Anyone who wants to get outside and enjoy gentle exercise while relaxing the mind and body from the stresses of the day should consider Qigong.
That’s the message from Cllr Duncan Wood, who recently completed a month of sessions at the Belmont Community Hut in Newtown.
Cllr Wood is taking part in 12 Moves in 12 Months – a challenge to try a new activity every month in 2022.
It aims to champion some of Exeter’s amazing community groups and organizations that help people be more active in their daily lives.
Cllr Wood spends time each week in a group or class to try new activities for himself as a great way to be active and stay healthy.
It started with yoga in January, before moving on to Nordic walking, balls and Qigong (pronounced che-gong)
Qigong is a system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation.
Cllr Wood said he really enjoyed the challenge and the space it gave him to escape the hectic nature of our daily lives.
He said: “It’s a great way to relax. I found that when I fell into the trap of thinking about the usual things, my movements weren’t as smooth and I wasn’t as balanced.
“You can feel that inner dialogue that we have dying out when you participate, and all the things that may be stressing you out during the day fade away.
“You focus on controlling movement and breathing, it’s really good for centering.
“Talking to some of the other people in the classes, they said they felt they could do a lot more in the day after leaving the sessions. Usually our daily life develops into a fairly limited range of motion, and Qigong explores the way we move.During the sessions, you move your body and joints in ways you normally don’t and your muscles feel warm.
“The main thing for me was the control of the movements involved, the breathing, having that hour to yourself to focus on yourself and your fitness. It was great – I really enjoyed it.
Qigong instructor Joe Salmon, who has practiced both Tai Chi and Qigong for over 25 years, said: “Everyone is welcome to come to one of these classes – people of all ages It’s all about mindfulness and movement, it gets your body moving smoothly, it nurtures you and calms your mind – it’s the perfect way to relax.
For more information on Qigong at Belmont, visit https://newtowncommunity.org.uk/qigong/
12 Moves in 12 Months is part of the Live and Move #ShareYourMoves campaign to help people become more active in the city.