Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Crane

In the predawn spring light, I stepped into the backyard to practice The Crane this morning.  This gentle & graceful Qi Gong form embodies elegance, poise, & balance.  As life rapidly changes these days, I need to cultivate these qualities deeply. Taking in the fresh spring air my body gently stretches to the tall trees of Takoma Park.  I notice the bird song gently swelling about me.  An urge to go and practice along Sligo Creek arises.

No need to rush, life is providing plenty of that, I just need to stretch my wings and ride the fresh Qi.  I need to cultivate balance and harmony within my morning practices, so that I can take a long view of life and occasionally soar above and through the causes & conditions.  Pausing to think and allow myself to sense the breeze, I open my wings again while breathing in.  Seeking clarity and health I continue my Qi Gong exercises.

As I stretch my wings again a branch on the oak tree high above the earth attracts my attention.  What would it be like to sit and observe life from a perch 75 feet above the garden?  How would my sense of clarity broaden?  I begin to smile and then my balance wavers.  Appreciating the shift in perception I bring my attention back to my body.  Watching my breath and directing the movements, I sense the subtle flowing of life within.  As the mind quiets the movements take on a gracefulness.  As the body relaxes the mind quiets.  Harmony arising from practicing in the here and now. 

The Crane is part of Five Animal Play Qi Gong,  one of the most ancient continuously practiced healing exercise systems in the world,  created by the famous Chinese herbalist & doctor Hua Tuo in the 2nd Century AD.   The Five Animal Play mimics the agility of the monkey, the lightness of the crane, the fierceness of the tiger, the calmness of the bear, and the peacefulness of the deer to train the body and the mind.  Joann and I will be leading a class in Five Animal Play at the Takoma Park Community Center beginning April 9th.  For more information and to register use this link.  Enter Qi Gong in the search for activities box and sign up today.  We look forward to playing and learning with you.

Photo by Cuatrok.

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