Blog Archive

Monday, 30 March 2020

Tai Chi and Qigong Online

Looking to de-stress, to move your body, and learn simple ways to gain headspace?

Looking for evidence based tai chi and qigong online taught by a professional educator and a healthcare professional?

Join Phil & Helen with their award winning tai chi and qigong for health and wellness classes. Between them they have over 46 years of indepth experience and teaching practice.

Online Tai Chi & Qigong Tuition
Helen & Phil - Discover Tai Chi

We aim to inspire, teach and empower you to enjoy our evidence based programmes from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere you like.

We have an online portal at our Patreon Page where members gain dedicated access to our exclusive content:

We'll showcase our new evidence based tai chi programme Tai Chi Foundations with a selection of movements from Yang taijiquan based on the most recent research.

Before you know you'll have access to a library of videos and downloads of our favourite qigong/daoyin movements to get you moving anytime.

Helen & Phil - Online Tai Chi
In addition, we'll feature coffee table conversations on the culture and philosophy of tai chi and the associated exercises of daoyin or qigong and their origins in ancient China.

We'll take you on some rather special guided meditations in the great outdoors as a positive approach to help you slow-down, relax and breathe.

You can also join us for our live streams from our Facebook Group @discovertaichi

11:00am GMT
Tuesday's and Thursday's.

If you have any questions please don't hestitate to get in touch. Please do share this post with a family member, a friend or colleague, who you think like this blog post.

We look forward to seeing you online.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Online Tai Chi Classes

We took the difficult decision to close our classes to safeguard all our participants on Monday 16th March 2020 based on the recommendations of the UK Government and Public Health England. 

In meantime we have launched a new online learning platform so we can continue to offer our award winning evidence based tai chi programmes.

You can find us at Discover Tai Chi on our new Patreon page.

We hope you can join us on this exciting journey and new way of teaching.

If you can join us you will have access to a library of videos and downloadable resources that you can view at your leisure, anytime, anywhere.

We hope you like what we do. Please do let us know what you would like us to video and what themes you'd like us to talk about.

Helen and I look forward to seeing you there.

Thank you everyone for supporting us during this unprecedented global challenge.

Warmest regards
Phil & Helen

Monday, 16 March 2020

Tai Chi Tote Bag

Helen and I really love our new sustainable Tote Bags - just £10. We can post nationally and to international locations as well.

This Tote Bag is made with heavy weight recycled cotton and polyester fabric with our favourite Dandelion graphic - designed by Philip.

The floating dandelion seed reminds us of the Tai Chi principle of 'Song' - meaning to let go or relax. 

Each bag is hand-printed by two amazingly talented local graphic designers from their studio in Keighley where we live. Check them out at Studio Print Press.

You can buy your bag direct from us at our regular classes and workshops. Or order from us using our contact details below.

As a small enterprise with a social purpose we aim work in an ethical and sustainable way at all times. We support our local economy by sourcing all our promotional materials from small business's in the Aire Valley.

Each bag is Fair Wear Foundation assured meaning they get made by workers paid a living wage, have worker rights, in enviroments based on equity and equality.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Wave Hands in Clouds - Yang Tai Chi

We've had a bit of a deep dive over the last few weeks into Wave Hands in Clouds (云手 Yún Shǒu) from Yang style taijiquan.

Yang Chengfu

Inspired by a recent research paper based on this one sequence we've explored some of the components that make this particular Tai Chi sequence the 'mother' movement of all Tai Chi. Within this one movement we encounter the challenge of maintaining postural stability, relaxation, rootedness, balance and coordination.
"During Tai Chi Yunshou exercise, head-and-eye movements, the trunk and limbs movement are synchronous and frequent changes of head-and-body orientation are required. This may result in a better combination of the visual and vestibular systems for balance control."
Xie, G., Rao, T., Lin, L., Lin, Z., Xiao, T., Yang, M., Xu, Y., Fan, J., Lin, S., Wu, J., Feng, X., Li, L., Tao, J. and Chen, L. (2018). Effects of Tai Chi Yunshou exercise on community-based stroke patients: a cluster randomized controlled trial. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 15(1).
We have a number of people who expressed an interest in the paper so please do follow the link to read the full text here.

