Press-Republican

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July 6, 2013

Ancient arts surprise at Farmers Market

ELIZABETHTOWN — An impromptu “flash mob” brought the calm of Qigong dance to the farmers market Friday morning.

The gentle hand and foot movements, much like Tai Chi, stilled busy market chatter and the human hum for about 10 minutes.

Not one of the busy shoppers suspected that eight or nine practitioners would form an arc and bring their meditative motion to the woodchip-padded pavilion floor.

But everyone stopped visiting with friends and laughing with local farmers to watch, with an apparent mix of curiosity and interest.

COPIED BY KIDS

The flash mob’s demonstration started as Meadowmount School of Music student Andre Washington struck the first classical notes on his cello.

Qigong instructors from Ascent Wellness in Essex, Courtney Anderson and Brian Trzaskos, opened with a few, slow hand gestures that then drew in the other performers.

The gentle mix of stretching and breathing seemed to fit right in with the morning’s warm, soft breeze.

A few children started copying the moves, watching carefully, imitating the rise and flow and turn of arms.

The performance was meant to introduce market-goers to outdoor summer qigong classes that start next Tuesday in the Colonial Gardens, beside the Adirondack History Center Museum.

BODY-MIND

Anderson and Trzaskos organized the market surprise introduction.

But both have been students of qigong and Tai Chi for years.

Trzaskos explained how the ancient Chinese form of movement harmonizes the “body-mind.”

“The body-mind is one thing,” he said. “When you do these practices, you release medicine within.”

The motion of arms and simple stretches is contrasted with breathing techniques to accompany each movement.

“We’re so busy in our lives,” Trzaskos said, “we become distracted. We’re not really taking full advantage of the medicine inside our selves.”

Working alongside their parents, Trzaskos and Anderson’s children shared what they’ve learned of the ancient meditative dance-like steps.

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