Friday, 28 August 2020

Mindful Qigong Movement

You can find this movement called Wise Owl Gazes Backwards within the popular qigong set, The Eight Strands of Brocade (Baduanjin). 

This movement, along with others, have their origins in an ancient Chinese health and wellness culture called Yangsheng or 'nourish life'. Archaeological evidence from the Mawangdui Tomb in Hunan Province, China, can date this culture of 'physical therapy' coupled with quiet breath awareness to 168 BC. 

Before starting these movements we can practice using our simple breathing exercise to slow down and pay attention to what’s going on around us.

Once we feel comfortable with these simple movements, we can use them delve a little deeper into what’s happening within. In Tai Chi, we have the word (Yi) for mental intention. There are many different types of intention we can bring to our practice. 

But before we add any other intentions we may want to discover what our default intention is.

In our day to day life, we can be goal-driven even if we are not striving to be the next Elon Musk, we probably have a strong intention to do things quickly, to find a parking space as quickly as possible, find the smallest queue in the supermarket, get where we are going as quickly as we can, possibly without knowing why.  Sometimes we do have a time limit but sometimes it’s just become a habit. 

Using simple Tai Chi movements we have a chance to explore a different intention for just a few minutes a day. We can explore the intention to deliberately slow down, maybe to observe a bit more maybe even take time to smell the roses?

As we bring our intention to focus more regularly it can help us develop mindfulness and be more aware of what intentions are driving us and what else we could be observing. This can help us become aware of some pleasant or neutral feelings such as clothing on the skin or the feeling the ground beneath the feet. We may become aware of the intention to rush or complete the movement and even enjoy letting it go.

It is fascinating to think that we can connect ourselves to women and men over 2000 years ago who felt the need to slow down and enjoy the very same physical and mindful movements we enjoy today. 

Monday, 24 August 2020

Breathing Space - A Meditation

As more and more businesses begin to re-open and schools are set to restart our lives may be changing again or even be speeding up. Is this something that we want to do?

This may be a good opportunity to check our internal speedometer and decide what speed we would like to be travelling at.  How do we control the speed? How do we slow down if we want to?

Phil's teacher used to say, 'If you give yourself time then you have all the time in the world.'

How do we give ourselves time in between all the other tasks of the day or just find time in between all the thoughts that may be rushing around our heads? 


In Tai Chi, we use a simple breathing exercise to practise pausing and slowing down. We can enjoy this exercise anytime, anywhere. We can do it this seated or standing or even lying down if we are at home.

Ideally, step outdoors to really reap the benefits of this exercise that has its roots in meditations practised over 2000 years ago in ancient China.  It could be a favourite place in your garden for instance, or a park, or any open space that resonates with you. 

You may like to begin by observing trees, clouds, plants and listen to the birds for a couple of moments. Just watching and enjoying the sights and sounds. Being in green spaces can help reduce high blood pressure. Observing nature moving more slowly can help us find a different pace from rushing traffic and computers. 

Following the traditional instructions in tai chi regarding the breath, let your breathing feel smooth, refined and continuous. A saying suggests our breath feels like drawing a single thread of silk from a cocoon.

Then we take time to observe the breath and any sensations that may come up. We follow the natural changes that occur as the breath comes in and goes out. We may feel like closing our eyes for a while to really feel the coming and going. 

"This creates a new spaciousness in the mind enabling us to think and see more clearly so that we are better able to focus on the things that really matter."
Dr Tamara Russell, 2015. Mindfulness In Motion. Watkins Media, London.

Why not try it just before settling down to sleep as part of your calming bedtime routine.

Once you get into a routine with this simple exercise you won't even need to use your hands as cues. You can visualise those touchpoints in your mind's eye and follow your natural breath cycle. 

If we can find just one minute to slow down, hit the pause button, and find breathing space, we give ourselves time and then we have all the time in the world.

Music: I Need To Start Writing Things Down by Chris Zabriskie

Monday, 15 June 2020

Online Tai Chi Zoom Class

Welcome to our new online tai chi Zoom class.

Tai Chi Foundations by Discover Tai Chi
Tai Chi Foundations by Discover Tai Chi

When do you run your class?

Every Wednesday 11:00 am to 12:00 noon. Helen and Phil will broadcast from their home using the Zoom video conferencing service.

