Tai Chi for Depression

Read my article on how Tai Chi and Qigong can aid anxiety and depression.

Student Experiences

“The more we can do to help ourselves with any health condition the better we will be able to manage our own wellbeing. For me this has meant learning from some forty years of living with varying levels of depression and anxiety. Without dwelling too long on a description of either of these states, it may well help to describe the feeling depression brings of carrying an invisible heavy weight that saps all the strength and energy from within. For some periods of time the weight is heavier and leaves little energy to engage in any activity other than getting through each day. Depression is often accompanied by anxiety which brings with it an endless sense of dread and unease. Part of the recognised treatment for both of these conditions is exercise.

I have spent years trying to find a form of exercise that I felt at home with and that fitted in with my life and my varying states of health. My interest in Tai Chi was first sparked some years ago when as part of my work, I took part in a taster session in Brighton. It was only a short session but it made a lasting impression on me. I resolved to find a course nearer to home and was delighted when I came across the advert for Earth Balance Tai Chi.

Since I became a student two years ago, I have been so glad to be on a journey that for at least an hour each week brings a sense of peace and focus to my life. Each lesson gives me a time to focus on my breathing, my form and my energy. It brings stillness and leaves little room in my head for me to dwell on any negativity. When I am feeling well I am able to practise between lessons. When things are not so good I do sometimes struggle to get to class but I am always glad I make it. I come out of the lesson feeling relaxed and with a sense of achievement for having attended.

One of the symptoms of depression can be a sense of living in a bubble with life going on outside. Tai chi helps me to feel in touch with my body and gives a connection between me and what’s going on ‘outside’. Participating in breathing exercises slows down the adrenalin rushing round my system and consequently helps me relax. Learning the form helps me to concentrate once again.

The icing on the cake with all this is the social contact with my fellow students and the understanding and support of my teacher. I feel very blessed to have found the exercise that works for me and I hope I have many more years of practise ahead.”

Written by Anon, Female Tai Chi and Qigong Student.


“The path out of depression was , for me, a very long journey. The onset occurred when I was a child and quickly became the norm leading to confusion, bewilderment and self destructive behaviour. I saw myself as weak and worthless and therefore not deserving of help.

The breakthrough came in the form of a ‘mid-life’ crisis. The reality of what had become of me burst through. With this also came strong feelings of anger, sorrow and regret and thus a new 20 year struggle ensued.

Tai Chi practise has helped free me from those emotions and has helped to heal the physical dimension of myself that had come about. A life experience such as mine did not leave the corporal me unscathed. A line borrowed from elsewhere. You don’t have to live like a refugee! ”

Written by Fred Ball, Tai Chi Student



Read further about Tai Chi and Qigong for a natural boost of serotonin, dopamine and endorphin levels here.

“TC as a mind-body movement program results in the integration of physiological and psychological benefits, including improved confidence, quality of life (QOL), motivation, self-efficacy, and overall mood elevation.” A Review Focused on the Psychological Effectiveness of Tai Chi on Different Populations by Long Zhang, Charles Layne, Thomas Lowder and Jian Liu. Visit www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/678107/

Read the Taoist view on living with depression by my teacher Casey Kochmer and view his video below:

A holistic chiropractic view on living with depression by Dr John Bergman:

Live Online Tuition – Qigong

Instructor Nicola is passionate about sharing qigong with her students. She provides live online private tuition using Skype and/or Facebook video call. Teaching you ancient Taoist movements that will help you towards a regular qigong practice. Your online class is one-to-one private tuition that is set to your pace, style of learning, needs and experience, all from the comfort of your home.

New beginners are encouraged, this service is open to everyone no matter age, fitness level nor ability. Learn authentic healthy movements in your own home and join Nicola’s community of students on a journey to improved health and wellbeing. Visit the Qigong section in the webstore to book your lesson.

Live Online Tuition – Chen Tai Chi

Instructor Nicola is passionate about sharing Chen style Tai Chi with her students. Following the forms of Grand Master Chen Zhenglei she provides live online private tuition using Skype and/or Facebook video call. The types of live online lessons offered are Chen Tai Chi for previous students/those with experience and Hibernating Bear Tai Chi.

Nicola helps students progress through the traditional principles of Chen style silk reeling and the empty hand forms, teaching through a hands-on method rather than ‘watch and follow‘. Lessons start with traditional Chen warm up exercises that loosen every major joint in the body. Next a Qigong breathing session, focusing on relaxation, softening the body, lowering the heart rate and slowing the breath. Progressing to ‘Standing Practice’ (Zhan Zhuang), a static Qigong posture as a meditation and stillness exercise. Moving onto Silk Reeling Drills, the signature movement of Chen style and then the main content of her lessons covers the empty hand form.

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