Tai chi/Chi kung is also known as Shibashi, which translates as 'eighteen movements', and is a gentle and flowing chi kung exercise routine that is both a joy to do and deeply relaxing. It combines the key elements of chi kung and tai chi, such as effortlessness, mindfulness and use of the breath. It can also be practised standing or seated, depending on a person's level of mobility, etc.
It consists of 18 forms practised as a flowing sequence but if time is short then this can be reduced as required and any one of the forms can be practiced on its own. It is easily learnt and notes and illustrations are provided to help remember the forms. For those who want to develop further there is a second and third set of shibashi forms which expand on the first set and provide an even greater repertoire of movements to benefit from! There is also a fourth set although this is more focussed on forms which benefit specific areas of the body, such as heart, lungs, liver, cancer, diabetes, etc.
As well as being a complete exercise routine it can also be used as a warm up for tai chi forms or to complement other types of physical exercise, such as martial arts, gym work, walking, cycling, etc. Shibashi is also proven to be very beneficial for people with arthritic and heart conditions, along with many others.
Shibashi is very good for people who want to move on to Yang style tai chi forms because it introduces the basic elements of weight shifting, centre led movement, co-ordination of hand and leg movements together with controlled breathing. It will also support chi kung practice and other martial art systems, as well as being beneficial to overall physical and mental health.
All shibashi movement is centred around a face forward position. Diagonal side steps always return to this starting position - so in that sense it is fixed. If you can stretch your arms out to the sides and turn a full circle you have enough space to practice. As mentioned earlier it can also be practiced seated.
The complete shibashi pattern takes about 15 to 20 minutes depending on how you are feeling and the number of repetitions of each form.
It's suitable for all groups and all ages - and you are never to old to start - many people in their 70's and 8o's practice shibashi!
Southern Chi Kung intend to introduce shibashi classes in the Hampshire area in the new year, so keep an eye on our website classes page for further updates!