Mindfulness is consciously paying attention to what is going on in the present moment. It is a state of wakefulness that allows us to fully experience and be present with what's happening in our body and mind in the Now - feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, whichever sense or senses we happen to be focussed on - without the need to conceptualise or judge or form an opinion on that experience. We just let it be as it is and are fully immersed in the direct experience. We are also able to sense and be present with what's around us - our environment - again, letting it be just as it is in each moment. It's not a passive state - on the contrary, it's awake and alive and full of potential as the only place we can truly act is in the Now. The past has gone and the future is yet to be, so when we are mindful we are, in a sense, surfing the wave of the Now as it continually arises in our awareness.

It is sometimes a little difficult for people to sit and be mindful and/or meditate, especially in the early stages, as the mind keeps drawing us back into rumination. Tai chi qigong can help us to let go of our chattering mind by dropping our awareness and attention into the body and focussing on the felt-sense of our experience. Moving meditation gives us the ability to be present in all four limbs, the head and trunk simultaneously, aware of our breathing and eventually, harmonising the movement with our breathing.

Mindful tai chi qigong has the added benefit that we don't become too introverted or inward looking because the exercises encourage us to connect with the energy of our environment. Ideally, we peform the moves in a natural setting - on the beach or in a forest - not so easy in Newcastle for much of the year!  We allow sights and sounds to be there, without grasping them and we feel the substance of the air as our limbs move through it, much like moving through water. By extending our awareness deeply into the Earth and upwards to the Heavens, we have a sense of open spaciousness and connection to a greater whole, liberating us from our small, limited, conceptual self. We have entered, what psychologists in the West refer to as a state of Flow.



For more information on classes and workshops that emphasize Mindful Movement through qigong, please get in touch with Ilona. It is an area that she is particularly keen to expand upon and she will be happy to put together a programme for a particular group or individual student.