Out of the darkness, into the light of the new year

There is no doubt that 2022 was a particularly challenging year globally and individually for many of us. As we cycle into a new beginning, with the Chinese new year (of the rabbit) I find myself with a renewed lightness in my heart. Much like the beautiful lotus flower that could not exist without the muddy waters from which it grows, I am grateful for the challenges and muck that was 2022. 

The lotus flower is a common symbol in Qigong, often we visualise it blooming in our hearts. It represents the act of rising above, despite challenges and moving towards the light of wisdom.  

This term our Qigong practice will have an emphasis on women’s specific Qigong techniques, transforming stress whilst practising deep self-care. In classic Qigong, there’s an emphasis on the lower belly area whereas, in women’s Qigong, there’s more emphasis on the heart centre, blooming like a lotus flower. 

Women tend to be strongest in the heart centre. Just by the nature of us living in a fast-paced world, a lot of energy naturally goes into the upper centre, the brain, where the natural tendency is to overdo and overthink. Add to this the constant juggling of responsibilities and caring for others, it’s easy to become disconnected, scattered and burned out. Women’s Qigong techniques help focus scattered energy, connecting us to the earth to feel grounded and relaxed, so we’re less likely to get derailed by situations out of our control.

This year is the year of the yin rabbit, it’s a time for tranquil energy, with a focus on rest, introspection and working smarter, not harder.  

“The rabbit is a symbol of intellect and cautiousness. As the lore goes, the rabbit was among the 12 animals who raced to the Jade Emperor in a cosmic contest that ultimately determined the order of the Chinese zodiac signs. Though it was a weak swimmer, the rabbit used its brain, opting to cross the river portion of the course on a raft. Like the animal, Lee said, it’s important to approach everything in a smart, deliberate way.

The rabbit in the Chinese zodiac also speaks to the power of empathy. At one point in the race, the rabbit found itself stuck in the water. The dragon, who was flying overhead, opted to finish behind its woodland friend, blowing a heavy gust of wind to help send the rabbit across the finish line. The act speaks to the importance of both giving and receiving compassion.”

- Jonathan H. X. Lee, an Asian and Asian American studies professor at San Francisco State University


Join us for a restorative Qigong class in Christchurch, outside in the trees at Little Hagley Park, 1.30pm Tuesday, January 31. 

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