In July Richard and I were lucky enough to fulfil a dream and travel down the Yanzi, or as the Chinese call it, Long River, from Chonqing in the Western mountains to Wuhan near where flooding has been threatening on the plains. This took four days on a substantial ship and took us through the Three Gorges and past the amazing new dam which will be operational by next April.

In Chonqing I looked out my bedroom window in the morning to find the car park full of individuals in various stages of their Qigong or Tai Chi. There were all ages but most in their middle age or later. We later saw younger groups doing sword and dance routines. One woman, who appeared to be in her seventies, was practising kicks to shoulder height with wonderful balance control.

Once we were on the boat one of the thrills was to be able to be involved in a Tai Chi class run at 7am by the shipís doctor. I soon found if I began half an hour earlier I was doing my warm-ups and exercises with local tourists. If I did an exercise the woman next to me had not done she would join in and vice versa. It was a nice communication when neither of us spoke a word of the otherís language. Our class was a small routine I had not seen before and the moves were more expansive and wider than we do in our class, quite difficult to follow the teacher when we were turning, but rewarding to find some of the moves familiar.

In Wuhan one morning I noticed four people doing their exercises in the city square near the hotel. This involved some head bumping on trees that was hard to fathom, as well as familiar routines. They were totally unconcerned about the traffic and people hurrying to work and seemed to generate a quiet little pool of calm around them.

The scenery was magnificent, the people friendly and the standard of facilities for tourists was excellent. But forget the coffee. We succumbed to temptation and ordered a capuccino for around A$10 a cup only to find it almost undrinkable. I was a holiday I would thoroughly recommend, especially if one keeps an eye on the Tai Chi as locally practised.

Penny Cockington

Moving Meditation School of Tai Chi and Qigong


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