First we heard the drums, loud and strong down the hillside.
Then the band joined in. Mystified we looked at each other with a question in our eyes. The drums came closer and then we heard feet marching. Within a few minutes a band of women musicians and women dancing to the rhythm of the drums came into sight around the bend in the road.
What an introduction to the Yi people, a Chinese minority group who lived in the Miyi area of Yunnan province, China.
This was one of many surprises interesting and wonderful that we experienced on our tour courtesy of Qigong Master Zhao Shihua, with his wife May Sun. So began a festive time at the Sanjiaotang Farm Resort in Miyi district in Szechuan province. The brisk circle and line dancing sparkled with energy. We were invited to join in. A few rounds of the quick movement left us a little breathless, full of fun, and keen for more. The Yi female dancers were joined by their male counterparts, dressed in bright blues and many hues of colour. Without a common language we shared the spirit of the dance and laughter by the willows at the lakes edge.
Many of us silently decided we would practise our Qigong more to increase our fitness when we were back in Australia.
Our tour group consisted of thirty two men and women from their 30’s up to 80’s in age.
Undoubtedly another of the highlights was the land of the Tibetan Chinese in the fabled Shangi-la.
It is probably the most pristine environment I am likely to visit in my lifetime. The lake water was crystal clear, the sky a bright pure blue. Their land was a national park of stunning abundance wherever you looked. It was well cared for. Words cannot describe the feelings when doing Qigong beside a lake 8,500 feet above sea level in such a natural pristine environment.
This was my fourth visit to China, the first being the winter of 1985 when the land was blanketed in snow. The change and progress wherever we travelled was incredible. We travelled by coach for 8 hours from the mountains in Szechuan province down to its capital of Chengdu. All the way was a smooth freeway. Often looking out of the bus window I could see three more long bridges below each one being many stories higher than the one below. The highest bridge on this, the Yaxi freeway, is 182.6m, quite scary at times though a magical view across the countryside.
One thing prevalent in China that I would like to see in my country (Australia) is in the early morning the parks are filled with people doing their choice of exercise
Many practices and levels of Qigong, Tai Chi, quick movement and dance all to their own music throughout the park. In the evening it was the same with even more people coming together and joining in wherever they wanted for as long as they wanted.
Rising at 6am and warming up in the park before 7am followed by one to two hours of qigong definitely improved my flexibility, concentration, and pleasure in my qigong.
Our Australian groups, from Sydney and Perth combine for our China tours. With our common interest in qigong we share ’tourist’ sights, and unusual unexpected experiences.
I love to tour.
Travel in a land as large as China inevitably brings hours sitting in planes, trains, and buses. When we travel as a qigong group like this China tour, we stop often at parks and stretch our legs and enjoy the group energy when doing qigong. It keeps us happy and healthy wherever we are.
Home again, on the ABC television show Catalyst, I watched a discussion about the damaging effects on our life now as a part of a ‘sitting society’. Research was quoted as to how many years our life is shortened by how many hours a day each of us spends sitting, mostly without movement of much of our body.
The brief qigong practices I now show via video on my website are all aimed to encourage people, when at the computer or sitting, to use easy ways to gain energy.
This will increase their chance to stay healthy with a high quality lifestyle every day and well into older age.
I use these practices when I travel in planes, trains, buses, and automobiles. They really pay again and again as they keep me flexible and lifts my spirits whatever I do.
It is an easy way to get started and to be surprised at the difference in how you feel at the end of the day after such easy quick actions that improved your work quality, output, and level of happiness.