Qigong (also written as Chi Kung) is a life energy exercise that strengthens internal organs, breath, cardiovascular system, immunity, bones and joints. It reduces insomnia, tiredness and pains and improves peace of mind, strength, energy and endurance.
“Qi” means air, breath, energy and “Gong” means skill, result, service, work. Qigong is one of the four practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine and in 1989 the Western Medicine hospitals in China recognised Qigong as a standard medical technique for the treatment of diseases and it is included in the national health plan of China in 1996. Regular Qigong practice:
- Reverses the aging process,
- Is beneficial on body functions, blood pressure, glucose metabolism and resting heart rate,
- Supports the treatment of cancer and high blood pressure, prevents middle aged women from bone loss, strengthens the nerves,
- Reduces the risk of falls, depression, anxiety, total cholesterol, weight and body mass index,
- Improves white blood cells, heart beat volume, breath capacity, physical condition, joint and body flexibility, glucose and lipid parameters, quality of life, balance, cardiorespiratory endurance and attention. You can find direct links to the medical research about the health benefits of Qigong below.
Please check events to see Qigong classes and other activities in Cyprus and Istanbul.
Standing Like a Tree (Zhan Zhuang) is the most effective exercise to recharge and activate the energy centres of the body. Usually it is done while standing but in case of illness of disability it can be done while sitting or lying down too. During these postures metabolism increase, breathing deepens, mind relaxes and body strengthens. Standing Like a Tree Qigong (Zhan Zhuang Qigong) system includes various movements too.
The exercises which stretch and open the energy channels of our body are called Dao Yin. Eight Brocades (Baduanjin) is a very popular Dao Yin exercise that consists of eight movements which are repeated eight times each. The oldest scripture that mentions Baduanjin is from 1150 CE. Another book which dates to 1300 CE, pictures all of the eight movements. It is believed to be developed by the legendary General Yue Fei to help to preserve the health of his soldiers.
Baduanjin is practised to promote health and longevity. According to the Traditional Chinese medicine, these movements open the energy channels (meridians) of the body, strengthen the internal organs and help preserving the health. Research has shown that Eight Brocades improves flexibility, reduces body mass index and prevents middle aged women from bone loss.
Central Channel that runs through the spine is the first energy channel formed in the body and the main meridian that supports the energy centres of the body. Central Channel Qigong is an exercise that opens the central channel and the two guiding channels on either side of the spine by simple movements that facilitate the movement of energy through the body.
As well as supporting the overall health and energy of the body, Central Channel Qigong is also effective to relieve head, back, lower back and neck pains since it aligns and strengthens the spine and balances the energy.
- Improve many functions of the body, improve health and reverse aging. Complement Western medicine for the therapy of hypertension and cancer..
- Relieve depression, improve self-efficacy and personal well being among elderly persons with chronic physical illness and depression.
- Improving physical functions; reducing blood pressure, risk of falls, depression and anxiety.
- Anti-depressive Effect of Qigong
- Improving quality of life, mood and fatigue parameters, and reducing inflammation in Cancer Patients.
- Increasing the numbers of white blood cells and lymphocytes, stroke volume, peak early transmitral filling velocity, peak late transmitral filling velocity, forced vital capacity, and forced expiratory volume, and, conversely, lowering of total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and depressive mood scores.
- Improving the physical flexibility and subcutaneous adipose accumulation in the healthy adults.
- Improvement in balance, body flexibilty and glucose metabolism of older adults with Diabetes Mellitus. Improvement in physical function, limb strength, glucose and lipid parameters, and flexibility of the joints, and fortifying the nerves.
- Beneficial for quality of life, sleep quality, balance, handgrip strength, trunk flexibility, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and resting heart rate..
- Improvement of lower limb proprioception, enhance of cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility, explosive force of lower limb and attention in college students.
- Prevention of bone loss for middle-aged women.
- Wang Xiang Zhai (1885-1963) travelled throughout China for 10 years in early 20th Century to learn various Qigong and martial arts practices. He developed Zhan Zhuang Qigong and Da Cheng Chuan (also called Yiquan) martial art systems.
- His student Professor Yu Yong Nian (1920-2013) used Zhan Zhuang Qigong as a therapy in Beijing Railway Hospital and researched and published the health benefits of Qigong.
- Professor Yu’s student Lam Kam Chuen moved from Hong Kong to London in 1975, became the first tai chi instructor appointed by the Inner London Education Authority . With his efforts, tai chi was accepted for the adult education curriculum of the ILEA. He has been teaching Zhan Zhuang Qigong since 1987.
- Lam Kam Chuen’s student Tarık Tekman started practicing Qigong and Tai Chi in 2001 and teaching since 2008 in Cyprus and Turkey.
- Tarık Tekman’s students Sevim Savaşçı (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Özgür Çağlar Çelik (email@example.com) started teaching Qigong in Istanbul in 2014.
If you want to be a qigong instructor;
- Practice Qigong regularly for a few months and see how you feel
- Keep on practicing everyday for a few more months
- If you really love it after months of daily practice, then you can consider becoming a qigong instructor
You will need private tuition as well as group classes. The necessary time to become a Qigong instructor varies because everyone has different skills, tendencies and dedication. Even in best cases it takes several years. So, enjoying the practice is more rewarding than getting the certificate.
