George Monkhouse LicAc MBAcC is an acupuncturist, natural health expert and healthcare pioneer based in London. An expert in strong natural medicine, he specialises in chronic illness, rapid pain relief, stress relief and optimising all vital functioning. George has trained for over 16 years in a variety of Qigong styles, with a number of renowned masters such as Shaolin’s Shifu Yan Lei, Master Zhou (Ting Jue), Adam Mizner and Bruce Frantzis. Qigong is a remedial movement practice that combines breathwork with movement and mindfulness, concentrating on health of the cardiovascular, nervous, musculoskeletal and visceral (vital organ) systems.
George will take you for an hour through a program of standing practice (Zhan Zhuang) and both hard and soft qigong. These techniques are some of the most powerful techniques George has discovered from all his teachers. Standing practice comes from the understanding that the core (‘lower dantien’) is the physical centre of the body, our centre of gravity, from where the whole body is unified, energy efficient, grounded and moves as one. We are the only animal that stands and moves with gravity pulling down through the whole spinal column and lower joints. In modern times, when most of us walk on unnaturally hard and flat ground (such as pavements, tarmac and wooden floors), shoes that numb the powerful receptors in our feet and a poor understanding of internal hydrodynamics (internal force), regular standing practice dramatically improves your posture, internal power and core strength. It empowers mental stability and endurance. It also takes all excessive pressure off the joints from poor standing and too much sitting. Who knew standing still could be such powerful exercise? Many people, in fact. Throughout qigong, tai chi chuan and the martial arts for at least 1500 years. All George’s teachers have emphasised Zhan Zhuang (“Standing like a tree”) as the fundamental practice in all traditional Chinese physical systems, and having obediently dedicated himself to it for many years, has found it to have been a key component in healing from many of the injuries an adrenaline junkie attracts!
This is coupled with YinYang Breathing, a simple deep breathing technique to nourish the whole body and mind. Hard qigong is composed of stretching and conditioning the body, from the Shaolin monastic tradition of the way of the peaceful warrior. This set concentrates particularly on your connective tissue – the nerve-rich elastic tissue that protects muscles and organs. Muscles don’t get tight, connective tissue does. A vibrant body with excellent neural communication means you feel powerful and peaceful throughout the day. George will take you through a traditional set of dynamic and static stretches for the whole body, before moving onto practices such as ‘vital organ washing’. The Shaolin tradition started 1500 years ago and has had many millions of monks and civilian practitioners, who most often continue to practise their entire lives. For this we will use reverse breathing (also called Daoist breathing). Soft qigong is composed of gentle, flowing movements that encourage superior blood flow. It can be practised easily by people of all ages and abilities. The uninhibited movement of blood and ‘qi’ (in a more physical sense this means oxygen and nutrients in the blood) is the key to prosperity, longevity and happiness. George will introduce you to Dragon & Tiger Qigong, a system estimated to be practised by 20 million people in China, that originated from the Emperor’s chief physician, a female doctor, over 1000 years ago. Something that survives and thrives for so long, only does so because many people value it enough to learn, practise and teach it.