Mindful movement

Mindful movement is an essential part of health maintenance because it provides an opportunity to integrate physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. Traditional practices of mindful movement include Qigong, taichi, and yoga.

WildHealth BodyWork offers classes and workshops in Qigong and taichi. My classes focus on health and well-being, improving proprioception, releasing holding patterns, changing habits, relaxing, and transforming ourselves from the inside out.

Although Qigong practice aims to optimize health and well-being, more advanced practices lead beyond health concerns into self-cultivation and, further still, to internal transformation.

My classes and workshops are best described as challenging but fun: an integrative approach, including explanations/discussions of how aspects of these arts overlap with physiology and scientific understanding. There is individual, partner, and group work.

As an instructor of the Lotus Nei Gong School of Daoist Arts, time is spent establishing correct structure, preparing the body and repairing health.  Level 1 includes stretching and softening the body, spine waves and scapula work, Wuji postures, moving forms, Lower Dan tian work, Dao Yin practice, Zi Fa gong (spontaneous Qi movements), and Hunyuan Qi gong. When appropriate, the skills of Ting (listening attention) and Sung (active release) are introduced and developed.

Humour is important.

Students are encouraged to start a personal practice.

“I found Qigong or it found me, I’m not sure. However, it is the start of a wonderful (and at times annoying and sickening) journey. Cindy is the perfect guide along this path. She blends the East and West, the science and the esoteric perfectly. An added bonus is that she is just the right kind of bonkers. A brilliant teacher.”    Ben Grief (Science teacher)

“Cindy is an erudite and skilled teacher with a great sense of humour!”    Sue Holland (Psychotherapist)

My Tai chi classes use the Beijing 24-step form which incorporates representative movements of Yang style as a practice for health maintenance. I do not teach martial applications. This is a simplified version of Tai chi suitable for beginners BUT classes can be challenging as we work on traditional tai chi principles and skill development from my perspective as a bodywork therapist. I do not simply teach choreography. There is no music. [Please note: these tai chi classes are not part of Lotus nei gong syllabus]

You put so much into your classes to help us understand. Thank you. We have learnt so much in this first year!” Lesley (using taichi to help relieve discomfort of fibromyalgia).

Author of the Foreword for Damo Mitchell’s first book, ‘Nei gong: Taoist process of internal change’ (Singing Dragon), and editor of Master Lam’s book, ‘Walking Chi Kung’ (Gaia books).


Choosing a class for relaxation

It is understandable that we might choose a class of meditative movement, such as Qigong or taichi, for relaxation and soothing sanctuary from busy lives. Being able to switch off for 1-2 hours a week provides an oasis of calm in a stormy world.

A relaxing class has great value BUT many of us need more than 1-2 hours/week to change chronic health conditions or unhelpful psychological habits.   Long-term health improvement requires long-term health management. In other words, many of us need improvements not only during the class but also when we are NOT in class—we need to feel well outside of class.

Choosing a class for transformation

For long-term improvement, we need to be working on some kind of change or transformation.  Although we can get fit from any regime of exercise, a different type of transformation is achieved via mindful movement in which mental and emotional states are integrated. But mindful movement is not always gentle and easy.

Even the gentle mindful movements of Qigong, tai chi, or yoga sometimes require uncomfortable and challenging work during class. We may be challenged to move our body in a new way, or to apply our mind in a different way.  We may be required to notice how we respond emotionally to some of the movements.  We may dislike the teacher’s adjustment of our deepest habits. Change is often resisted. The class itself might not be relaxing. It might be tiring or cause a flare-up of an old symptom. However, the tools and techniques we learn about our body and mind can be applied outside of class at any time, in any place, making the time between classes increasingly better. The more we practice, and the longer we commit to our transformation, the better our results will be.

Can we continue to do the same thing but expect different results?

Change is rarely comfortable.

Since experiencing burnout in 1992 I have worked consistently at optimizing my health, finding the limitations of improvement.  Initially I looked for bodywork classes offering pleasant sanctuary., Later, I looked for those offering rather more difficult transformation. I dipped in and out of both, according to the strength I had at the time,  eventually committing to transformative practices as they delivered the long-term changes I needed.

The aim of mindful bodywork is for us to learn how to feel as good as we can for the rest of our lives. The practice is not a product we buy, or a course we take, but a methodology for on-going, constant, self-regulation.