Movement Medicine is a term currently used for modern practices of dance (5Rythms and such) originating from Shamanic traditions. These are excellent practices to wake up the body and release stagnant energy/qi. I love them for the purpose of self-expression, however they can often be too stimulating and tiring. Hence why I tend to recommend people Qigong and Tai Chi classes.
I love the sound of Movement Medicine as I think it fits perfectly the East Asians traditions that are widely practiced throughout the world today.
Qigong, more than slow movements
Qigong (or Daoyin, the term used before the 1940s) is an umbrella term for a wide range of exercises dating back to as far as 5000 years. These are also from East Asian Shamanic traditions and they have been widely used for healing, wellbeing, and self-nourishing (Yangsheng) as well as serving a foundation to internal martial arts (Neidan).
It is a widely known concept of Chinese Medicine that, Qi must move freely in the body in order to maintain good health (originating from the Huang Di Nei Jing).
Now presuming that you may not be familiar with the term qi, we can substituate the word for blood, air, lymph fluids, bioelectric signals and such. Whatever term we use, it will fit the concept. The body needs to have a continous, smooth flow of movement in order to function to its best.
Qigong practice does exactly this. We move in certain ways that has specific beneficial effects on the body. That is medicine.
There is a reason why Qigong is considered one of the four pillars of Chinese Medicine.
We warm up the surface of the body, so the muscles loosen. We stretch and gently engage muscle gorups (sinew channels) in order to open them and creat space for Qi (or any substitute term) to flow freely.
Of course the topic of Qigong is very deep. Nowadays there are as many schools as there are Qigong sets. The most important thing for you (and me) is to practice. To healthily engage in our body. And do so frequently and consistently.
Tai Chi Chuan, an internal martial art
Tai Chi is an internal martial art (Neidan) that is about 2500 years old. There are many disagreements about its origins, however my teachers are part of the 25th generation of Wudang Long Men lineage.
Tai chi – similar to Qigong- is mostly practiced for its healkth benefits today. However it is a martial art, and it has been taught as part of the Wudang Arts curriculum as such.
The style that I practice and teach is based on sets of forms that encompasses both martial applications, health benefits and breathwork.
It is a beautiful art that has many layers and an ever-increasing depth, the more we learn.
Usually we practice 28 or 108 step empty handed forms (Tai Chi Chuan). Naturally there are many more beautiful forms (including Straigth Sword, Saber, Fan) that are yet to be learned.
It is usually necessary to practice Qigong prior to Tai Chi, in order for our body to be able to truly engage in the practice. To be present instead of fixating different sensations of pain and discomfort. Both practices can be mildly challanging, however in both cases we are aiming to develop a sense of ‘Active Relaxation’ (Song) in the body. Which is the prerequisit of deeper practices (Neigong).
Practicing movement medicine of any sorts is an investment in our health and spiritual development (if that is in our interest). These arts need to practiced and the real pearls or insight can only be gained from our own experiences.
Qigong and Tai Chi classes in Crystal Palace
I will not teach you how to be your best self. All I can give you are exercises that help you reflect. That show you areas that need improvement and areas that need recongition.
Nonethless, your health will benefit from these practices for sure.