Tai Chi ® for pregnancy Real Tai Chi and Qigong in warm water, Lighthouse Aqua Tai Chi® is gentle, low impact, relaxing and mindful and offers all the benefits of tai chi ,   plus the recognized outcomes of water based exercise. It is on both the NHS website and Netmums Whether you are continuing exercising or just getting started during your pregnancy our specialised aqua tai chi sessions will give you the gentle workout you need, without the worry of bumping the bump, or adding pressure to aching feet and joints. Women who participate in aqua exercise during pregnancy experience less physical discomfort and improved mobility in addition for being physically prepared for childbirth. Aqua tai chi is safe at all stages of pregnancy unless your health professional recommends you do not exercise at all. The water helps to support your posture, to strengthen the core muscles, enhancing the stability of the abdomen and lower back, improving your balance, co-ordination and

What's in a name? The importance of understanding imagery in Tai Chi & Qigong

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  Names and understanding The use of poetic and functional names in Tai Chi and Qigong can be difficult to decipher or simplistically obvious. When we first hear some of the names of the postures, it can be amusing and confusing: ‘ part wild horse’s mane’, ‘ twin dragons emerge from the sea ’ and ‘ stand like a tree .’ What we need to appreciate is that these names are translations from the original Chinese. So, with as with any translation, things can be lost in the process. Much of the knowledge of tai chi and qigong was traditionally encoded in poetic form or as a song. Many of the students would not have been literate, so the names aided in the memorising of the sequence and its applications. Additionally cultural and philosophical differences, along with the inherent secrecy of martial arts culture, could lead you to misunderstandings and getting the wrong end of the stick. However, when we hear these names, we instantly get a picture or concept in our mind. Combining this

Embodying Tai Chi in the Sword by Judith van Drooge

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Our guest blog for August is by  Judith Van Drooge.  Judith is a very accomplished tai chi instructor whom we have admired for many years, and is particularly known to us for her tai chi sword expertise and passion for sharing.  We asked her to provide a short, personal article about her feelings and experience of tai chi sword, with some links for you to find out more. The lovely flow of these words is an art in itself, we hope you will enjoy reading and re-reading it as much as we do. She has practised Yang Lineage Tai Chi Chuan with Luis Molera and Grandmaster William C.C. Chen since 1999, with great pleasure and devotion. Judith is an all-round practitioner who successfully competed in national and international tournaments attaining gold, silver and bronze medals in Forms (weapons), Chi Kung and Push Hands.  Judith has her own school Inner Touch Tai Chi in Zwolle, the Netherlands and has been a regular teacher at most of the major European Tai Chi events.  "To embody the

5 Elements Theory - Pathway to internal and external harmony by Heather Reade

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This month we have another guest blog:  The 5 Elements Theory  is by our esteemed colleague and friend Heather Reade (MFHT) .  Heather has been teaching Tai Chi and Qigong since 1999 in England and the US and provides courses for the NHS, in addition to Active West Lancs, MacMillan Cancer Care; the U3A; Twinkle House Sensory and Wellness Centre and primary schools in Liverpool and Lancashire.  In 2009, she created Water Lotus Qigong, a hydrotherapy, which has been used in the US and UK for the alleviation of pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. She is also, a qualified Sports Therapist, and Ear Acupuncturist.  To find out more about Heather and to request any further information, please visit website  Heather Reade School of Tai Chi and QiGong The 5 Elements, or Wu Xing (woo sshing), is a system used to categorise and explain patterns of transformation in the universe.  Wu Xing 五行  Wu = five  Xing = movement, transformation, phase Dating back almost 4,700 years ago, the 5 Elements wer

Just do it! The importance of consistency & self-practice for tai chi & qigong

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Be Consistent To acquire a skill or to remember a process or action takes time and practice.  When we begin to learn a new skill or pastime it is important to invest time if we want to progress and improve our understanding or skill. Tai Chi and Qigong are no different.  Consistency in practice takes many forms: being present and attending, understanding and engage with learning, home practice and research. Turn up regularly. Life tends to get in the way of what you really want to pursue, so turn up to your lesson every week. Repetition is the key to reinforcing a new habit/skill/movement, and you will need to have corrections to keep you on the right track. If you leave long gaps between your practice, you will not remember much, if anything from the previous session, so you will always be relearning the postures at the same level and will not progress. Treating the session as a workout, just following, and copying, and not engaging with actually learning to do it for yourself, wi

Tai Chi Caledonia by Ashley J Cheeseman

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Guest blog this month  Instructor Ashley Cheeseman, who teaches in Orpington, Kent.  We have invited him to tell you about the wonderful Tai Chi Caledonia event held in July every year, in Stirling, Scotland.  Read on and discover new possibilities and perhaps 2022 is the year to go along and find out for yourself. " For anyone that’s never been heard about Tai Chi Caledonia, I will let you in on a great weekend /week of Tai Chi and related arts taught by some of Europe’s finest instructors as well as a home team as well. 2015 The official line is, Tai Chi Caledonia offers high-quality teaching of Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong and other Chinese Internal Arts, here in the beautiful, natural environment of Stirling University Campus in the heart of Scotland. This is an understatement, as we found out, its mind blowing, happy, no holds barred teaching. We have been on three occasions now and each time it just gets better, on my last trip in 2018, twelve of us went and its smashing fun

The Tai Chi Compass: Navigating the Five Directions

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Knowing where you are going is always important, and knowing your direction in Tai Chi is fundamental to the thirteen principal movements of Tai Chi. The five directions described in Tai Chi are as follows: Going forward, going backwards, looking/moving left, looking moving right and holding centre. These are attributed to the four cardinal points of the compass, North, South, East, West and the Centre.  They can be referenced to the Five Elements and each direction takes on the characteristics of the associated Element. In terms of Five Elements the postures have these overall characteristics: Forward - Fire sudden intense energy/ posture. Backward - Water flow yielding energy/ posture. Turning left - Metal cutting absorbing energy/ posture. Turning right - Wood engulfing spiralling energy/ posture. Holding centre - Earth neutralising heavy energy/ posture. These directions can be applied literally; some schools prescribe facing in a certain direction when starting a f