Do you know how to dance?
While working as a family physician in a Native American Hospital in the Southwest, a young doctor was introduced to a patient named Santiago, a Puebla priest and clan chief. The old man asked, “Do you know how to dance?”
To humor Santiago, the young doctor shuffled his feet at the priest’s bedside. Despite his condition, Santiago got up and demonstrated the proper steps. “You must be able to dance if you are to heal people,” he admonished the young doctor. “I can teach you my steps but you will have to hear your own music.” [Hammerschlag MD, Carl. The Dancing Healers: A Doctor’s Journey of Healing with Native Americans. Back Cover, 1988 HarperOne]
Every year since 2009, I along with Maxine Gunther and the Core of Fire Dance Ensemble have been celebrating the end of one year and the start of the next with a dance workshop where we teach Let It Be, a QiGong infused dance meant simply to bring about world peace, to heal ourselves as we heal others.
I believe that the Core of fire has been brought together by a Universal force for the purpose of teaching the steps of profound healing and providing a way, an avenue, an opening to hear the music. We ask the community; do you know how to dance?
Let It Be … and the dance inspired by Qigong movements … Some History
By Maxine Forster Guenther, Instructor of Integral Qigong
In Qigong practice, we always acknowledge and appreciate our teachers for the gifts of their wisdom. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Roger Jahnke, O.M.D. (that denotes a doctor of Oriental Medicine) and to Chungliang Al Huang, well known joyful person and Tai Chi Master who gave us “Embrace Tiger, Return to the Mountain.” Most of the movements we learn in this dance are from these teachers and teachers before them passed on for centuries. We are all deeply grateful to Dr. Carol Penn for creating the choreography for “Let It Be” for the Core of Fire dancers.
Together, in the spring of 2008, Carol and her Dad, Arthur Penn, took my class “Qigong for Good Health.” A reflection from Carol: “How profound, as our time in Qigong was to be our final father daughter journey together until we did our last dance during his dying process, a process that was so beautiful and graceful.”
For Carol, the beautiful healing movements of Qigong resonated in her creative dancer’s body and mind. From there, she was inspired to set the choreography to the Beatle’s song “Let It Be,” as sung in the movie, Across the Universe by Carol Woods and Timothy T. Mitchum.
From the beginning, the Core of Fire dancers set the intention to teach “Let It Be” to as many people as possible as an expression and· offering of peace. So far, hundreds have learned or seen the dance. We have performed in many venues, including the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County (NJ), Unity Church by the Shore, The Cancer Support Community, The National Qigong Association conferences in Maryland and California, NQA in Central Park, Omega Institute with Dr. Roger Jahnke, Hospice of South Jersey, and more. You may remember other places where the Core of Fire has danced “Let It Be.”
A few words about the Qigong ...
Qigong is an ancient healing modality, traced more than 5,000 years ago. It belonged to the warriors and elite of China and was not available to the general population until the Cultural Revolution. What is Qigong?· … Qi is often referred to as “the vital life force”· and Gong, simply means to practice. To learn Qigong is to practice moving your vital life force energy for purposes of good health and healing. Qigong is a system of exercise. that builds the immune system and strengthens the body through meditation and a series of slow and gentle movements using the breath and focusing the mind.
With· regular practice, the benefits of Qigong seem· to· deepen- and· increase. Reported· results include- a· peaceful mind, a healthy invigorated body, and balanced and calm spirit capable of dealing with daily stresses and disease. You will notice as we practice Qigong that there is an important connection between our bodies, the earth and the heavens or the universe. The beautiful yin/yang symbol expresses the balance of energies between Yin, embodied by earth and Yang, expressed by the heavens. In Qigong practice, we- use- our bodies to connect with those energies. In the dance, the connection expands among us and well beyond us as we share a “Qigong State.”
If you would like even more information about the Qigong movements used in the dance, “Let It Be”, there is detailed description of some of them in Dr. Roger Jahnke’s books: The Healing Promise of Qi and The Healer Within. The metaphor of “Embrace Tiger. Return to the Mountain” is in Chungliang Al Huang’s book of the same name.
Maxine’s website http://www.qigongforgoodhealth.org/ & e-mail Qigongomi4@verizon.net for information about upcoming classes, workshops and more! Carol’s website www.drcarolpenn.com & e-mail email@example.com