I started attending Qigong classes 18 months ago on the advice of a friend who told me I was in a bad way and needed to sort myself out. I was generally unfit, taking no exercise, and had a disposition towards a stomach ulcer. If I ate unwisely or had an alcoholic drink I would be troubled by severe stomach pains for a couple of days after. I had been prescribed medicine for it and the situation had stabilised at this level. I also tended to have minor problems with a bad back.

So taking up this advice I started attending classes at Simon Lau Centre. The first thing I noticed was the psychological effects, after the first class I felt elated, very energised and unable to sleep. I remember this clearly as it was the night the war in the Gulf started and I sat up till 3:00 am watching the news before I felt tired.

I carried on attending classes on a weekly basis and as I progressed I noticed my posture improving. My slouching chair at work became uncomfortable. My shoulders straightened and I felt taller. I developed a great awareness of my whole body and could take great pleasure in, for example, a simple gesture like turning over my hand. My stomach ceased troubling me and, although I was careful not to tax it my awareness of the internal tenderness decreased.

I still attended classes and as the weeks passed I found more subtle thing happening I found it easier to assert myself in uncomfortable situations, and in moments of stress I could calm myself down and deal with things in a reasonable manner.

After three months my girlfriend, who had been abroad, returned. She was quite surprised by changes in me that had taken place. Physically I had become self possessed and relaxed and mentally I was less highly strung and generally happier. Fortunately she approved of this, and attempted to find a Qigong master in the town in which she lives.

As I neared the six month point in my attendance the Ji Fa Gong stage appeared within my training with remarkable effect on my back. After each session my back would feel better and shortly stopped aching altogether, and after a while I had a feeling of incredible flexibility within it. I felt as I could be lifted by the head and shaken like a string of beads. As amazing feeling of looseness where before there had been only tightness.

We continued developing from here with smaller steps for the next six months building on this foundation. Concentrating more on the meditation side. I found I had a resting pulse of around 52 during this time which struck me as being remarkable for such a confirmed non-athlete as myself.

After about a year of attending classes I found I went through a rough time. My stomach started hurting and feeling acid all the time. My back hurt every morning. I had an injured arm muscle from some years previously (which I had forgotten) started hurting and to top it off I had a recurrence of piles which had not troubled me for some time. Sifu (teacher) informed me that this was part of the actual healing process, where before the symptom had been dealt with now healing was starting to take place. I continued with training and these feelings passed.

At present I have a feeling of physical presence and well being difficult to describe. I feel happier and more contented generally and emotionally I feel much more complete. As a silly example I cry at the cinema at the drop of a hat, Spartacus moves me immensely. On a different level my relationship with my girlfriend has taken on a depth and significance unthinkable two years ago. I feel I have more ability to deal with problems in life and a better attitude towards it.

I am certainly very pleased to have started Qigong and have every intention of carrying practicing it.