Let us know your thoughts and comments.

Thanks Phil & Helen

Friday, 27 December 2019

Tai Chi - Components of Fitness Part 1

The martial arts of China have a fascinating centuries long history from which modern day Tai Chi for Health springs. Some instructors find it tempting to stick with old ways of teaching without asking, 'Could I teach in a better way?'

Tai Chi Chuan at Kung Fu Corner, Kowloon Park, Hong Kong
Tai Chi Chuan at Kung Fu Corner, Kowloon Park, Hong Kong
Image by Jakub Hałun [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

One of the ways Helen and I think about describing Tai Chi and Qigong to modern audiences stems from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) the industry standard for health and fitness instruction.

The ACSM uses evidence from research to constantly update and revise best practice when teaching activities to groups or individuals for their health and enjoyment. They describe health and exercise in terms of components. Different types of activity and exercise tend to emphasise particular components.

Let's take a look at those components. They break down into five health-related components and six skills-related components:
Health-Related Components of Physical Fitness 
  1. Cardiovascular Endurance
  2. Muscular Strength
  3. Muscular Endurance
  4. Flexibility
  5. Body Composition 
Skills-Related Components of Fitness 
  1. Speed
  2. Power
  3. Agility
  4. Balance
  5. Coordination
  6. Reaction Time
So, how do the ACSM's fitness components fit with regular Tai Chi practise?

Research suggests the following health-related fitness components for Tai Chi include:
cardiovascular endurance,
muscular strength,
muscular endurance,
and flexibility; 
and the following skills components of
and power.
The slow continuous movements of Tai Chi load the hips and legs constantly with the transfer of body weight from stance to stance. This continuous shifting load of body weight from one leg to the other builds strength and muscular endurance and improves agility, balance, and power.

In a similar way to the legs and hips, the shoulder girdle and arms benefit from the slow continuous load and coordinated movements of the extended arms and hands.

With a little regular practise Tai Chi improves range of motion (flexibility) in both the upper and lower limbs. We find participants start to report their increased confidence in their ability to enjoy activities of daily living as they begin to master the movements of their leg and arms along with carrying themselves with improved posture.

Tai Chi in Haikou Peoples Park
Tai Chi in Haikou Peoples Park
Image by Anna Frodesiak [CC0]

Surprisingly, evidence appears to show a marked improvement in cardiovascular endurance with regular practice of Tai Chi as seen on an episode of the BBC series, Trust Me I'm a Doctor.

We can say with some confidence that regular practise of Tai Chi has no reported adverse consequences, and research supports the claim that regular practise of Tai Chi will support people to continue to enjoy a high quality of life into older age.

As instructors and practitioners in the 21st century Helen and I constantly reflect and ask the question of ourselves, 'How can we facilitate the learning and enjoyment of Tai Chi as an accessible activity that inspires confidence in our participants from their very first class?'

As we move into 2020 we continue in our journey to offer people Tai Chi for Health from an evidence based perspective.

We look forward to the New Year and sharing our journey with you.

All the best

Phil & Helen : )

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Tai Chi for Health Class - Crossflatts

Pleased to announce our new Tai Chi for Health class at St Aidan's Church Hall, Crossflatts, BD16 2AR. Opening on the 9th December 2019.

Our thirteenth class in the Aire Valley. We aim to offer people in Bingley and Keighley more choice to enjoy their favourite Tai Chi and Qigong classes with us.

Poster for Tai Chi at Crossflatts, Bingley
Tai Chi for Health - Crossflatts, Bingley.

On Monday 23rd December we will have food and beverages for anyone from any class to join us for a celebration before the Christmas Holidays - starting at 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

Class Details:

Monday's from: 9th December - 1:30pm to 2:30pm.

