Tai Chi-Chuan and Qi-Gong
Originated in ancient China, Tai Chi-Chuan and Qi-Gong have been practised for thousands of years. While becoming increasingly popular amongst Westerners, they are now both spreading through our Caribbean islands. Their multiple virtues benefit both body and mind.
Qi-Gong (pronounced chee gong, chee gung, or chee kung) covers a very wide set of therapeutical, medical and spiritual systems. Its practice helps gathering, harnessing and releasing energy (Qi, a universal life force) to improve health. Practising Qi-Gong improves cardiovascular functions and increases lung capacity through breathing exercises that channel the five basic aspects of life energy (earth, fire, water, wood and metal) each related to an organ or a set of organs. Focusing on the body and mind connection also helps fighting stress and fatigue.
Tai Chi-Chuan is a gentle therapeutic martial art. Tai Chi sequences help us become more aware of our body by slowly moving in space and improve our balance by transferring our body weight from one foot to another, as well as controlling, coordinating and remembering movements. Stiffness, the root cause of joint aches as well as muscle and nervous tension, is gradually eliminated as we activate all of our joints and muscles and get sturdier, without effort nor pain. It is actually the best way to prevent falls!
According to traditional Chinese medicine, good health requires life energy (Qi) to circulate freely in the body along meridians. However, by preventing Qi from circulating, stress, poor diet and lack of physical activity often cause disease and accelerated ageing. Practising Tai Chi and Qi-Gong help at restoring energy circulation, thus improving the flow of oxygen to our tissues and organs.
Although these two disciplines are very similar, Qi-Gong is primarily based on breathing exercises combined with postures and self-massages, while Tai Chi-Chuan rather refers to a sequence of slow and smooth movements synchronized with breathing. In both cases, the benefits are immediate. There is no doubt that you will feel relaxed and calm at the end of a session!
Various styles of Tai Chi and Qi-Gong are taught across China, which is a vast country. During the last workshop held at Kaï Papaï, Michel Assouvie, who has travelled extensively in the Middle Kingdom, trained students in the style of Qi-Gong and Tai Chi which originated in Mount Wu-Dang, in the Province of Hubei, South of Shaolin, one of the four sacred mountains where Taoism says that internal arts were born.
More specifically, he taught the 5 elements and the 6 harmonies in Qi Gong and the 13 steps of Wudang in Tai Chi-Chuan.