QI GONG: Yoga Without the Mat

The Oriental Arts Tai Chi & Qi Gong Club of Miramichi

by Jennifer Walker

Most people are familiar with yoga and its health benefits, but many may not know about Qi Gong. Qi Gong is a series of exercises grouped together and referred to as “brocades”. Because the exercises require concentration and focus, they are an excellent way to promote mindfulness. Practiced regularly, Qi Gong stretches lead to improved muscle tone, increased mobility and stress reduction. It can be performed standing up in a small space and no special clothing, footwear or accessories are required. That being said, the summer is a perfect time to enjoy qi gong outside!

I’m Jennifer Walker and I am one of Dave Bucklow’s Qi Gong and Tai Chi students. I have been practicing with David now for about two years. I practiced Taoist Tai Chi for several years while I was living out west. When I first attended class with David, I knew the Tai Chi style would be a little different from what I had learned because David follows the Yang style Tai Chi. What I didn’t expect was for him to start the class with Qi Gong brocades. It was a learning curve as I discovered what Qi Gong was and how it related to Tai Chi, I also learned how practicing Qi Gong supports the health and well-being of a person. I now practice Qi Gong every day of the week. Like Tai Chi, Qi Gong, helps with mobility and balance issues, but instead of completing the Tai Chi set, a person completes a series of exercises referred to as brocades. Like Tai Chi, these brocades are deeply rooted in Chinese culture and medicine dating back over 2,500 years.

While Dave provides the basic support for learning Tai Chi and Qi Gong, YouTube is an invaluable resource for all practitioners. For example, I follow the work of a Qi Gong teacher based in the UK, Mimi Kuo-Deemer. She has online students from all around the world. Mimi has a variety of Qi Gong exercises available on YouTube to help with student learning. She explains the moves and what they are designed to help.

One of the comments Mimi has made is that most people exercise to look and feel 10 years younger than they are. She says that this is the wrong approach and a person should think about what they want to feel like in 10 years’ time. I take this to mean that person should be preparing for the future rather than trying to hang onto the past. I find this puts a good perspective on the work I do each day in Qi Gong. Rather than worrying about what has already passed, I am actively preparing to make a better future for myself by keeping strong and flexible. I also enjoy the exercises. Rather than pushing yourself to the limits of your strength, the focus is on remaining supple while building your strength and flexibility.

In the summer months, The Miramichi Qi Gong and Tai Chi group meets on Mondays at 9:30 – 11:15 at Ritchie Wharf Newcastle. Instructor is Dave Bucklow. Suggested on-line resources include videos and webpage by Mimi Kuo-Deemer, author of Qi Gong and The Tai Chi Axis. New members are always welcome to attend the local classes. Contact Dave Bucklow at 506-622-7124 or

World Tai Chi Day
The Oriental Arts Tai Chi & Qi Gong Club of Miramichi enjoyed a fine morning Tai Chi and Qi Gong practice on May 20th this year. World Tai Chi Day was delayed by a month this year, but this actually worked out in our favour as that month delay gave use a much warmer and sunny day to be outside. We all had a really good morning with brunch to follow in the Goodie Shop restaurant.

Classes will continue every Monday morning at Ritchie Wharf Park, from 9.30am to 11am right into September. We hope everyone can get out to enjoy some of the great weather we are having this summer.

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