Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Reminiscing About Antipolo Earth Fest 2011: Qi Gong

My best friend Lakapati never had a hard time persuading me to spend the weekend in the highlands to celebrate the Earth Day(s) last year. And I wasn't being the typical kaladkarin best friend ha. After making a quick scan of the parade of talks, workshops, concerts and merchants that await us in Pinto Art Museum, I was immediately consumed with immense excitement and thirst for new learning. They had me at zumba, yoga and qi gong.

If my [poor] memory serves me right, we both arrived in the museum Saturday morning right after the yoga workshop. Zumba class followed  next, but I found myself marveling at the revamped artspace. I went looking for the artifacts that used to stand here and there and I took it upon myself to describe to Lakapati its erstwhile appearance during my first visit in 2009. Change is always good and I'm so grateful how the curator and the other people behind it made sure it was splendid.

The following day, we were very early and got lucky to catch the qi gong demo. I wasn't really sure how it was different from tai chi, but I was convinced regular practice can help balance the chi, calm this restless mind of mine and...and...and tap the hard-to-reach realms of awareness so I can reach my full potential (ok, I got that from Google search).

The demo begins!

Qi Gong with the master, Mrs. Henrietta S.M. Rosana

The Qi Gong group in Antipolo performed to the soothing music during the demo, then invited us to follow their example. They made us stretch our arms, reach the lower limbs and make formations in slow motion. All those while we align our movements with our breaths. It sounded like yoga, it looked like tai chi and it felt like both combined. There were challenging poses that made me embrace fear again for my weak knees, but my mind fought such  negative thoughts. I was so distracted that I hardly noticed Lakapati documenting my practice. Where did my cam-readiness go?

Although I prefer fast-paced dancing for workouts, I find this qi gong session equally enjoyable. I actually broke into beads of sweat and felt stretched and thirsty afterwards.

It's been a year since I had this lovely experience and I feel bad that I had no chance to do a follow-up. I remember how my yogini best friend Grace raved how yin yoga (slow) complemented her ashtanga yoga (active) practice and how it helped her open her hips and other body parts. I imagine qi gong would promise the same benefit. Now where to take qi gong classes?

All photos by Lakapati.

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