My name is Sandra Edwards and I coordinate the Doncaster Cygnus Café Group, which has been running for over 3 years. The group meets once a month and is made up of about 15 people from all walks of life who attend as often as they like or are able to. We are lucky because I have a friend who owns a large tearoom, and she is happy to let us all settle down in a corner undisturbed, with the added benefit of having a wonderful selection of drinks and cakes to sustain us.
About a year ago, a lady contacted me to enquire about the group and asked if she could join the next Café gathering. She has turned out to be a wonderful addition to our group, and a real “find” to many of its members, and to me personally.
Her name is Meg Allen and she is an Intuitive Therapist and a wonderful Qigong teacher. When Meg came to the meeting she explained that Qigong is an ancient Chinese exercise and healing technique which involves meditation, controlled breathing and movement exercises. Qigong harmonizes the flow of Qi around the body bringing a free-flow of energy which increases circulation and oxygen flow, making you feel well physically, emotionally and mentally.
Meg told us that she had just started a Qigong class in Doncaster, and I decided, along with two other members, to try out her class that very week! I personally suffer from painful polyarthralgia – arthritis in the knees, hips, spine, shoulders, neck and hands – so I felt that anything that might help improve my flexibility and balance was worth trying.
The hour-long lesson started with a ten minute guided meditation with relaxed breathing and colour visualisation. We then did some beginner’s Qigong exercises to warm up. For people who have balance problems or restricted mobility, all the exercises can be done sitting down. The lesson followed this pattern of meditation and exercises for a full hour and, much to my surprise, at the end of that hour I felt energized yet relaxed and noticed that I had more freedom of movement and less pain in all my normally achey joints.
So, I decided to do about 10 minutes of Qigong practice every morning and found that it immediately caused three things to happen: it improved my circulation (I could feel it in my hands and feet), it reduced the pain in all my joints so I could get moving soon after completing the exercises, and it made me feel positive and energized. And as a result of this within a week I was able to reduce the number of anti-inflammatory tablets I was taking. Eventually after a few more weeks my condition was so much improved that I was able to stop taking the tablets completely, because I could get up every morning and literally ‘Qigong away’ my painful and stiff joints within 10 minutes.
And I am not the only one to benefit from Meg’s Qigong class. Other people have experienced very positive improvements in their various health issues – one lady chose not to have an operation on her back because her condition has so much improved. Another lady who joined the class needed to use two walking sticks to get around and after a couple of months of Qigong classes barely needs them at all most of the time. Some people say the exercises help relax and de-stress them, while others (like me) find they are gently energizing – the benefits that people experience are unique to them.
As a result of these positive health and general wellbeing outcomes, people started spreading the word to their family and friends and the number of people joining the class increased. Meg has now started a second class in a different area of Doncaster – and that has blossomed as well. There are people of all ages attending and Meg has even been asked if she can run a class where parents can bring their children to try meditation and Qigong.
I have heard a number of people say that Meg and her Qigong classes have been a wonderful blessing to them – and all this has come about because of the Cygnus Review and the Cygnus Café Community!
This article was written by Sandra Edwards, the Cygnus Cafe Coordinator in Doncaster. You can find a Cygnus Cafe near you here!
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