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Chi Ball

A journey through Colour, Aroma and the Five Elements!
By Rosalyn Cunnane

Discovering The ChiBall Method was the beginning of a wonderful personal journey which awakened me more fully to the energy around me and how I could draw upon it to enrich my own life and the lives of others.  The beauty and mystic of The ChiBall Method™ comes from the synergy of Eastern and Western disciplines and the use of colour, aromatherapy and the philosophies of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Taoist teachings. 

Having personally experienced the harmful and chronic effects of modern lifestyle and stress, I very quickly began to feel the benefits of using the ChiBall as a tool for mind-body focus, relaxation and tension relief and with that grew a new sense of my own centre and inner strength.

When I met Monica Linford, the founder of this unique exercise concept some 6 years ago, I was in a transitional stage within my working life following a disappointing job move and the intense frustration that experience held.  My involvement within the fitness industry, at that time had already spanned some 10 years, albeit on a part time basis, but it was the perfect timing of Monica’s inspirational ChiBall Workshop for instructors looking for something new that made it possible for me to train to be a fully fledged ChiBall Instructor, spread my wings and follow my vocation in what is now an enriched, rewarding and forever satisfying holistic teaching career.

As I introduce people of all ages and walks of life to the ChiBall for the first time and see the fascination in their faces, I so clearly remember that first moment when my eyes first rested on those small, soft wonderfully inviting coloured and fragranced balls and how I immediately felt drawn to the warmth and freshness of one particular colour. 

 Little did I know at the time of the deep significance of the colour and fragrance of the ChiBall I had chosen and how important ChiBall, colour and aromas would become to me and to my own spiritual development.   I remember being mesmerised by the beauty and grace of the movements as the Master class unfolded and immediately experienced a feeling of release and freedom not felt for a long while.

The ChiBall Method brings together Tai Chi and Chi Kung, Movement, Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais and Deep Relaxation creating this unforgettable and unique holistic experience.  The ChiBall Method also incorporates the ancient Chinese Taoist philosophy, the universal concept of the balance of the constantly moving, transforming and changing energies of Yin and Yang and the direction of our “chi” or vital energy through the Meridian lines or energy channels energising internal organs in the ultimate aim for longevity and well-being.  

Following the concept of the Tao or “the Way” the Meridians are seen not only to work on a physical level but also on a psychological and emotional level.  As stagnant energy is unblocked from internal organs, both the mind and body experience a cleansing and balancing process where a new sense of inner strength can be found.  For some the process is a gradual one and the benefits of practice may initially be hidden by the body’s immediate reaction and attempt to detoxify and release but for most a myriad of benefits both physical and emotional will come to the surface in time as the body like Yin and Yang constantly moves, changes and transforms.  

Imbalances within the body and within the mind occur when there is either an excess or deficiency in either our Yin or Yang energy and when we are resisting the natural ebb and flow of life and of nature itself.  By invoking, through ChiBall practice, this cleansing and healing process, we are finding again our natural equilibrium.  

Our body needs to rest each organ at some point in order for the energy or chi to be restored making the organ function efficiently.  Meridian lines work in harmony together, one yang channel and one yin channel bringing about balance to the corresponding yang or functioning organs and yin or storage organs.   

If we look at the 24 hour clock, each pair of organs has a time when they are at their most active and a time when they should be resting and rejuvenating.   Our sleep is vitally important for the resting phase of all organs and sleep depravation can become a large factor in the manifestation of illness.  Regular practice of the ChiBall Method supports the natural balance of activity and rest.

As we move through the journey of a ChiBall class we experience  not only a part of all of the Five Elements; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water but also nature’s seasons Spring, High Summer, Late Summer, Autumn and Winter, each season having its own unique energy and focus.    With each Element and its corresponding Season there is focus on two internal organs, one Yin organ and one Yang organ and on the Meridian Lines which carry our chi to these paired organs.  

The content and focus of the ChiBall class is then geared to the specific Element, Season, pair of internal organs and their corresponding Meridian Lines and each movement and exercise is carefully chosen using the ChiBall to provide maximum benefit alleviating the many physiological and psychological aspects of disharmony of energy in those particular organs.  A classical ChiBall class will always incorporate all of the Five Elements expressed through Tai Chi, ChiBall Dance, Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais and Deep Relaxation taking you on a complete journey with a little more emphasis on one of these disciplines depending on the current Season.

Beautifully entwined into this rich concept and nature’s constant cycle of energy is the use of colour and aromatherapy bringing together for each Season its own unique coloured and fragranced ChiBall. 

Spring’s Wood Element, fed by Water is a time of rising Yang energy, growth and evolution bringing the soothing and healing power of the colour Green and the mental settling fragrance of Geranium together to work with the Liver and Gallbladder, organs of distribution and storage.    With the liver often housing anger and frustration we are able to release negative emotions through the eyes and find compassion removing the harmful effects of long term resentment and rage.

Spring is a time for green light leafy foods aiding in the cleansing and purification of the liver.  Gentle walks in woodland and parkland stimulate blood flow, promote deep breathing and discourage the early depletion of rising energy.  During a Wood Element ChiBall class, we use Tai Chi practice as the main focus, slowly awakening our “Shen” or spirit, stimulating Chi and opening up this time of renewal and development whilst gradually feeding the fire of High Summer.

High Summer’s Fire Element, fed by Wood and the feeder of Earth, is the time of Radiant Yang energy, spontaneity and vitality bringing the vibrancy of Red and Orange and the uplifting fragrances of Cinnamon and Sweet Orange together working with the Heart, Small Intestine, the Pericardium, lining the heart and the Triple Heater Meridian which controls peripheral circulation and lymphatic flow.  

