I have just come back from a transformational festival called ‘Prana’ in the Coromandel, here in New Zealand. I was there teaching some qigong workshops, but I also got to participate in many of the other events and workshops that were going on at the festival.
There was music and dancing -as you would expect, but also meditation, and massage, and capoeira, and drumming, and lectures on herbalism, and sustainable finance, and peaceful communication, and the list goes on…
I had a great time attending as many different workshops as I could, I played the ukelele, made my own didgeridoo, discovered contact improvisation, played capoeira games, participated in a breath circle and met all sorts of wonderful people trying to live their lives to the fullest and make the world a better place.
The surroundings were also beautiful, right on the beach, with bush and fields for camping in.
My qigong sessions were well attended. I was particularly impressed that even on the morning of New Years day, after everyone had been up late the night before, and the rain had started making it very tempting for campers to stay in their tents or vans, there was still a really good group at my morning qigong session. For many of the participants it was the first time they had ever done qigong, and for some it was the first time they had even heard of qigong! As you might expect from the name of the festival, there was lots and lots of yoga there (I joined a few of those classes as well), and most attendees were familiar with this – so I used an analogy to help them understand what qigong is and how it compares to yoga, and I thought I would share it with you as well.
The analogy was food. You can compare yoga to Indian food and qigong to Chinese food. They taste a bit different to each other, but in the end their purpose is to make you strong and healthy. Each of these cuisines is put together using slightly different principles using flavours and textures and so on, but if we dig a little deeper we find that the underlying principles of nutrition are the same.
The same can be said for yoga and qigong, some of the practices are a little different from each other, but they are both aimed at using mind and body together to make your energy healthy and strong. When we dig deeply enough into each of these traditions we find that they have more in common than they do differences. And just as with food, some people like Indian food, and other people like Chinese food, and some people really like both. It really doesn’t hurt to try some different dishes from time to time, you might even find a new favourite!
I personally really enjoyed sampling some of the different dishes (practices) that were on offer at the Prana festival, and I know that there were many people who enjoyed their first sampling of qigong as well.
I look forward to being able to introduce many more people to qigong this year as I travel to teach workshops!