By Margaret Alkerton
Since 1999, a growing movement has committed to spreading knowledge of Tai Chi and Qigong, the traditional Chinese practices that combine gentle, deliberate movement and breath. Each year, on the last Saturday in April, over 100 cities worldwide celebrate and give thanks on World Tai Chi and Qigong Day.
For the first time this year, St. Catharines will be one of those cities.
“It’s my baby,” gushed Fabiola Hernandez, event coordinator, as she expressed her excitement about bringing WTCQD to the heart of the Garden City. “I want to put St. Catharines on the map- be a part of history.”
Under the slogan “One World… One Breath,” the uniting goal of WTCQD is to create a continuous, 24-hour flow of tai chi and qigong around the world, moving through each timezone at 10am.
Hernandez’s WTCQD event, hosted by The Village of Healing and Wellness, will be a free, public event held on April 30 at Market Square from 9am until noon. She will be joined by other instructors, students, and her own teacher Sifu George Picard, who she describes as “the best.”
The event will include live demonstrations, discussions, and the distribution of literature on the topic. At 10am, spectators will be invited to take part in a simple, guided 24-posture therapeutic qigong.
“It’s my passion,” said Picard, and stressed that this form of exercise is appropriate for all ages and levels of health. In over twenty years of experience, his message for WTCQD is to “stop the suffering.” His focus with the event will be on educating about the preventative and healing powers of Tai Chi and Qigong to modern lifestyles.
The Village of Healing and Wellness, located at 50 Gale Crescent, will be running an open house during the week of April 18-23. The general public is invited to attend free beginner classes for an introduction to Tai Chi and Qigong before WTCQD. A full list of the week’s classes can be found at www.georgepicard.com.