From Yoga Chi Gung Pilates to Resilient Health Body Technologies:  Why the name change?

Those that have attended my workshops will know that I have been using the name “Yoga Chi Gung Pilates”.  After due consideration I am changing the name to “Reslient Health Body Technolgogies”.

I wanted a name to reflect the breadth and depth of experience I have with therapeutic exercise from several different cultural sources.  The name change better reflects the way the practice has developed and deepened over the last eight years from what I have learned from Wee, Kee Jin and Yang, Zhen Hua. They both come from lineages several centuries old in the traditions of and Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Qigong, respectively. (Please note that I have adopted the more common spelling variant “Qigong” now rather than “Chi Gung”.)  My experience with these teachers has taught me that Taijiquan cannot be accurately lumped under the banner of “Qigong”.  To quote David Palmer, author of Qigong Fever Qigong Fever (2007; p. 7):

Qigong advocates often claim that Taijiquan, Taoist inner alchemy, Buddhist meditation etc. are actually forms of Qigong, but such a claim would be rejected or strongly qualified by representatives of those traditions.  The names and meanings given to body technologies are points of contention, linked to the historical, social and even political situatedness of practitioners. (Palmer 2007; p. 7)

To find out more about Qigong and where it got it’s name see my upcoming blog article “What is Qigong”.  In contrast, the descriptor “body technology” can be accurately used for both Chinese practices as it can for Yoga and Pilates as well as dance and other forms of exercise including those advocated by the western exercise physiologists.

With regard to the reason for changing to a blogsite format, I want it to serve as a forum to provide and invite commentary, questions, discussion, and critical evaluation of topics related to health and the ways in which people and cultures cultivate it, particularly with regard to body technologies.

Using the term “body technologies” is integral to this aim as it affords a more independent perspective when evaluating techniques than would be possible if the techniques were confined under a single banner.  For example, I could imagine the founder of a business called “High Impact Aerobics For All” would feel reluctant to critically evaluate high impact aerobics.

The use of the term “health” in the title is also important as it puts it front and centre as an aim and outcome of my practice.  This contrasts somewhat with other techniques, for example, Taijiquan and Yoga, where at least historically there are important additional aims and outcomes, namely martial prowess in the case of Taijiquan and unification with the “Self” in the case of Yoga.

The use of the term “resilience” comes from the name of my Physiotherapy business “Resilience Physiotherapy”.  Resilience is a French word which literally means “to bounce back”.  It was adopted by the Psychology community to describe the phenomenon of people who may have had a rough childhood or even suffered abuse, but grew up to be well-adjusted capable loving adults (Tusaie, 2004).  I have been captivated by the word in it’s current context since first reading about it 15 years ago.  I use it here in the context of both the health of the body and of the mind including one’s emotional life.

This presupposes that the health of the body, mind, and emotional life are intimately connected, which in turn presupposes that the binary distinction between the body and mind common in many of the world’s philosophical and religious traditions is an unnecessary, unhelpful, and artificial construct.   Indeed, the co-dependence of the body and mind is part of the appeal of Chinese Taoist traditions which in the words of David Palmer:
“…have not objectified a physical body separate from mental functions or even the individual’s social persona.” (Palmer, 2007; p 9)

In summary the name change to Resilient Health Body Technologies is based on the realization that the details of just what is involved in an insightful intelligent body technology are far more important than what banner it falls under, be it Yoga, Qigong, Taijiquan, Pilates, Salsa dancing, or Disco dancing.  Resilient Health Body Technologies is a title that allows both a continuing evolution of my practice and a forum for critical evaluation of the techniques generally used to enhance health.

References:
Palmer DA (2007) Gigong Fever: Body, Science, and Utopia in China, Columbia University Press, New York
Tusaie K, Dyer J. (2004) Resilience: a historical review of the construct. Holist Nurs Pract. Jan-Feb;18(1):3-8; quiz 9-10.