As a personal trainer it’s important to continue to be a student. If I stopped learning and developing my own practice, I believe I would cease to be any good at my job. In the past 7 days I have been teaching less, because I’ve been in London, but learning more. I got a month pass to a yoga studio and have been making my way through the classes I have time to get to and loving it. I am SO happy to be a student in a classroom and to learn new things; and there is so much to learn.
On Saturday I did Qi Gong for the first time. Out of fascination with the name and because I’ve seen a book called Qi Gong fever on my brother’s book shelf for years and always made a note in my head to look at it, but never did. So, when I saw Qi Gong on the studio schedule I got excited to see what it was and booked in. Told my friend and was swiftly told that its Chi gung not Kee Gong 🙂
It’s an ancient, almost 3,000 year old, system of healing from China rooted in Taoism. It gets the fluids moving through the body and stimulates the organs. It claims to ease stress, strengthen the nerves and improve vascular function. What’s not to like. It is also said to loosen the muscles and build power, which I feel in need of as I might overdo the strength and intensive yoga and feel the need to balance it out with something different. This could be it for me.
I had no idea what to expect though and felt nervous – my brain was whispering “what if I can’t do it?” “maybe you shouldn’t go” Not a feeling I have very often, but lately I have been pushing myself out of the comfort zone less and less as I’ve become busier and busier.
When I first moved to Berlin I was doing new classes all the time and there was a point when I first got my Urban Sports Card and set up You Me Body Bliss that I had a rule to try a new class at least once a month (this resulted in both pole dancing and Brazilian Ju Jitsu related injuries), but I have been so busy that this rule fell by the wayside. Until this week, I got back in it and have done 3 new classes (I’ll write about the others soon).
I was surprised by how much effect the movements had on my body. It’s not that they were small, simple or easy, it wasn’t yoga and I was sceptical. It wasn’t so anatomically aligned and concentrated on muscle groups like yoga can be and so honestly I just didn’t think it would be ‘all that’. But once I got into it I remembered of course it’s not yoga, it doesn’t have to be, there are other completely amazing and valuable traditions of mind matter and movement out there that are good for you! I just have my thing and tend to do that because I love it. Somewhat blinkered eyes. But it really did something for me – I really loved it.
The one clear similarity and something that I really felt familiar with was the attention to breath and the instruction to match the flow of movement to the breath. I felt myself completely connected to my new movement sequences, breathing and concentrating deeply. I found the flow state I so often seek in life and I loved it. I hadn’t expected to.
The movement sequence was called the 8 brocades and our wonderful teacher Tom Watson at Triyoga clearly and confidently took us through the sequence and gave us theory throughout the class. It was a perfect balance of practice and knowledge for the beginner like me.
When we did ‘Drawing the Bow’ I felt a pull across my chest and through the middle of my arm that I haven’t felt in a long time. The ‘lifting the heels’ left me invigorated and I wanted to keep on dropping my heels back down onto the floor, so ‘simple’ and so satisfying. It reminded me of a video I saw about an Osho yoga practitioner who said it was an arousing thing, to stomp the heels down into the floor and it had stuck in my mind.
At times I felt like a ballerina with graceful movements and long limbs, pulling and stretching and softly floating lines in the air. But it wasn’t easy. I had waves of heat, at one point I felt nauseous just turning my head left to right as we swung our arms at the start. Perhaps it was my stagnated chi? I don’t know what but it jostled my system.
Since the class I’ve woken up and gone through the sequence again and when I woke up this morning I did it instead of my sun salutations which I decided to leave until later. I felt peaceful in the movements and it seemed like a good pre yoga warm up, meditative alignment. I will continue for a while to do it first thing and my yoga afterwards and see how it goes.
My morning ritual is ever evolving and this new addition is exciting.
I hope I will get a chance to do another class before I go, otherwise I will find one back in Berlin.
Do give it a go if you can! Try something new, let the body move in new ways and keep an open mind.
Find out about Qi Gong and it’s history here