Imagining the future with Mark Shayler

Mark Shayler has been doing Qi gong for about a decade but it wasn’t until day one of the first lockdown in the UK that he decided to turn the camera on and go live on Instagram to practise Qi gong. When Mark is not practising Qi gong he is co-founder of his Innovation and Sustainability agency, Ape; public speaking or running personal development workshops; and an author of two books. He is also co-founder of Reasons to be Cheerful and a Founding Partner of The Do Lectures.

Qi Gong is a 5,000-year-old preventative medicine based on movement, breathing and meditation. All of the movements are based on natural movements, for example, the way the wind moves trees, the way water flows.

On Wednesday 4 August, Mark will be delivering a one-off Qi Gong taster session in partnership with Creative Dance London. We caught up with him:

What does creativity mean to you?

‘Creativity is imagining a future that hasn’t arrived yet.’

What has it helped you through in life or taught you about life?

‘I was told I wasn’t the creative one when I was about 7. This changed how I played, how I expressed myself, how I saw myself. Not in a positive way. It was only years later that I began to play and let my creativity out. This is now how I earn most of my money. It’s the centre of how I express myself and a massive part of my self-identity. Creativity has been a saviour more times than I can remember. Both at work and in my personal life. Allowing yourself to play and explore ideas is a form of self-love.’

What do you think holds people back from getting creative, and how do you think we can combat this?

‘The thing that holds people back is probably the thing that held me back, being told they aren’t creative. Showing creativity can feel like an act of bravery and can feel as if it’s opened you up to ridicule. The fear of ridicule is a tough one and often people draw back from it.’

Why should people come to your event with us?

‘Movement is freedom and movement enables creativity. More than that as we shift into theta brainwave we become more creative. This event will build a series of Qi gong flows whilst Mark talks about creativity and play. You will leave relaxed and energized, focused and zen, entertained and meditative.’

Anything else you want to add, anything you are working on in the near future?

‘I’m increasingly building Qi gong into my creativity workshops and I already build play in.’

Join us and Mark on 4 August from 6-7.30pm to try Qi gong for yourself:

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An interview with Damn Fine Dance Co-Director Molly Wright

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Changing Perspectives with Eeshita Azad