Dance of the DragonMonica Linford
Year Released: 2008
Categories: Tai Chi / Qigong
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About the ChiBall Method: The Australian company ChiBall World has developed the ChiBall Method, an exercise philosophy which incorporates the theory of traditional Chinese medicine with Tai Chi and Chi Gong, chi ball dance, yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, meditation and aroma and colour therapy. ChiBall World sell their own 4oz, inflatable scented chi balls (like a small stability ball with a diameter of about 6”) with a different aroma for each workout, recommending a cinnamon-scented red ball for Dance of the Dragon, although you could also use a small weighted Pilates ball.
Dance of the Dragon is a Chi Gong-based practice. According to ChiBall, this is “an ancient Taoist practice used for weight loss and general wellbeing. It energetically re-balances, regulates and detoxifies the internal systems and through consistent practice aids weight loss without dieting or reducing food intake.” While I am highly sceptical about the weight loss claims, I love Dance of the Dragon for its wonderfully relaxing and de-stressing effect. I first did it after an extremely stressful day at work and my husband said I looked like a different person afterwards!
The DVD includes two routines; the first is 36 minutes long and the second is a slightly faster-paced practice of 30 minutes. Both routines incorporate the same five-minute warm-up, “Calling the Mind Back”, which is based on the traditional Chi Gong opening form. The routines are performed by one man and two women on a simple, Asian-inspired red-and-black set, and narrated by Monica Linford, creator of the ChiBall Method.
The “Dance of the Dragon” itself is best described as slow-moving meditative dance. Keeping your knees and feet pressed together, you will perform a series of quite unique rotational movements for the shoulders, hips and spine with evocative names like “The Dragon Looks at Her Tail”, “The Dragon Breathes Fire” and “The Dragon Dives into the Sea”. These controlled movements, combined with the specially composed, Asian-inspired New Age music and Monica’s soothing voice, produce a wonderfully calming effect.
With a total running time of about 96 minutes, the DVD also includes a brief introduction to the workout; a brief introduction to Chi Gong; a nine-minute segment covering the technique and practice points for the workout; a seven-minute Chi Gong standing posture and meditation segment which can be used to practise the movements in the two routines, or as a morning meditation and relaxation session; and a “standing internal organ meditation” in which you focus on your spleen, kidneys, heart and other organs in turn, imagine them filling with a coloured light, and “direct energy” into them. For me, this last segment sends the “woo-woo” factor of the ChiBall Method right off the chart, but you may have a different opinion.
You can see a clip of Dance of the Dragon and order the DVDs, chi balls and music CDs from www.chiball.com.
Ratings out of five:
Production values *****
Workout design *****
Relaxation factor *****
Meets expectations *****
Monica has a soothing voice and cues well. The exercisers are very graceful and maintain serene expressions throughout the two practices, contributing to the relaxing feel of the DVD.