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A first timer’s guide to… Qi chanting

Clearing the mind of negative thoughts isn’t all about going ‘om’ for hours on end, reveals Jamie Glassman
A first timer’s guide to… Qi chanting
April 10, 2017   |    Jamie Glassman

QI WELLNESS CENTRE, OXFORD CIRCUS

Koreans call it ‘qi’. Chinese call it ‘chi’. Americans call it ‘energy’. Brits call it ‘balderdash’. But then there’s a time and place for ‘balderdash’ and if it makes you feel better, then maybe qi chanting is right for you.

I like a bit of chanting, me. Gregorian? Yes please. Tibetan Buddhist? Hell, yes. Hasidic Jewish nigunim? OK. Point is; I’m an open-minded kind of guy.

So, when I heard that there’s a place near Oxford Circus to try out a bit of Korean meditative chanting to ‘clear the busy mind of negative thoughts and re-connect the body to its natural rhythm’, I hopped on down to the Qi Wellness Centre, hoping to have my tiny mind blown.

GOOD VIBES

The promise is that these chanting classes address modern-day challenges such as technology overload, limited downtime, and an inability to re-charge the batteries. What’s not to like?

Smiley faces and warm welcomes abound. It’s a shoes-off, slippers-on, all-white pyjamas optional-but-encouraged kind of place. But it wasn’t quite what I expected.

Turns out that qi chanting isn’t repeating the same few words over and over again, so if slipping into meditational nirvana and saying ‘om’ or ‘nam-myoho-renge-kyo’ until it no longer sounds ridonkulous is what you were hoping for, you’ll leave disappointed.

Instead it’s pages and pages of part-Korean part-gibberish scripts.

SHARE THE LOVE

The best bit was the feeling that I was stepping into an intriguing international subculture. The main room was decked out with flowers, huge Korean symbols on the walls, a super soft carpet and a webcam so people from all over Europe could tune in to chant, move and meditate with our class in Oxford Circus.

I really wanted to like this but it just wasn’t my cup of qi. If it sounds like it could be yours, go for it. What’s the worst that can happen?

HAVE A GO

LEVEL
Suitable for everyone

COST
£15 for a taster session

TIME
45 minutes

Read more: The first timer’s guide to alternative dance

LIFE COACH CORNER

CELEBRATE YOUR WINS

I interview wellness experts every week on my Zestology podcast. And the same advice seems to pop up again and again:
1) Have some kind of meditative practice.
2) Follow a diet high in ‘good fats’, low in sugar.
3) Be nice to people, it’ll help you live a nice life.
4) The biggie – gratitude is good.
A coach once encouraged me to pick up a pen and paper last thing at night and write down three things I was grateful for. So, why not grab a pen tonight and scribble some of yours down?
AUTHOR TONY WRIGHTON, tonywrighton.com

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