Kirsten Newbigging joins the Barre 2 Barre family, teaching “Qigong for Wellness” in our Hong Kong studio, and for all members via our livestream classes! She is a long-time “Hong Kong-er” having lived there for many years before doing a 7-year stint in Singapore and is now back in #HomeKong since 2019. Read on below and get to know Kirsten with our 5 Questions Interview Series. Book a qigong class with Kirsten via this link.
1) What got you into qigong? Tell us about your journey to becoming a qigong, yoga and meditation teacher.
I first tried a gentle hatha yoga class 25 years ago, when I was still living in Denmark. Later, as I was living and working in different countries in South East Asia, I tried lots of different styles of yoga, and I ended up taking my teacher training in Ashtanga yoga, which is all about strength, endurance and flexibility. But I kept gravitating towards teaching gentle pregnancy yoga, restorative yoga and meditation classes. I had a strong feeling that I was still looking for something more or something else. So when I had my first Qigong class it was like a revelation to me: “Aha – this is what I have been looking for!”
2) What would you like people to know about the benefits of qigong and how to begin a regular practice?
Qigong might look like an easy and lazy way to exercise, because you more or less stand in one spot during the class and you never stretch into any extremes. Nevertheless, most students get tired or or have a sense of detoxing after their first classes. This is because Qigong helps the body and mind to get back into its natural balance and the body will keep working on this for some time after the class. That’s also why it’s a good idea to start gently with only one weekly class. And if this kind of exercise appeals to you, then you can start to do more classes or do it yourself a few more times a week.
3) What is your favourite qigong form or exercise, and why?
I just love the “opening form”, which is the first movement out of 15 stances in a full lesson. It’s a simple circular movement of the arms, but it manages to prepare all the meridians in the entire body for the exercise to come. Furthermore, this first movement points to the “lineage” of my particular Qigong style. The Qigong I teach is for wellness only , as opposed to self-defence or religious Qigong styles. For me, doing that first movement, is me honouring my teacher – a grandmaster in Kuala Lumpur who again was taught by a grandmaster in Beijing.
4) Who would be your 5 dream dinner guests and what would you cook for them?
I find it so interesting how modern quantum physics correlates to ancient Eastern philosophies. So my dream is to follow a dinner conversation between the physicists Einstein, David Bohm and Fritjof Capra on the one side and the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and the Taoist Lao Tzu (if he existed as one person) on the other. And to just listen to them talk about how everything is connected. I would serve them Ottolenghi’s vegan spaghetti bolognese which, for me, is real comfort food.
5) What does wellness mean to you and how do you incorporate this into your daily life?
Wellness means to be happy and secure in your own body. Most people have minor aches and pains or some health worries, and Qigong works individually for everyone for their specific challenges. Because I have done Qigong regularly for some years now, meditation has started to have a bigger importance for me. On top of my Qigong practice, my daily 20 minutes meditation is deeply healing on all levels.