A little bit of chill space in Balaclava

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by Louise Avery

Meeting Nicole Lee you would never realise that she used to work in the hyper-competitive, results-driven world of real estate. Greeting me with a calm openness and grace as deeply chilled as a Zen master she welcomed me into her new studio Chi Space in Balaclava.

It was that awful hot day in February when I walked into her studio, feeling flustered hot and tired yet as soon as I arrived, I felt the soft calm atmosphere and instant relaxation. This was encouraging; I was really looking forward to trying out a class. Nicole’s instant warmth and easy connection made this interview feel like a chat with a new friend.

So my first question was “What is Chi or Qi”? Qi is simply our life energy or life force. As Nicole explained, “Qigong is a self-care practice of stillness, gentle stretches and fluid movement that is effectively a moving mindfulness practice.”

Her teaching came from training with an American called Lee Holden who is a bit of a rockstar in the US alternative practices circles, offering an accessible modern approach to the ancient practice. After travelling to the US twice to study and work with him Nicole started classes around Melbourne. Then last year after a training with a classical master in China which brought more ancient wisdom and training to her modern practice, she found a space where she could set up a studio and live. A fortunate coincidence as the space became available just around the corner from where she was living at the time. Like all things when we move with the flow of life everything fell into place for her to build the studio and live above it. Slowing down can allow room for energy to move us through life with more ease.

As Nicole says, “Sometimes, in the beginning, we are over stimulated and anxiety which often comes from excessive thinking dominates our body and mind, the Integrative style is thus a good introduction to Qigong. Allowing ourselves to slow down and move with a mindfulness practice has enormous benefits, not just in managing stress but overall wellbeing that can affect our lives in other ways.”

“The classical style is so slow and deliberate and it can take time to slow down the mind to appreciate it, however, the modern approach of Integrative Qigong is a little bit more accessible. I notice when some of my students come they try integrative first then are drawn to the classical forms. The essence of Integrative Qigong is still Qigong however it is a little faster and thus easier for beginners yet it still retains the detailed movement and form of the classical practice.”

Our modern life is stressful but Nicole is passionate that self-care will help the body and mind and believes that “our body has an inbuilt healing system and we just have to slow down and take care to allow the body to heal itself”.

A lot of older people can’t get on the floor to do Yoga and other practices but there is no barrier to the practice of QiGong, which can be accessible for all nearly all adults of any ages.

Her studio also hosts teacher training, sound healing, women’s circles and meditations and many cups of teas. And she also offers private classes where she can tailor a practice for individual medical conditions.

Nicole, as she has made her home above the studio, welcomes students to come practice, and then offers them an opportunity to stay for a cup of tea and a chat. This is an extraordinary offering to the local stressed out community where you can go chill and resist arguing about parking places and local government.

Who:

Nicole Lee

Founder & Qigong Practitioner

Where:

281 Inkerman Street,

Balaclava VIC 3183

Contact:

1300 880 137

www.chispace.com.au

 

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