13 October 2015
For centuries, Eastern cultures have practised various forms of stress reducing exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, but here's one that you may not have heard about - Qi gong. Qi gong (pronounced Chee-goong) has three main parts - exercise, meditation and massage. It's a great way to unwind, take some time out and indulge the body, mind and soul.
Flip Sheldon - Reporter: With our hectic lifestyles, it’s no wonder that we westerners are eager to adopt the peaceful practices of the East. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but I’ve found a place where the world just stops, and all you need to do is relax and breathe. For centuries, Eastern cultures have practised various forms of stress reducing exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, but here’s one that you may not have heard about.
Fiona Edelstein - Qi gong teacher: Hello, welcome. We’re going to be doing qi gong this afternoon; it’s the yoga of China. It’s very simple; all you do is follow me.
Flip Sheldon: Qi gong is the latest craze, although it’s centuries old. The focus is on gentle movement and focused breathing: Qi = energy Gong = ‘work’ or ‘practice’
Fiona Edelstein: Inhale to centre…Exhale.
Flip Sheldon: So Fiona, what is qi gong?
Fiona Edelstein: Well, qi gong has three major elements. There’s the exercises, you keep your mind very quiet while the body is active. Then there’s the meditation and then we also can use points and massage and these are ways to unblock or increase the flow of energy through the body. Imagining taking the breath into the base of the lung…
Flip Sheldon: It’s not a career path you’d expect from the daughter of the ‘80s king of the nightclubs. With her father, Brian Goldsmith, life revolved around loud music, late nights and lots of partying. So, is this some form of rebellion from your younger years as being the daughter of a nightclub owner?
Fiona Edelstein: You know, it’s more a case of I was a stressed teenager, not because of the environment, just because I was. So, gradually I learnt tools to calm down.
Flip Sheldon: The party boy himself seems to be enjoying the slower pace.
Brian Goldsmith: Well, I’ve got to tell you, I wasn’t sure if it was a rock ‘n’ roll… I really didn’t know what it was, but now I understand it. I respect it. I respect the way she does it.
Fiona Edelstein: Now, to lengthen, to lift, to look, exhale.
Flip Sheldon: Practitioners say like yoga and tai chi, qi gong boosts the immune system, burns calories and is great exercise for those with arthritis. Want more? Well, it also reduces anxiety, depression and chronic pain conditions. Now, you know you’re onto something when a two-time Wimbledon champ swears by the class.
Paul McNamee - Wimbledon doubles champion (1980/82): I had some trouble with my knee and I thought I might need an operation. I thought I need some radical way out of it. I always sort of liked the radical approach and so I actually went to a healer and he said, “Try yoga.” So, I thought I’d got to try it. So, my knee’s getting a lot better and I haven’t had the operation. I’m still able to play tennis and golf too. So, that’s really what it was, to try and get my body back in order.
Flip Sheldon: If I look relaxed, it’s because I am. It’s a fantastic way of loosening up and getting the blood flowing without too much stress to the body. Well, I’ve just completed my first qi gong class and I have to say I feel absolutely amazing – refreshed, recharged and rejuvenated and I’m ready to tackle the world again, but not just yet.
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