How do I book?

Start your sign-up by clicking the link and then register (book) your class:

What style of tai chi do you teach?

We teach a new research based programme created by us that we call Tai Chi Foundations Part 1 using selected movements from traditional Yang Taijiquan.
Together we will explore the dynamic of yin-yang as an embodied mindful practice for our health and wellness.
We will start each session with some slow, mindful movements, beginning with the most fundamental movement of life - our natural breath cycle.
Tai Chi Foundations Part 1 aims to offer us just that, a foundation to build upon.
We will build our strength, improve our balance, and allow ourselves to experience a deep sense of relaxation.
A true moving meditation.

Who can join, I haven't tried tai chi before?

We've designed this programme for everyone to enjoy. Anyone can join whether your new to tai chi or have practiced tai chi before. You can enjoy the movements seated or standing up and we encourage you to adapt movements to suit your needs and comfort levels.

What is a online tai chi class Zoom like?

Online Zoom classes have become incredibly popular recently for tai chi, yoga, pilates, and fitness classes. Using Zoom's video conferenceing service you can enjoy a live inter-active class with your instructor from the comfort of you home, or anywhere for matter with an internet connection. Follow the instructions once you've signed up and registered your first class.

To get started click the link to sign up to our online booking service, then register (book) your first class:

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Online Tai Chi Course

Looking for the perfect introduction to tai chi and qigong?

Start here:


Sunday, 19 April 2020

Tai Chi and Yin Yang

Learn about tai chi and yin yang in this beautifully illustrated booklet with recommendations for further reading to take your understanding to a deeper level.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Tai Chi Foundations

Welcome to Tai Chi Foundations

A research based programme of Yang Tai Chi movements that will build strength, improve balance and promote a deep sense of relaxation.

Tai Chi for Health Class at Cliffe Castle Park, Keighley
Tai Chi for Health Class at Cliffe Castle Park, Keighley.

Discover Qigong

Qigong is the modern term for an ancient set of health exercises collectively called Daoyin.

Daoyin exercises integrate mindful practice with a elegant and balanced flow of the whole body with gentle awareness on the breath.

Illustration of Daoyin Tu - The Wellcome Trust, London
Daoyin Tu - Wellcome Trust, London

These exercises have their origins in a range of health and wellness practises called Yangsheng - 养生 - meaning to nourish or cultivate life.

Coordinating the mindful movements with our natural breathing cycle creates a deep sense of relaxation and wellbeing.

The scroll above illustrates a Daoyin chart excavated from the Mawangdui Tomb 3 (sealed in 168BC) in the former kingdom of Changsha, called 'Guiding and Pulling Chart'. 

Tai Chi for Health Institute Logo
Tai Chi for Health Institute

Helen and Phil are board certified instructors with Dr Paul Lam's Tai Chi for Health Institute (TCHI).

They teach Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA) / Falls Prevention (TCA/FP) a rewarding program based upon Sun Style Taijiquan; and Tai Chi for Rehabilitation (TCR) a simple to learn tai chi program that anyone can enjoy seated or standing.

Please do get in touch to discuss the ideal Tai Chi and Qigong session for you.

Telephone: 07528 959091
Facebook Messenger:

Private Tai Chi Tuition

Tai Chi and Qigong Tuition Just for You

Enjoy the benefits of dedicated one to one tuition focused on you.

breath and relax
Breath & Relax
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Private Tai Chi tuition with Helen or Philip gives you time to focus on what you would like to achieve.

You may like to:
  • Focus on your posture for ease with certain movement patterns in day to day life
  • Take an in-depth look at the form you have learnt in class
  • Gain greater insight into the purpose behind each movement or sequence
  • Cultivate your awareness of your natural breath cycle.
  • Learn how to take notice of yourself and the world around you
  • Tailor specific movements or sequences to build your strength, balance and coordination
  • Tailor a set of tai chi sequences just for your personal enjoyment
  • Explore how to adapt certain movements or sequences to meet your needs as a consequence of injury, illness or disability
  • Simply enjoy the personal attention you get with a private one to one session at a location of your choice

Please do get in touch to discuss the ideal Tai Chi and Qigong session for you.

Telephone: 07528 959091
Facebook Messenger: