Clive Tempest teaches regular classes in Taunton, Somerset, and for The Hestercombe Chi Gung Group in Cheddon Fitzpaine.
Taichi is traditionally performed in places of natural beauty and Hestercombe Gardens are a beautiful setting for outdoor chi gung practice.
Energising relaxation for better health and well-being
In chi gung traditional Chinese exercises are used to bring more conscious awareness to what's happening in the body in each moment.
Chi is the vitality we are conscious of; and 'gung' means doing something with it. Taichi is the performance of these exercises in sequence to instil balance and harmony.
Qigong or qi gong is the pinyin Chinese spelling which you may also see written as chi kung (compare with 'kung-fu').
Chi gung is the preferred English spelling here because it is easier to pronounce.
Chi gung and taichi are often described as meditation in movement – not just a physical practice but a way of connecting with the stillness and presence of the body when the brain is not distracted.
Practised for wellness and health, chi gung can strengthen immunity, help us make best use of our energy and delay the onset of age-related conditions. So while the exercises suit all ages they are especially beneficial as we get older.
For a testimonial about the benefits of the practice, see this magazine article about Clive's classes.
The basic form of chi gung practised is Shibashi Taichi. This simple set of 18 flowing movements is a good introduction to the various systems of exercise and health that originated in ancient China.
Shibashi' just means '18 moves' but in the English language has come to represent sets of exercises derived from a variety of ancient traditions.
These sets have been developed in recent times by Medical Chi Gung doctors to create a modern, easy to learn style of taichi.
The Shibashi taught here is the form passed on by its creators to Sifu Wing Cheung. You will see him performing Shibashi and hear testimonials on his website.
Clive Tempest is certified by Sifu Cheung as an instructor of Shibashi and is a member of the
Tai Chi, Qigong and Feng Shui Institute.
You can see Clive's demonstration of Shibashi on video here.
It takes approximately three months of regular practice of shibashi for benefits to start to accumulate. Once it becomes a daily routine then you can begin to notice the effects in increased wellbeing. Later on you may become aware that your immune function is stronger and you move more easily.
More Advanced Chi Gung
When you have learned the basic shibashi form and reached a certain standard you can move on to other chi gung sets. The Hestercombe Group may use for instance Silk Reeling, Opening the Energy Gates, Dragon and Tiger Chi Gung, Tai Chi 15 and The Marriage of Heaven and Earth.
After continued practice your perception of chi develops and you can relax more consciously – more easily let go of the stresses and strains of daily life.
Attention is given to developing your perception of chi and how the movements connect you to earth energy and solar energy. Traditionally this is known as 'nei gung'.
Particular emphasis is given to postural alignments and grounding exercises. To develop the perception of chi and accumulate it experientially there has to be increasing awareness of access to the chi of nature - earth-energy. Then, as the body becomes your true ground, so it is more open and available to receive solar energy, experienced as greater clarity.
Chi gung practice eventually becomes a demonstration of universal principles enacted in the experience of your own body.
As these principles are the product of an evolutionary process of life on earth, we can employ chi gung to serve our own personal evolution in consciousness.
In this way chi gung can be seen as an entry to a more conscious way of life -
one that is relatively free of the psychological forces that currently enslave our civilisation . . .
Such as anxiety, anger, depression, competitiveness, malice, disillusionment and all the negativity that besets us.
The Conscious Connection
At retreats and workshops the physical exercises raise the energy to support the practice of living more consciously. Conscious connections are made not only within the energy architecture of the body but also between the particular circumstances of our individual lives and the bigger picture of life's mysteries. Through meditative chi gung and learning how to handle the difficulties of daily living, we can make a quantum leap out of the human condition. In the evolution of human consciousness, we have passed through religion and psychology and now new resources of energy and intelligence are provided to help us fulfill our purpose on earth.
See Programme for details of current classes.