Tai Chi Chuan (or Taijiquan) is also known as “Moving Meditation” since we practice slow, fluid, circular and centered Martial Arts and Qigong movements with a relaxed body and mind. It’s an exercise that improves balance, flexibility, cardiovascular health and the immune system.
Harvard Medical School says Tai Chi is one of the best exercises you dan do for your health. Tai Chi improves balance, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and the immune system. It helps the recovery from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and fibromyalgia. Tai Chi reduces the risk of falls, stress and the symptoms of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder in adolescents.
Tai Chi is based on the balance and change of yin (passive) and yang (active) elements and therefore reflects the balance of forward-backward, up-down, expansion-contraction, attack-defence etc. In Tai Chi you never meet brute force with resistance but follow the motion while remaining in contact until it exhausts itself or you can redirect it. This is based on the ancient Taoist principle that soft (yin) overcomes the hard (yang) and any movement transforms into its opposite when it reaches the extreme.
Since the movements in the Tai Chi practice are initiated and lead by internal energy (qi or chi) rather than hard muscle movements, Qigong plays an important role in our classes. We also focus more on the health benefits and strengthening of internal energy, rather than martial applications.
Check the events section to see Tai Chi classes and related events in Cyprus and Turkey.
The most popular Tai Chi form is the Yang Style, developed by Yang Lu-Chan in mid 1800s. 24 Steps Yang Style has been formed in 1956 by removing some of the repeated or complicated movements. This is the most popular Tai Chi form today and it is a good introduction to Tai Chi.
42 Steps Combined Tai Chi Form has been developed by combining Yang, Chen, Wu and Sun styles. It is a more dynamic form than the 24 Steps Yang Style because it includes four different traditional styles in it. 42 Steps Combined Tai Chi is a standard form used for competition in international sports events.
Pushing hands (Tui Shou) is a two-person training that improves reflex, sensitivity, timing, coordination, balance, positioning and physical condition. It undos the natural instinct to resist force with force, teaching the body to yield to force and redirect it. By pushing hands students learn how to respond to external stimuli using techniques from the Tai Chi forms and develop “listening power”, the sensitivity to feel the direction and strength of a partner’s intention.
- Tai Chi has beneficial effects on cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal function, posture control capacity, and the reduction of falls experienced by the elderly. .
- Tai Chi can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance.
- Tai Chi shows potential to enhance cognitive function in older adults.
- Tai chi beats back depression in the elderly
- Tai Chi improves T cell helper function of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus with an increase in T-bet transcription factor and IL-12 production
- Tai chi may be a useful treatment for fibromyalgia.
- Tai Chi may enhance quality of life, exercise capacity, and sleep stability in patients with chronic heart failure.
- Tai Chi training appears to reduce balance impairments in patients with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease, with additional benefits of improved functional capacity and reduced falls.
- Tai Chi has benefits in health promotion and has potential role as an alternative therapy in neurological, rheumatological, orthopedic, and cardiopulmonary diseases. Tai Chi is effective in enhancing aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and balance and in improving cardiovascular risk factors.
- Tai Chi may reduce anxiety and depression and increase bone mineral density after menopause.
- Stroke patients who practice tai chi may improve their balance
- Tai Chi significantly raises immunity to shingles virus
- Five of the best exercises you can ever do- Harvard Medical School list
Taoist (Daoist) philosophy says there was emptiness before the creation of the universe. This is called “Wu Chi (Wuji)” which means no-thing or no-limit and is represented by an empty circle. Then, a differentiation took place in this no-thing and a form is created. This is shown by a dot in the centre of the circle. This creation brings differentiation, which forms the polarities, the duality. These two poles are called yin and yang. Yin and yang change in relation to each other and create each other all the time. Tai Chi (Taiji) is the symbol that shows these two polarities.
The Chinese characters that make the word Tai Chi 太極 (Taiji 太极), convey the meanings “boundless, ultimate, supreme ultimate”. We can think of it as the highest principle that creates all form. This principle includes yin and yang. Movement represents yang. When the movement reaches its extreme, it gives birth to stillness (yin). The extreme of stillness (yin) in turn creates movement (yang) once again.
As can be seen from the symbol above, when the two polarities (yin and yang) reach their maximum, they create the seed of their opposite. The word Chuan (quan) is martial arts. Therefore, Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) is an internal martial arts where this highest principle is applied.
Sevim Savaşçı (firstname.lastname@example.org) has completed her Tai Chi instructor training with Tarık Tekman in 2016 and became a Tai Chi instructor.
If you want to become a Tai Chi instructor;
- Practice Tai Chi regularly for a few months and see how you feel
- Keep on practicing everyday for a few more months
- If you really love it after months of daily practice, then you can consider becoming a Tai Chi instructor
You will need private tuition as well as group classes. The necessary time to become a Tai Chi instructor varies because everyone has different skills, tendencies and dedication. Even in best cases it takes several years. So, enjoying the practice is more rewarding than getting the certificate.