Pungent Cinnamon relieves physical and emotional exhaustion and depression, stimulates circulation and puts us in touch with our sensuality and passion for life whilst Sweet Orange promotes self confidence, courage, positive thinking and creativity.   Within the High Summer ChiBall class this passion for life is recreated with the warmth and heat of ChiBall Dance releasing tension and eliminating toxins whilst Yoga poses promote concentration, self awareness, stability of both the mind and body and stimulation of chi flow through the Meridians.

The Heart houses the mind and is the “seat of the soul” and joy, fun and laughter through movement boosts confidence and develop our self expression. High Summer brings together friends and family communicating love, hope, passion and dreams. The Small Intestine receives and converts food and the Heart regulates flow to the body.  With good nutrition quality chi supports the body and the warmth of Summer brings the need for light low fat foods avoiding the heavy warming foods consumed in Winter. 

As the height of summer fades Late Summer brings Descending Yang energy, a time for grounding bringing together the earthy inspirational colour of yellow and the spirit enlivening fragrance of Lemongrass.  Taoists teach that one of the five phases of energy of universal life force stays stable whilst one rises upwards, one sinks downwards, one expands and grows one contracts and solidifies. 

This stable force is our Earth Element fed by Fire whilst feeding Metal.   Our own personal centre, the Dan Tien, is the sea of energy housing digestive organs and the Stomach and Spleen Meridians transform and transport chi and control the blood.  The ChiBall Method very much focuses on the deeper understanding of nourishment of the mind and spirit as well as the body and Pilates is our main focus during the Earth Element creating fresh energy whilst developing strength in core and internal muscles. 

If the centre is weak then we are unfocused and unstable.  If our centre is strong then we are grounded and stable not only physically but also mentally.  The Earth Element strengthens the ability to concentrate, think, gather knowledge and remember.   When harmony of energies is present in the Earth meridians, we are supportive, balanced compassionate and understanding.  However when there is an imbalance of chi, confusion, worry and self doubt can set in.     

Late summer is also the time when seasonal produce is harvested from the soil. It is a great time to eat the natural foods of the season, round shaped orange and yellow fruits, vegetables and grains grown from the earth.  Walking in the countryside, gardening and generally appreciating nature will all help in the nurturing process.  It is also a good time of year to have a mental clear out becoming more aware of choices in lifestyle and relationships recognising those that cause us to lose our sense of centre.

From the soils of the Earth the Metal Element arises and the time of Rising Yin is born through the season of Autumn bringing together the colour Purple heightening our intuition and connecting the higher self with the calming and releasing fragrance of Lavender.   Working with the Lungs our Yin organ and Large Intestine the Yang organ, this is the time for internal nourishment as nature moves towards it’s hibernation phase.   

The body’s inability to let go physically reflects the holding on to our emotions such as grief and disappointment resulting in blocked stagnant energy and the body’s inability to breathe freely and fully can impede blood flow to the brain causing emotional and physical imbalance.  As we inhale we take in life and we must exchange, eliminate and let go in order to maintain harmony.   The Metal Element focuses on withdrawal inwards, learning from ourselves about ourselves and our main focus is placed on a practice known as Feldenkrais, using slow, gentle movement promoting self awareness and intuition.  

By taking the time to listen to the body, noticing how we feel externally and internally, how we are breathing and how we are moving we are able to reach a higher understanding of ourselves and use this knowledge to develop and move more freely with grace and ease.   Exercise that stimulates breath, early internal cleansing and de-cluttering on a mental, physical, emotional and material level through the Metal Element prepares us for the Condensed Yin phase of Winter.

As we enter into Winter’s Water Element, nature’s cycle is completed and the time for inward preservation, stillness and reflection is reached. The colour Blue encourages expression of the spirit, relieves tiredness and purifies the mind and body and the fragrance of Juniper dissolves fear, boosts self worth and aids inner rejuvenation.  Purification of the Bladder and Kidney Meridians aids in regulation of the adrenal function, the autonomic nervous system and hormone balance. 

Our natural essence or “Jing” and the health of kidney chi is vital in our overall health and well-being.  Without strong kidney chi the body becomes depleted of energy, courage is taken over with fear and we lack direction in life.  The Water Element allows the mind and body time for adaptation and provides us with the ability to flow with change.  The use of gentle music to reduce stress promoting the capability to listen and hear, the consumption of warm winter foods and regular stretching of the Bladder and Kidney Meridians all help to replenish essential chi and re-charge the body.

The Water Element, fed by Metal and feeding Wood, is the time for inner observation and conservation and focus during this time is placed on quiet meditation allowing a connection with our spiritual self to be reached bringing wisdom, intuition and an inner sense of tranquillity and calmness preparing the body, mind and spirit for the Rising Spring energy to come, the rebirth of nature’s eternal cycle and the beginning of another journey through the Five Elements of the universal life force.

 If you would like more information on Rosalyn’s ChiBall, Tai Chi and Pilates classes call her on 07752 564918 or visit www.chi-motion.co.uk.   She will also be exhibiting at the Kempton Park Mind Body Soul Exhibition on 13th and 14th March and offering free taster sessions!

 If you would like to find out more about how to become a Certified ChiBall Method Instructor and attend the new Level 1 Teacher Training Programme scheduled for April this year in the UK visit www.chiball.com


Rosalyn Cunnane

Chi-Moti[n ®

Exercise for your health & well being in body, mind & spirit!