Chinese Lunar New Year, Year of the Rat (4718) began on January 25, 2020. The new year is based on the lunar calendar, so the actual start date varies from year to year but is always in January or February. The traditions are many and rich. The color is red. Lanterns line the streets and homes. Parades mark the celebration with marching bands, colorful and floats and lion and dragon dances.
My Tai Chi students and I have hosted celebrations for many years. This year, on January 26, we gathered with friends and guests at Heartwood Integrative Health and Healing. I am a Rat, so this is my year, the first in a cycle of 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.
What a great afternoon! Xin Tian, an acupuncturist from Heartwood gave a very informative presentation about Traditional Chinese Medicine. Participants tuned in and asked many questions. Xin also shared childhood memories of Chinese New Year that she and her family experienced in Beijing, where she was born and grew up.
We all experienced moving our bodies through GiGong, led by Marsha Warren. I loved standing in a hip-width stance, with soft knees, paying attention to proper alignment, following Marsha firm, but soothing instructions. “Do you feel something?” she asked after shaking our arms, hands and fingers in a specific way. Yes, I felt a little tingling. I felt my energy moving and it felt good.
Although the focus was celebration, yes, we had some great snacks — oranges, Chinese candies, almond cookies and sesame bite cookies from Chinatown, we did reinforce good lessons. Learning new things adds to our knowledge base and tool kit for promoting healthy minds and bodies. Directed movement of our bodies, for relaxation for moving our energy, promoting our health is important to experience on a regular basis.
Thank you to my Tai Chi students, to Xin and Marsha for a stimulating afternoon. Hopefully, the Year of the Rat will be a great year. I will be paying attention.