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

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

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

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

Our Lighthouse Garden - Transformation No 7

 Day 14 Grouting is finished, the fountain bowl and new soil arrives Today we made a plan for the replanting we'd like as the new soil has been laid. Nearly all the plants have been saved in containers or another part of the garden. Big bin bags and the old blue recycling boxes have been very useful for holding plants when moving them and replanting. The black grouting for the patio was finished and will be set again for tomorrow. The corten steel bowl arrived.  This is going to been turned into a small pool and fountain to be placed in front of our Greenman wood carving. The reservoir was prepared today. Day 15 The Gateway & The Gravel Today Seb made a bespoke gateway to fit in with our theme. The soil was covered in a liner and the limestone chippings arrived. We've gone for a light colour with big chips - hopefully the local cats won't revenge themselves on it. We also realised that the other half of the garden had become a quagmire and so we've just put down gra

Our Lighthouse Garden - Transformation No 6

The weather is improving and Spring is coming with the Equinox.  Pendle Hill is glorious. This is the view from upstairs at the back of our house. Pendle Hill changes mood and sometimes seems very close, at other times far away. It has a mystical quality; disappearing into the mists then energizing the landscape on a sunny day. A follow up to our last blog I made this video at the end of Day 9   Day 10 A perfect day to finish laying the Patio tiles. The porcelain tiles are now setting.  We extended the area to avoid cutting tiles, so it is now 9 tiles by 10. It looks like a chessboard but will be more in keeping with the rest of the garden design once the fences are painted and the cross fence in place.  We're not allowed on it yet as it is not grouted. The fence at the back is almost completed and the roof is secure and ready. Day 11 - The back fence is completed and the posts for the cross fence are set in.  A red stain rather than paint will allow it to fade a little and not nee

Our Lighthouse Garden - Transformation Part 5

Day 8 New Week & Cracking On An early start as the weather is much improved and the winds have dropped. So today the roof for the decking is constructed and fitted. We've opted for a felted roof with a slight pitch to the back to allow for drainage and maintenance. Our neighbours were having a look and we've had a few people asking for Seb's details for work on their gardens.  Today's video clip All that remained to do today was a little tai chi training on the deck and we found it works well. Day 9 The Patio is started & the Garden Spot Lights Arrive Thanks to the benevolent weather gods, the patio was started today. We've chosen a chequerboard effect with porcelain tiles.  Chess and other games can be played on it and it is a reflection of the art deco style, to fit the date of the house which was built in 1930. We wanted to add touches that would be in keeping with the era of the house to offset the modern aspects.  The idea is to create a room for entert

Our Lighthouse Garden - Transformation Part 4

10th March we had a storm so everyone battened down the hatches and we really felt like we were in a lighthouse for the night.  It was decided not to progress and take the day off and hope the wind dropped the next day; so we used the time to discuss the water feature and purchase of a Red Maple tree. Day 6 Back to work The storm passed and work resumed bright and early. The crew were busy and worked hard to make up for lost time, removing the old side fencing and to make sure the new fence posts and retainers were going to be ready for the next day. The base for a gravelled area for the kitchen garden in front of the summer house was prepared and the placement of channels for the electrical conduit was finalized. We are going to have 3 double sockets on the back decking posts and three pendant lights in the decking roof. We also need a fountain pump and coloured spotlights and an ethernet. Lots to consider and make sure it's all prepared in the right order. Have a look at today

Our Lighthouse Garden - Transformation - Part 3

 Day 3 - Building the foundations begins The reconstruction begins today with laying the membrane and creating base for the patio area, holes are dug out for the fencing and decking posts and building the base of the decking.  Video Update for Day 3 Day 4 The decking starts to take shape Today the decking posts are set in and the base positioned. The weather is not great but the team worked when they could. I say it's day 3 in the video but it's actually day 4. Things now have to set and it's the weekend. I've bought some plastic flip flops so I can take them off easily and we're not walking mud into the house when we've been outside. Seb is checking every day that we are happy with how things are being done and everything is going to the plans. He's really good at explaining and making helpful suggestions. We are feeling very relaxed and in safe hands. Day 4 video and end of the day photo as Dave surveys his domain. Day 5 Decking is laid, back fence is star