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  • What: An ancient healing system which focuses on the restoration of holistic balance through gentle breathing techniques and slow movements

  • Origins: Qigong can be traced back some two thousand years in ancient China.

  • Benefits:Qigong can harmonise, strengthen and have a healing effect on the functioning of all the internal organs and bodily systems. It increases the supply and flow of energy throughout the body, can have a variety of rejuvenating effects and is believed to increase longevity as it induces calm mental and emotional states.

  • Journal:Click here

Day 4, 18/09/11: Discovering Qigong - China

This morning we headed to Badachu Park and the Lingguang (Divine Light) Temple which is believed to be the home of the Buddha's Tooth. I have to confess that it really warmed my heart to be again circumambulating to the sounds of Om Mani Padme Hum...

...What left me cold however was the distinct lack of authenticity; I didn't experience any of the devotion that usually exists within Buddhist pilgrimage sites. Of course this feeling was amplified by the mass of tacky artificial flowers, which seem a ubiquitous feature out here.

The treatments this morning went by without any drama. During acupuncture six needles were inserted in my back whilst the electrode machine was cranked up for added depth.

I've now started to view my body as the London underground; the needle in my left shoulder marks the central chi line. I know this because the second it goes in it begins to spasm, twitching uncontrollably like a dowsing rod over lay lines.

After lunch Master Wan delivered a talk on earthquakes, his own survival story, SARS and the orphanage, it was deeply sobering. I'm just so grateful for Louise, her kindness and her ability to translate all of this is the most special of gifts.

As we left the conference room we were invited to participate in a traditional Cha Dao (Chinese tea ceremony). This was so therapeutic, the atmosphere was relaxed and peaceful; in fact I could've stayed all day watching each step, discovering what codes underlie the ceremony.

It was as if I was swept through time, through my own lifetime. Each tiny clay piece was so intricate, so dainty that it reminded me of how, as a child, I used to collect and hide small toys in my clothes.

After the ceremony we sat for a period in meditation; I really benefited from having some time to ground myself. When the group reconnected we began to explore the mantra 'Om Mani Padme Hum'.

Fancy me coming all the way to China to listen to the same music I hear practically every day during my evening meal; mind you, me attempting to sing it is a completely new experience.

After my voice had painfully droned and shrieked, we were taken into the Kung-Fu room. Here we began to work with cultivating our yin and yang; the bringing together of both the female and male energy.

On completion Master Wan and his young disciples performed a traditional Taoist blessing. By incorporating sound, ritual, movement and energy he blessed and presented us each with a defender card.

With unbridled force the tinny drums barked louder and louder, louder still. Inside the chords resonated; the stagnation disturbed.