I am passionate about Taijiquan and Qi Gong. And I am a woman. And I think that women are a bit underrepresented in the Tai Chi and Qi Gong world. I mean, look at all the big masters, they are mainly men! So I want to raise the awareness for all the wonderful women in our community. In this interview I talk to Janice Tucker from Space to Relax.
Dear Janice, please tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Janice Tucker and I’ll be 50 years old in August this year. I am a half English, half Welsh woman, living in Ireland, practising Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and teaching Qigong (how’s that for a mixture)! I help people who want to take positive steps to augment their health.
I’m originally from Yorkshire in the UK (where my parents and sister still live) but have been living in County Kerry, South-West Ireland since 2000. Since 2000 I have been helping the people of Kerry transform their health and manage their illnesses through the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. I practice from three clinics in three local towns. In 2015 I established my online programme of Qigong video lessons called Space To Relax. Now I can help people all around the world by teaching them medical Qigong.
I like that you have an online programme. I am currently participating in another Qi Gong programme, and it enriches my practice very much.
Please share some details of your Qi Gong journey.
I first had the opportunity to study Qigong immediately after graduating as a Chinese Medicine practitioner from the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Dublin in 2000. The college organised a group trip to the University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Guangzhou, China for one month in March 2000. There we studied with two professors, a husband and wife: Professor Xia Shuanqguan and Professor Song Xinghong. I returned to Guangzhou on three other occasions between 2003 and 2005 for further month long study visits. My certifications in Medical Qigong allowed me to then begin teaching once I had obtained a few years of experience of my own practice. I have been teaching Qigong to my clients and in Qigong workshops here in Ireland since 2003.
From the first time I heard about Qigong I became fascinated by the way in which simple breathing and moving, along with using your mind, could cause such profound changes in health with only a few minutes of practice per day. For me this was an amazing tool which I could show my clients so that they could help themselves and not be totally reliant upon me to help improve their state of health. People are empowered and become much more positive and hopeful when there is something they can do for themselves.
A few years later Professor Xia Shuangquan sadly passed away. I then continued to study with an Austrian Qigong teacher, Arpad Romandy, Deputy General Secretary of the World Academic Society of Medical Qigong. I was awarded a Qigong Teacher’s Certificate in July 2012 by the Chinese Qigong Institute for Advanced Studies/Qigong-Schule, Tirol/Austria.
Finish this sentence: When I started learning Qi Gong, I would have liked to know…
….that there is no right or wrong when performing an exercise. The most important thing to remember is to RELAX AND BREATHE so that the Qi can flow freely. When that happens the Qi reorders itself naturally and the whole body comes back into balance. Do not obsess about the minor details and keep trying to “get it right” as this constricts the flow of Qi – exactly the opposite of what you are wanting to achieve!
Is there anything that you specifically learnt from your first teacher that you still remember? A lesson or insight that you keep dear to your heart?
If the only thing you ever learn is how to breathe using Abdominal Breathing, this will change everything regarding your health, state of mind and way in which you conduct your life. You will be more energetic, calm, sleep much better and this in turn will enhance all of your relationships as you will be a happy and joyful person to be around!
Also, Professors Xia and Song taught me the benefit of being in the “Qigong State”. It allows me to connect with and be part of nature and the environment. This is an amazing feeling which can always give me a reassuring sense of belonging.
What are you currently practicing? Do you have any personal goals in Qi Gong?
I am currently practicing Chinese medicine, Acupuncture and Medical Qigong. My goal is to maintain optimum health for as long as possible so that I can continue helping my clients and students by treating them with Chinese medicine and teaching them Qigong. I love what I do. I’m never bored and I want to continue to do this for many years to come!
Oh, I totally understand. Usually, I am easily bored, but I am fascinated by all the different exercises, aspects, and theoretical background around Qi Gong. It truly is a life long study!
How does your Qi Gong practice impact your everyday life?
It makes me calm and relieves my anxiety. I’ve always had a tendency to worry about the future. Qigong brings me into the present moment and allows me to enjoy the freedom from worry and stress this brings. It keeps me in constant contact with nature which I love because that infuses me with joy and vitality.
I think that it is best to learnt from a teacher in person, but which book taught you the most? Which would you recommend to a friend?
I bought the book Qigong Empowerment* a number of years ago and find it is an excellent reference book describing the different categories of Qigong. If you cannot find a teacher then this book would be a good place to start. By reading it you can decide which form of Qigong most interests you and take it from there.
Thank you Janice for answering all my questions!