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Qigong sessions available again through civic center

January 9, 2019
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Qigong classes for beginners will resume this week at the Captiva Civic Center for the season.

Presented by Paul Lawrence, a tier I certified instructor, the Learn Qigong sessions will take place through March 28 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Hosted in partnership with the Captiva Civic Association, the cost is $30 at the door for all 24 classes or a $5 drop-in fee for each.

Cash or check payments are accepted.

Qigong - which entails life energy cultivation - is a holistic system that utilizes slow gentle-flowing movement, with deep rhythmic breathing and meditation, to benefit general health and well being.

Lawrence, who became a certified instructor in 2017 following his retirement, explained that he stumbled upon the practice about 25 years ago while watching a Public Broadcasting Service show.

"The guy doing it," he said. "He was so calm, and he was so relaxed. It just seemed so cool."

Fact Box

If you go


Learn Qigong


Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.


Captiva Civic Center, 11550 Chapin Lane


$30 at the door for all classes or a $5 drop-in fee

Lawrence ended up doing something he never does - he purchased the DVDs.

He utilized qigong off and on over the years, basically when he could fit it in with work and life. However, upon his retirement a few years ago, his sessions became more regular and Lawrence found he wanted to get more involved. Enrolling in a well-regarded program, he soon became certified.

"It just makes me so relaxed and so calm, but also energized at the same time," he said.

"I want to share that feeling with other people," Lawrence added.

He does not keep the session fees; the proceeds go directly to benefit the CCA.

"They use the money to generate funds for the organization," he said.

As for how qigong works, Lawrence explained that it is comparable to yoga, but it is not yoga.

"We all have energy in our bodies and there's energy in the universe - qi," he said.

Each class begins with a few minutes of breathing, followed by activating exercises.

"You warm up the body - you sort of move all that qi around," Lawrence said. "Then you do some warmup to get your muscles warm and make some more room for some more qi in your body."

"There's nothing strenuous about anything we do," he noted. "You can do this at any age."

Once the qi gets going, participants will find themselves more relaxed and present.

"Then you go into all different kinds of flows (movements) that get you into all of the organs in your body, all of the muscles in your body," Lawrence said, adding that it ends with some meditation.

Participants can stand, sit in provided chairs or lay down for the meditation portion.

Those who want to lay down are welcome to bring a yoga mat or such.

"That's the great thing about qigong," he said. "You can do it anywhere and you don't need any equipment."

Each session is designed to build off the last, but they are also independent of one another.

"They don't have to come to every single class," Lawrence said.

He noted that qigong can be modified for a person's needs.

"I've had people sit in a chair and do it," Lawrence said. "Really anybody can do qigong."

Last season was the first time he and the CCA offered the classes at the center.

"They were popular," CCA Executive Director Paul Garvey said. "People liked to come to them."

Lawrence echoed that.

"We had about 18 to 30 (participants) each time," he said, adding that his regulars would bring along visiting grandchildren, other relatives and friends. "I'm very grateful that they invited me back."

Lawrence and his family started visiting Captiva in 2000. They rented for about the first 10 years, then finally purchased a home. They are now seasonal from New Jersey, staying from January to March.

Acknowledging some are hesitant to try something new, he welcomed people to stop by.

"If you want to have the energy of a 6-year-old and you want to have the relaxation of an 80-year-old, come to qigong," Lawrence said.

Some of his sessions can be found at by searching for "Captiva QiGong."

For more information, call 239-472-2111 or visit

The Captiva Civic Center is at 11550 Chapin Lane.



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