For some reason, I have never been a fan of physical exercise. If I mostly excelled as a student at school, PE (Physical Education) was always my lowest grade. Today, getting myself to do some regular exercise continues to be extremely challenging, especially in Covid times. [Do you feel the same?]
There is one activity, however, I have always enjoyed since I first tried it, about 14 years ago back in England: Tai Chi. After practicing it for a few years and interrupting for a few more, after I moved to the Netherlands I was happy to find a new teacher. Ellen did not only become my Tai Chi teacher but she also introduce me to Chi Kung exercises (these are often also mentioned as Taiji and Qigong). [Check our more about Ellen and her NenChi page here, in Dutch.]
They are both low-impact forms of exercise and I love the energy and mental boost I get from it! Let me be clear: it took me years to learn some of the moves; even today I am not sure I have mastered any. But that is not the point. Tai Chi & Chi Kung are about relaxation, fluidity, slowing down, a sort of moving meditation, getting your body and mind in balance. Perfection should be the least of your worries (although the Tai Chi form does follow a specific sequence of movements which will take a while to learn). And they are appropriate even for people with certain medical conditions (though, if you have any, you should really consult your doctor first), no matter how old you are. You also don't need any special clothing/shoes or apparatus; whatever you are wearing is probably 'good to go' :) ... so no excuses!
Over the past weeks, when meeting for a Tai Chi/Chi Kung lesson became impossible even in smaller numbers, Ellen began to share a lesson plan with several video links with us, and giving us a 'text nudge' a few minutes before the starting time of our classes. While I still ended up doing a few later, this has created the extra accountability that I needed to actually do the classes by myself, at home. And it has even allowed me to create some extra moments to practice my 'own moving meditation'.
Whether you are a novice to Tai Chi and Chi Kung or a more experienced practitioner, below are some of the Chi Kung and related videos Ellen suggested which I most liked and which you can try too! Even though not all videos are in English, you can still just follow it and copy the exercises yourself. Remember to stay relaxed and supple...
Always start with a warm up exercise. Then you can try any of the sequences suggested below (you can use one for each different day, or mix and match). This will get you to about 1 hour exercise, but of course you can stop before that. Even 20 minutes a day will make a difference! :) Will you give it a try? Let us know!
Great for warming up
Other 'mix & match' videos
I hope you enjoyed it, and obviously a big 'Thank You' to Ellen!
You can also read about other ideas to 'Have fun alone' in my previous article here or check out more about TRE (Tension/Trauma Release Exercises) here, both listing great options for and beyond this lockdown period.
Maybe you will join me in the coming weeks, as most of us will be practicing from home :)
Let us know what you liked most in the comments below...
(First published: 06 February 2021.)