Meridian Qigong class may improve long-term health

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Caption: The students follow instructor Kit Rich as she guides them into a liver exercise.

By Meredith Flood
The Meridian Times

Qigong, a facet of traditional Chinese medicine originating 4,000 years ago, is an exercise consisting of slow, graceful movements.

The body movements are very similar to Tai Chi, however, Tai Chi is a more martial-arts type of exercise, whereas Qigong is more slow moving.

Surrounded by fish tanks containing fish, turtles and other species, the students focus on each exercise with great precision.

“I feel energized and calm after a Qigong class,” said Meridian resident Wayne May. “My body seems to have more of a sense of balance and grounding.”

The goal of Qigong is to open the pathways in the bodies, so that energy can flow more freely and effectively.

“The class consists of five elements that we mix into our exercises: water, earth, metal, wood and fire,” said instructor Kit Rich. “For example, we connect fire to a heart exercise, because the heart represents fire.”

The students paired up seasons with body parts that they think go together. In this class, participants determined spring is connected to a liver exercise, summer is for the heart, late summer is for the spleen, fall is the lungs, and winter is for the hip flexor.

The exercises of Qigong are conducted to help with the organs, ligaments and overall self well-being.

“This class is very good for stress management as well as healing my body,” said Meridian resident Susan Masten. “I think it will be good for my long-term health.”

With a combination of slow moving, deep breathing, and a meditative state of mind, Qigong is an excellent way to add gentle exercise to one’s daily life.

The Meridian Qigong class is held at Harris Nature Center and is open to all ages.

More information about Qigong class: http://www.meridian.mi.us/vertical/sites/%7B1800D46E-0900-43BD-B3FA-10A5660870B1%7D/uploads/QigongFall15RegForm(1).pdf

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