In November 1991 I read about Qigong in the Observer magazine. Although this was new to me, I knew a reasonable amount about the concept of Qi from my other areas of interest. I began training at the next opportunity.

The first few weeks were somewhat problematic. Although I coped with the exercises at home, I could not stand for long in class without feeling sick and faint, often having to sit on the floor to recover. After checking my physical fitness and finding no blood pressure problems, I put it down to the fact that I am quite sensitive to energy, and the ‘Buzz’ in the room created by many previous users as well as the dozen or so people with me was initially too intense. The problem eventually disappeared.

By the end of the year I had noticed several remarkable changes in myself. I heard birdsong almost constantly, which had previously been background noise which I had occasionally listened to whilst relaxing outside. Involuntary movements began with shaking arms, followed by shaking legs, during my training periods. Also, a girlfriend remarked on how much better my dancing had become on the occasions we went out to a club; not in terms of technique, but in terms of moving in a much more relaxed, flowing and energetic way.

A few weeks into the new year, with the movement increasing all the time, I had an experience which showed me the way in which the energy can move me emotionally as well as physically. After a particularly good practice session in the morning, and an extremely enjoyable time driving to Suffolk and back on a bright, crisp day to do an interview, I came home, called a few people, watch TV for a while, and went to bed. As soon as I put the light out, without my trigger or warning whatsoever, I fell apart. I spent over two hours crying uncontrollably, striking out at the pillows and the headboard, and yelling whenever I tried to speak. The lack of control frightened me, but I was helpless to do anything about it.

It was only later, after talking first to a close friend and then to Simon, that I realised that the incident had been related to the Qigong training, and that the energy had finally released the stress and emotions I still felt about an old relationship. The only way was up from then on!

Although I have not been practising as often as I’d like recently, due to time and environment constraints, I am now experiencing a wide range of movements as well as a couple of the features. Several people have remarked on how relaxed I seem and how well I look, which is interesting and independent corroboration of the way I feel. I can get into a relaxed state fairly easily now, and my relaxation during practise seems to deepen every time. I trained in a forest in Surry one evening recently, and that is definitely recommended! I am lucky in that I have few health problems, but one obvious one which I have had since childhood – frequent mouth ulcers – has virtually disappeared. My attitude is much more laid back than this time last year, a trait which I can see in many areas but is most obvious when I am driving.

In summary, Qigong has had some incredible effects on my system in a few short months. I can now take immense pleasure in small movements, and enjoy having the ability to noticeable relax at will. Laughing out loud for no apparent reason is also an occasional bonus, even if I do get more strange looks! I feel happy, optimistic, strong and radiant – what else is there?