Our classes are filled with laughter, an open forum for questions and help not only from the teacher but other experienced Lishi practitioners within the class who are always around to help out!
Every Taoist Centre class begins with a smooth but thorough Warm-up.The most important physical aspect that that we focus on during the Warm-up is the joints (tendons and ligaments). So, we begin by gently circling the head and neck area to limber and release tension. Following this, we move through to the shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingers. The trunk (chest, waist and hips) is next and finally we move to the knees and ankles. Throughout the warm-up the muscles also receive some attention and we utilise our breath on each movement. This results in you naturally warming up or activating the body’s energies.
We then generally move on to the Yin Arts, which comprise a beautiful recipe of Qigong or energy activation, Kaimen (ancient Daoist yoga), Daoyin (deep breathing exercises) and Taiji (meditation in smooth, flowing movements). We also have a range of exercises that entail working with a partner in a non-competitive manner to create harmony whilst challenging each other to improve.
These arts are more up tempo and can be thought of as the Yin Arts done faster. We have unique exercises to increase fitness and condition the body – sometimes you don’t feel the effect that they have on the body until the next day as you are having so much fun doing them! Whilst our overall goal is to improve the body’s health internally, we are aware that it is important to protect the body from external harm and therefore we practise exercises to train self-defence through soft movements, initially conducted slowly in order to learn them. You will be shown techniques for how to move your body to escape from grips and how to ward-off (not block) attacks from hands, feet and later, weapons. The Yang Arts are very soft yet effective and suitable for women, men and also children!
We generally finish the class with feedback on how students feel the class went and what they liked. Also, what people would like to do next time or will work on personally at home.A favourite amongst Lishi practitioners is the ‘Qi Cut-off’ or 5 Lotus Blossoms breathing exercise which gently brings the Qi back to our centre and calms the whole body. This will enable you to have a nice, deep sleep to rest the body and be nourished.
If you’re just starting out training in the Taoist Centre, here are some things you might like to know before coming along to a class. If you’ve got any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask your teacher.
Wear loose, comfortable clothes like t-shirt, jogging bottoms and lightweight non-slip footwear (school gym shoes are ideal).
Of course, but for practical reasons
we usually wear light indoor footwear.
Classes involve partner work so for safety we do not wear jewellery like noserings, earrings, rings with sharp edges, watches etc. Also, fingernails need to be kept short, and long hair worn tied back.
The classes are suitable for complete beginners or those with experience.
No, just come with lots of
positive energy and enthusiasm.
Just inform the teacher prior to
starting the class. If in doubt, consult your GP before taking part in an exercise class.
Most Taoist Centre classes will require you to become a member of the governing body. The donation is currently £15 in the first year, £25 in the second and £50 per year thereafter.
The recommended donation
varies, but is generally around £7 per hour.
Ask your teacher for a Goods
Order form and they will explain how to
go about ordering clothing/equipment.
No worries just text or
phone the teacher to let them know.
This will be explained by the teacher
leading the session. E.g. you will notice people bow at the start & end of a Lishi class, and when training with a partner. This is to show respect to the people we train with, and to acknowledge the heritage of the Taoist Centre.
At your first class, you will complete
a charity Gift Aid form (if you are a UK tax payer) and a first night form to provide next of kin details and confirm that you are okay
In the beginning, many people are happy attending a weekly Taoist Centre class and certainly this will have a noticeable impact on your fitness levels and increase your general well-being. However, if you want to develop further we recommend doing some personal training and attending a second class each week.
Practising on your own is a great way to develop and is enhanced with having a friend or training partner to share this with. You could start with exercises from the Lishi warm-up, Dao Yin breathing exercises, Kai Men yoga or movements from the Form, or perhaps drilling the sets from the Yang arts. The discipline of practising alone is in itself great training and provides an opportunity to consolidate what you have learned, and come up with questions to ask your teacher at the next class.
one class a week is great to start with but to really develop we recommend
attending a second
week and when you are ready for this your teacher can recommend which one would
be suitable. The London weekend workshops are
held approximately once a month in Pimlico.
These popular drop in workshops are taught by Dr Alex Boyd and are a
great way to meet people and go more deeply into Lishi. In July and December, Dr Boyd delivers a
& Winter course which
is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Lishi and really make
progress. There are also weekend
courses abroad if
you enjoy travelling!
Once you have been training for a while, you may be invited by your teacher to take part in assessments and participate in the coaching programme to train to become a Lishi coach. This type of training normally takes place at the weekend courses.
Promising students who have been assessed and achieved 9th ban grade or above may be invited to attend the Thursday night class that Dr Alex Boyd leads. Once students are ready, they are given permission to apply to attend the Hoima weekends in London and Leeds, which are taught by the head of the International Daoist Society.
After several years of learning you may be given the opportunity to start a class of your own, which is when the learning really begins.