In this frame of mind (and body) it was serendipitous to see an advert for a taster lesson in Qi Gong being held just outside Bodrum town on Saturday. This name, which roughly translates as 'mastering one's vital energy or spirit' had been floating around in my head for a couple of weeks since my friend Jane visited from Marmaris - she has been doing Qi Gong exercises on her roof every morning and they have energised her, so I was keen to sign up.
The lesson was held at Maksimum Yaşam in Konacik. Our teacher, Hakan Onum who is also a Tai Chi and Shiatsu instructor and Feng Shui practitioner, led us in a fascinating theoretical and practical introduction to both Qi Gong (Cheegong) and Tai Chi.
I was won over by Qi Gong; a holistic ancient Chinese exercise and healing technique that combines controlled breathing with movement and meditation. Qi Gong is accessible - if you can walk into the lesson - you can do it. You don't need lots of lycra-covered muscles or marathon-toned legs. I warmed to Hakan the minute he suggested that excessive exercise is not good for us as it leaves our inner organs starved of oxygen (I knew there was a reason I abandoned the running machine). Qi Gong can be as physically challenging as you want it to be and with a good teacher and at least 15 minutes a day practice, you will feel the benefit physically, mentally and spiritually. You also don't need to memorise long routines like Tai Chi.
I'm keen to sign up for the two month, twice weekly beginners class on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons but at a steep 600 TL a month, I am going to wait until I can attend every lesson. My Spring and Summer travel plans will make me miss too many lessons if I start now.
Hakan has a web site in English if you'd like to learn more, Vadi Ruhu and if you are in the Bodrum area and would like to sign up or find out more about Maskimum Yaşam, you can telephone Ayşe Özge Öncel on 0532 068 3748 for details in English.