The last three days have been filled with red and gold, great food, traditional dances, tai chi, kung fu, opera selections, dragon dances in the street — all in celebration of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse.
As we gathered yesterday at the Heartwood Center for Body Mind Spirit, the first thing we did was ‘move’ through QiGong, with awareness of our breath, our weight-shifting and our focus on gently moving our Qi throughout our bodies. Movement helps us ‘wake up’, stretch our body and helps us be more alert for everything that follows.
We met each other through our tai chi experiences, always fun to hear how it all started: “I was looking for a class to reduce my stress;” “I needed more balance, both literally and in my busy, task-filled life; “my daughter kept urging me to try tai chi because she loves her karate and thought I needed something similar, but slower”; on and on the stories came.
We looked at slides and heard about major influences on the development of tai chi, from the “I Ching”, Taoism, the five element theory, yin/yang theory. This unfolded via slides and stories of my trip and tai chi study in China, in both Chen Village and in the Wudang Mountains.
The energy was light and attentive, cordial, supportive. We snacked on mixed nuts and the traditional oranges, always present in the Chinese New Year. We moved through ‘forms’ we’re working on, either Yang, Sun and Wudang styles. We were glad to be together, from various classes in Evanston and Chicago, because we had a commonality – appreciation and gratefulness for how we continue to benefit from tai chi.
As we began to close, again through moving our breath throughout our bodies, I thanked all my teachers, their teachers and those throughout the centuries, starting in China, who gave of themselves to share the wonderful practices that we enjoy today. Teachers whose names we know and teachers whom we don’t know, all made a difference in our lives.
I am very grateful for all martial arts teachers, and particularly QiGong and Tai Chi teachers, who have taught me a way of moving and breathing and being that brings balance into my life. Thank you to each of them.
We all have those teachers who were/are instrumental in positively influencing how we live and how we relate to each other and the world. Who comes to mind for you? Take a few moments to say ‘thank you’, to name that person or persons in your own mind. He or she helped mold you, direct you, guide you, support you, listen to you. . .