All classes run on an open and ongoing basis.

First session £3, then £6 per class.

All welcome.

If you think someone you know might like this new class or any of our other classes please do share this blog post with them or on your social media channels.

Phil :)

Photography by Paula Solloway Photography

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Tai Chi CPD Workshop for Health Professionals

Discover Tai Chi - Helen & Phil
Image by Paula Solloway
We ran our first full day Continuing Professional Development (CPD) workshop for health professionals on the 8th November at Bingley Community Health Centre.

We felt a little nervous as we had a lot of information and practise to get across in one day. We spent a couple of months reviewing research papers, discussing, writing, and editing lesson plans, and just thinking it through.

We finalised our plan to cover the most recent systematic reviews on the benefits of regular  Tai Chi, recent UK guidelines on best practice with regard to physical activity - that also recommend regular Tai Chi practise, a brief history on the origins Tai Chi, and most importantly, plenty of practise.

We wanted to make sure that the attendees would get the chance to paraphrase Bruce Lee, to not just think about Tai Chi but feel it also.

Dr. Paul Lam with Phil & Helen
Phil, Dr. Paul Lam, & Helen
We introduced the twelve attendees to the core movements of the Tai Chi for Arthritis programme created by Dr. Paul Lam, founder of the Tai Chi for Health Institute.

This short program proved perfect for our purposes as it has a good evidence base for its efficacy for improving health and well-being, and as a primary preventative exercise for falls prevention.

At the end of the day, feeling exhausted and elated at the same time, we gathered in the anonymous feedback forms from all the attendees. We felt a little more than blown away faced with the positive reviews.

We'll let the attendees words speak for themselves:

UK Physical Activity Guidelines 2019
UK Physical Activity Guidelines 2019
Would you recommend this workshop, if so what would you say about it when talking with a colleague?
  • "Good evidence base which is important for evidence-based practice. Practical workshop really good." 
  • "I would say that this course was not only useful for my patients but useful for myself too."
  • "Well presented, friendly atmosphere created Highly enjoyable and worthwhile.  Thanks."
  • "Good passionate presenters; good amount of practical elements, thanks!"
  • "Informative useful, well-paced, excellent."
  • "Very useful techniques/ideas. Interesting new concepts."
  • "Evidence-based - Engaging articulate hosts."
  • "Very informative good instruction."
  • "Enjoyable, learning a new experience. Anybody can do it."
  • "Fantastic Knowledge very engaging teaching."
  • "Good foundations for something bound to be more popular and relevant in the future of physiotherapy."
What did you find most beneficial?
  • "Link of evidence to practice - the scientific basis."
  • "Examples that were given of the conditions or presentations that may benefit."
  • "Practical element very enjoyable and good pace."
  • "Useful techniques/approaches to use in practice and to identify individuals to refer on."
  • "Lead by medically framed/evidence-based professionals and constantly related to MSK conditions and biopsychosocial model."
  • "Clear concise instructions, good info on background/history. 
  • "Really enjoyed the practise and learning the sequences."
  • "Practical and scientifically evidence-based." 
  • "Measured clear instruction."
  • "Ideas for falls patients! The ways moves can be applied to complex needs patients."
Discover Tai Chi Portrait of Helen and Phil
Image by Kate Bamber Photography
Anything you would have liked covered that wasn't in the workshop?
  • "No."
  • "Very thorough content."
We would like to express our appreciation to all the attendees on the day who got into the spirit of things right from the start and remained enthused to the very end.
  • "You exceeded expectations!"
Based on the overwhelming feedback we feel inspired to run more CPD workshops for health professionals in the future.

If you would like us to run a dedicated evidence based CPD workshop for you and your colleagues, or you would like to find out more about Dr. Paul Lam's Tai Chi for Health programmes please do get in touch.

T: 07528 959091

We look forward to talking with you.

Helen & Philip