January 19, 2019by Daphne

Hi. So pleased you could join me for this Seated Tai Chi and QiGong session. My name’s Daphne and today I am going to share with you some Tai Chi, QiGong and Low Impact Exercises that you can perform sitting down. They’re designed to work your major muscles, get your body moving and develop that mind body connection that helps us relax. So without further ado let’s get started.

So first of all make sure that your chair is sturdy and solid, and it’s positioned on a level ground so it’s not going to tip over. Make sure that you’ve got enough room so that you can stretch your arms all the way up and all the way to the sides. And that the floor space in front of the chair is clear of anything that might be in your way. We need to sit ourselves forward, if we can, in the chair, so we’re perching on the end. My bottom is on the chair but my thighs are not touching, they are in front of the chair. And this is so that I can plant my feet firmly on the floor in front of me. I’m placing my feet hip width apart and I’m going to ground my feet into the floor.

I’m going to lift up out of my hip sockets so that my spine is elongated as if someone’s pulling from the top of my head and pulling me down to the ground and stretching out the spine. I’m going to keep my abs engaged, so my abdominal muscles here in the stomach area, keeping them engaged, which means I’m pulling my belly button all the way through to my spine so this core area is strong. And I’m trying to keep that going all the way through all the exercises today. My chest is lifted and in Tai Chi we talk about ‘song’ the joints. We’re not taking anything to a position of stress or tension, we’re trying to relieve that tightness and relieve that tension. So keeping our elbows, our shoulders, nice and relaxed and soft.

All the way through the exercises listen to your own body and do them within your own comfort zone. Remember to stay within your safe range of motion.

OK so sitting with the correct posture and good form, keeping the breathing nice and calm. I will do all the exercises mirror image so you can follow along nice and easily. So we’re going to turn our head to the right, and back to centre, and to the left. Chin to your chest, and with care to the ceiling. Looking forward and we’re going to do ear to our shoulder. Oh feeling the tension and trying to relax. Taking our hands to our sides, we’re going to do three shoulder rolls, taking them back nice and smooth, and three forwards. Again putting our hands on our thighs, we’re just going to roll the top of the back, just ever so slightly, just loosening it off and we’re going to open the chest as if we’re pointing it towards the sky. And do that again. Exhaling as we are going down, and a nice inhale, lifting the chin. Next is ‘Knocking on the Door’. So we’re twisting our waist, from side to side, arms swinging freely, just as far as you can, loosening off that spine, and bringing it back to centre. We’re going to peel our heel off the floor and place it back down. And the other side. One more time. This time we’re going to take this foot all the way up, taking it off the ground, peeling it off and placing it down. Peeling it off and placing it down. Final time. We’re just going to come in and hug and loosening off, and again. Final time. We’re going to do a nice big inhale, so all the way up, if we can, rising our hands all the way above our head. And bringing it down. And again, all the way up. Inhaling as we’re going and exhaling as we’re coming down. And again inhaling and exhaling.

So keeping our feet hip width apart, we’re going to start with our first exercise which is called ‘Balancing the Qi’
So all we’re doing here is lifting our hands to chest height, we’re turning them over and then we’re pressing down, and as we’re doing so lowering our hands we’re pressing our feet into the floor. Lifting up with an inhale and pressing down. Nice big breath in and breath out. And in and out.

Our next exercise is called ‘Holding up the Heaven’ so we’re taking our hands out, trying to keep our shoulders nice and relaxed, following our hands. Our palms are facing the ceiling and our fingertips are facing in towards each other. We’re going to press up to the ceiling. Then we’re going to release that stretch, moving our hands, turning them to face in towards our chest and then bringing them down ready to go again. Lifting up our hands with an inhale. Pressing all the way up and relax. And again. Reaching up and relaxing that stretch. Feeling it all the way through our body. One more time. And relax.

We’re going to move our feet this time. So bringing them together to start and we’re going to do something called ‘Opening Stance’. Now I have modified this so that we are moving both legs, and both feet and placing them into our parallel stance. If we do just one side we would be a little bit off centre as we’re sitting on our chair. So we are going to move both feet and do our opening stance arms. So if we follow along. We’re going to peel that left foot off and place it into our parallel, so just hip width apart. And we’re going to take the right foot and place it into our parallel stance, hip width apart. We’re going to breathe our hands up to shoulder height and then as we’re exhaling we’re lowering our hands and again we’re going to press down into the thighs so that we can feel that running all the way down to our feet on the floor. We’re going to replace our right foot in and then left foot in. Let’s do that again. So peeling that left foot off, peeling the right foot off. Nice hip width apart, parallel stance. Breathing in, our arms up, setting our intention, breathing out. Bringing in the right foot, and then the left foot. Let’s do that again. Peeling that foot off, with intention, and again. Breathing in. And left foot in and the other foot in. Final time. Peeling that foot off and again. Breathing in and breathing out. And this time leaving our feet in our hip width parallel stance.

