I've been itching to try something new lately, I mentioned that to my acupuncture lady during my appointment on Friday and she said that there was a Qi Gong workshop on at the clinic on the weekend and would I like to come? Of course said I. So I rolled out of bed at 8.30 this morning (yes! on a Sunday!), put on some comfy clothes and got ready for an adventure.
I arrived a bit before 10am and was introduced to people and given a cup of chrysanthemum tea (good for the liver, apparently). Where there is tea, there is hope. I'm not sure how to describe it, but Qi Gong is a bit like a martial art, but a bit like yoga in the sense that you are working with the body's energy but there is also meditation, and there are also choreographed moves as well as spontaneous ones. In short, it is pretty hard to describe. One of the ladies said it was more like a way of life really. We then got into the morning session which was mostly exercises, done quite slowly, quite spontaneously. We were guided as to what we were trying to do but how we interpreted that was up to us. There were about eight of us, so it was a nice number of people, and many of them had been practising Qi Gong for a really long time - one lady started in 1990! We went through some breathing techniques, some stretches and some movements. In the second session we did some stretches and then some meditation for about 40 mins. We then had a lunch break for an hour so I popped home for lunch - I felt very calm and floaty, it was lovely. I came back for the third session where we did some stretches for to help digestion (if you stretch out the middle finger and ring finger that helps) and some more meditation, this time combined with breathing. Between every session we had tea and cake which can't be a bad thing - there was a subtle oolong tea called Iron Buddha and more of the brown chrysanthemum tea that I might have to hunt down. Then the last session which was a lot longer where we did lots of movement focused on being a bear. Bears symbolise strength and grounded energy, good for focusing scattered energy and redirecting it towards physical strength, but also in Chinese medicine they are linked to the gallbladder, and anxiety, so when you do this kind of movement you are letting go of that, flexing the joints, stretching out and working with that emotion. It was a lot of fun, and quite a release. Finally we had a little half hour session of walking and stretching to round off the day. It was very interesting - even though it was new it felt quite familiar, and my acupuncture lady said I fitted in with the group very well, there was no awkwardness or stiffness. They run day courses once a month so I think I will try and make another one in the future.
When the workshop had finished I hurried home to get cooking - it was my turn to cook Sunday Dinner today. We had a massive roast for Easter last Sunday and that was going to be a tough act to follow! Middle B was off on a hen party so that left just four of us, but we still managed to stuff ourselves silly. I made Vegetable Curry and Dhal Makani (both World Food Cafe recipes) and rice as the main. I had fortuitously found a cheese board for £3 when I was shopping for coriander. £3! So we had a cheese course - red leicester, cheddar and french blue cheese with red wine (we tried port but it looked a bit iffy so we stuck to the wine) and crackers and digestives even. Once we'd digested that a little, I brought down my new tea set that I had found in a charity shop and we had chocolate cake, cream and coffee out of matching china. It was very exciting. We even had cream in our coffee not just milk. We started dinner at about 6.30 and ended up at about 9.30. Pure class!
Back to work tomorrow - 40 minute walk there and back will do me a lot of good....