Interview With: James Drewe, Qigong & Meditation Expert

Through the summer and towards, dare we say it, Christmas time, we all start thinking about activities to relax and get into shape. So, we’ve arranged another terrific Qigong & Meditation Course with James Drewe, an expert who will host this detoxifying 13-week course. As this course is soon approaching, Alex, our founder, interviewed James to find out more about his classes and himself….

1. Describe the turning point when you decided to practise qigong?
I started learning martial arts in 1975, and, at the same time learnt tai chi, qigong, and meditation.

2. How does qigong differ to yoga and pilates?

I don’t teach yoga or pilates, but from what I understand of them (having done a small amount of both), yoga and pilates are performed both from floor-based and standing positions, whereas qigong tends to be done in an upright position. Having said that, there are qigong exercises that can be done both lying down and seated, but they are usually used for people who are either unstable on their feet or with a medical condition which necessitates their sitting/lying.
Qigong incorporates aspects of both yoga and pilates; in qigong you will find stretching, the release of muscles, the loosening of joints, as well as discovering how to work from ‘the core’ – referred to as the ‘Dantian’ in Chinese. But above all, there is emphasis on learning how to relax and release the tendons, ligaments, and joints so that the body functions more efficiently and effectively, enabling it to heal itself.
Qigong teaches you how to ‘position’ the body correctly, and how to change from one body-shape to another both efficiently and with minimum ‘wastage’ of energy. The movements in qigong are often very small, and tend to be repeated several times.
In addition, qigong is closely connected to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), and work of the premise of ‘balancing’ the body (5 Elements Theory). Many of the exercises work on specific internal organs of the body, sometimes using acupuncture points which can be pressed with the fingers.

3. For whom is qigong most suited?

All ages; I have taught people from 6 years old to 92 years old.

4. Can you give us an example or two as to how your student/s have found real benefit in your teaching them qigong and meditation?
People do qigong for many reasons. Many of my students are still working, and they find qigong an excellent way to de-stress. This is particularly true for people who spend their day looking at computer screens, and who are seated for the majority of their working life. Others find the stretching aspect of it very helpful, whilst others find that trying to consciously relax for one part of their day affects their lives. For others, breathing helps – they find that they spend most of their time not really breathing correctly (producing more stress). Some find that the aspect of mindfulness helps them to get their lives back into perspective. For the more mature of my students, they also find that the qigong method of using their legs and arms strengthens them and helps with their balance and mobility; many have also found it has eased their problems with arthritis. A few of my students do qigong to help their heart conditions. These are just a few of the reasons for doing qigong.

5. What social activities do you enjoy when you’re not teaching?

Having trained as a musician, I play the piano, and I compose. I do a small amount of piano/improvisation/jazz teaching (I regard this as a social activity because I love it!), and I am also re-teaching myself the classical guitar. Apart from the usual film/book/eating pleasures, I like sailing and gardening.

To participate in James’ Qigong & Meditation Course and to find out more see this page.