Our next one we’re going to make some fists so we’re bringing our hands into our hips and we’re going to push forward, really engage this core, as if we are pushing something heavy out of the way. We’re going to turn our wrists and we’re going to make our fists and we’re going to pull them back in to our sides. We’re going to turn them round and push forwards. We’re not locking out our elbows, we’re keeping them soft but there’s strength in our softness. Engaging those arm muscles as if we’re pushing something heavy out of the way. Bringing it in and taking it out. Exhale as we go out, inhale as we pull in. We’re going to repeat the same exercise but we’re going to take it to the corner and just do it with one hand at a time. So taking my right hand first, I’m going to twist my waist to the left hand corner and I’m going to push across my body and bring it in. Let’s do that again, push and pull. And then turning to the other corner. Left hand this time, pushing it across the body and again.

Our final movement, hands placed on the thighs, we’re going to bring it down, rolling down, vertebrae by vertebrae, just as far as you can and then rolling up again taking it nice and slowly, and pushing up to the ceiling. And we’re going to relax our hands, bringing them in to the thigh and pushing out. Rolling down, rolling up. And taking it up to the ceiling and all the way down. Bringing it in. Exhaling as we’re rolling down. Inhaling as we’re coming up. Pushing up to the ceiling and taking it down. Bringing it in and down. Nice and slowly, taking your time.

We’re going to bring our hands to rest at the Dan Tien, one on top of the other. And we’re not going to move our hands now, we’re just going to close our eyes. WE’re going to breath in and breath out. Focusing on our body, relaxing, breathing, nice and calm, peaceful, final breath.

January 11, 2019by Daphne17

It’s really important before starting any exercise that you warm up properly. Warming up increasing our heart rate, gets our blood pumping and moving around our body, it loosens off all our body parts ready for the movement and exercise to come.

I’d recommend doing all our exercises within your own comfort zone. Listen to your own body because you know it better than anybody else and if it doesn’t feel right, it possibly isn’t.

I’d also recommend speaking to your GP if you’re new to exercise, if you haven’t exercised in a while or you’ve had a health or medical condition that you might need to discuss before starting off on a new exercise regime.

So the first thing we are going to do is a nice warm up. In Tai Chi and QiGong we take this nice and slowly and gently. We’re going to move each part of our body, one by one, loosening it off and getting ready for exercise.

HEAD & NECK – Move the head to the right, nice and slowly, just as far as you can and bringing it back to centre. And to the left. Back to centre. Chin to your chest, looking down to the floor. And with care, taking your head all the way to the ceiling and bringing it back to centre. Looking forward we are going to do our ear to our shoulder, so keeping your shoulders down. And the other way. We’re going to look around the room, taking our time, drawing a circle with our chin. And the other way.

SHOULDERS – We’re going to roll the shoulders, three times and three times the other way. Bringing our hands to our shoulders and we are going to increase that circle. Drawing circles with our elbows. And the other way, taking them back.

HANDS – We’re going to bend our knees. We’re going to draw our hands and squeezing in our hands tight and relax. We’re going to do that again, so drawing our hands in tight, squeezing and relax. And last time, drawing them in, squeezing them tight and relaxing.

TORSO & SPINE – We’re going to bend our knees. We’re going to turn from the waist. This is called ‘Knocking on the Door’ but we’re keeping it nice and gentle, just within our own comfort zone. We’re just turning from the waist as far as we can. We’re not turning to put any pressure on our knees, we’re letting our arms swing nice and natural, and just letting our body just loosen off around the spine. Keep it going.

BODY & ARMS – We’re just going to reach out to either side, stretching out the waist from side to side, just as far as you can. Again listening to your own body, keeping it within your own comfort zone. Keeping those shoulders relaxed. Four more, three, two and one.

HIPS – We’re going to do some hip circles. So forward, side, back, side. Let’s do that three times. And the other way.

FULL STRETCH & INHALE/EXHALE – We’re going to take a nice in breath, all the way in and all the way out, bending our knees. Let’s do that again. Bringing it all the way up and all the way down. One more time, bringing it up and all the way down. Yeah good.

LEGS – We’re just going to take our foot out, heel and bringing it back. Pushing it out, heel. And heel, bending that supporting leg and let’s do one more, heel and change legs. So we’re going to go heel and bring it in. And heel and bring it in. Heel, last one. And Heel and bring it in.

We’re warmed up and ready. Enjoy your Tai Chi and QiGong.