Meet the team

Andy Spragg and Denise Spragg

Andy Spragg has been practising Tai Chi, focusing on the Yang Tai Chi style (as taught by Cheng man Ch’ing), for 25 years. Andy is a practising Buddhist and his main focus is the synergy between Tai Chi and Buddhism, particularly Buddhist meditation. He uses his Tai Chi as a central part of his Buddhist practice. He also writes Buddhist articles which put across some of the more complex elements of Buddhist practice in a more accessible manner. He is determined to show that Buddhism can be practiced successfully in our modern, busy world. His teaching style is relaxed, light and informal. He focuses on the principles and feeling of Tai Chi rather than exact positioning. This is a more gentle approach to the usual and traditional focus on exact body positions and is very appropriate for beginners looking to experience the art for the first time but also for those looking to delve a little deeper. However, the focus for his teaching is on health, well-being and meditation.

Denise Spragg has been practicing Tai Chi with Andy for 5 years and has had a lifelong interest in holistic therapies. Denise holds the VTCT Indian Head Massage and Hopi Ear Candling qualifications. She has a deep interest in holistic therapies and enjoys offering these during the retreats Her approach to offering these therapies is very much to work with the individual client, tailoring the treatment to their individual requirements, and focusing on areas which give rise to particular difficulties. She is passionate about delivering the benefits of the therapies in a down to earth, non-jargon based and enjoyable way

Imelda Maguire

Imelda Maguire is author of the best selling book “Yoga for a Healthy Body”. Imelda has been practicing Yoga for over 35 years and teaches all over the world. Imelda’s classes are fun, dynamic, inspiring and easy to follow. Imelda is a great believer in the benefits of Yoga practice and to this end runs seminars for health professionals, the NHS and Local Authorities and Schools.Imelda runs master classes for central YMCA London and hosts weekend fitness events and hosts mind/body weekends and holidays. Says Imelda “I have been practicing Yoga since I was 14 years old and I practice every day. Yoga makes you feel great and develops incredible health and vitality. Yoga is as much about stretching your mind as your spine. Although it is a physical activity is effects far more than your physical body. Breathing, balance and focus all come into play and yoga is a holistic means of healing, nurturing and vitalising your body, mind and spirit.

Christian Birch

Christian Birch started Tai Ji Quan in 1981, with Danny Connor in Manchester. In 1982 He moved back to London and studied with John Kells at the British T’ai Chi Ch’uan Association where he concentrated on the Cheng Man Ch’ing form. Between 1991 and 2005 Christian was teaching Andy Spragg and together they delivered the first retreats for Re-vitalise. In 2005 he started studying Sun style Tai Ji Quan and was fortunate to find Dave Martin, 2nd Generation Disciple of the late Sun Jian Yun (daughter of Sun Lutang), who agreed to teach him and with whom He is still studying. Christian’s knowledge and experience of Tai Chi is phenomenal and his teaching is an inspiration to all who train with him. Christian is now returning to Re-vitalise to deliver retreats concentrating on Sun style.

Ian Deavin - Smaller

Ian Deavin is interested in developing relaxed movement for people of all ages and from all walks of life. His retreats involve mindfulness, meditation, body awareness, exercise patterns and partner work in a quiet sharing environment. Ian Says “Sometimes we need a break from the conveyor belt of life to simply “be” in our bodies, to recognise ourselves as a whole organic person and to integrate mind/body/spirit. Tai Chi offers a wonderful opportunity for this process with its roots spiritually in Buddhism, physically in martial arts and mentally in the natural scientific principles of Taoism.”Ian seeks to combine this Eastern approach with a Western cultural upbringing and a broad experience of life so as to facilitate a “get away from it all” weekend with the possibility of new discoveries and interesting experiences on our internal journey through life. Ian became interested in eastern philosophy, meditation and martial arts while studying agriculture at Reading University in the 1970s’. He has subsequently trained in the UK/Europe, China, Japan and Malaysia. He has 3 children, including a young second family, and runs his own marketing consultancy business. Ian works in the Chen family tradition teaching regular classes and seminars – often in conjunction with Alexander Technique, Moving Mindfully and dance teacher Judy Hammond. Over the years Ian has written extensively on Tai Chi and related subjects.

Ashley Cheeseman

Ashley Cheeseman has been practising martial arts for over 35 years and teaching Yang style Tai Chi and Qi-gong for over 17 years, Ashley’s main goal is to ensure people can feel the Chi and along with learning the forms gain a true understanding of energy transference. When people ask Ashley what he gains from teaching he replies “It’s simple, watching people feel the power of Chi for the first time or having my students tell me how they feel less stressed, that their sleep has improved or they’ve gained more mobility through learning Tai Chi. Helping others has shown me great self-awareness and can be quite humbling at times.” As modern society has changed, Ashley has changed with it, teaching his students short forms and Qi-gong routines to fit around their hectic lifestyles, ideal for people attending weekend retreats. Ashley’s style of teaching is relaxed but driven using humour to put his students at ease showing them how Tai Chi can become a lifestyle choice, improving not only their lives but those around them.