Nicole Lee first discovered the Chinese practice of qigong six years ago; it was recommended to her by a friend as an antidote to our fast-paced lives. Lee has been a dedicated practitioner since.
“The definition of qi, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is ‘life force energy’,” says Lee. “I like to think of qi as ‘aliveness’… when you tune into yourself and notice the sensation of being alive.”
Qigong involves a combination of physical and mental techniques intended to improve wellbeing and health generally. Chinese forms of mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation and specific movements and postures are all involved.
Lee’s new studio, Chi Space, is one of the few Melbourne studios dedicated to the practice.
After training with a qigong master in America and a traditional master in China, Lee brings diverse experience to classes for both beginners and more experienced practitioners.
“Qigong is a practice of presence and of ‘doing less’,” she explains.
Who can do it, and who will benefit?
“Everyone!” Lee insists. “One of the things I love about qigong is how accessible it is. The practice is scalable for all ages, levels of fitness and mobility. In terms of delivering benefits, it does that on a physical, mental and emotional level, so it’s great as a stress-management tool and for increasing productivity and clarity, as well as improving general wellbeing.
“People often comment that they feel a sense of ease and clarity from practicing qigong. I had a new student last week that commented that she felt a sense of embodiment and groundedness after the class.”
Apart from qigong classes the timetable is peppered with a variety of workshops and classes dedicated to specific concepts.
“The Tao of Health is a collaborative workshop with a doctor of Chinese medicine,” she says. “This is an experience in understanding traditional Chinese medicine in relationship to the individual and how that combines with qigong.”
A workshop called The Meditation Collective is a weekly class run by a range of meditation teachers; it offers contrasting and varied experiences of meditation, “as well as an opportunity for regular group practice,” Lee says.
At a time when iPhone separation anxiety is real, Chi Space offers up a challenge to those who struggle to be quiet, still and contemplative.
“The most challenging part of qigong is the slowing down and the mindfulness aspect,” Lee says. “Most people find it very difficult to ‘be’, to move slowly and deliberately with presence. Usually our over-active minds are the biggest challenge.”
281 Inkerman St, Balaclava
1300 880 137