Starting in January 2017, the weekly neighborhood Sheng Zhen Gong class taught by Peter Van Buren will move to the Upper Parish Hall at Memorial Episcopal Church. Beginning on January 4, one-hour classes will be held every Wednesday from 5:30–6:30 pm.
This past summer, neighbor Virginia Knowlton Marcus began teaching weekly yoga classes at Memorial Church, also in the Upper Hall. Since her class is on the same day from 7–8 pm, Bolton Hill can now enjoy Wellness Wednesdays, as these two classes dovetail with each other.
Peter explains, “Sheng Zhen means ‘unconditional love’ in Chinese, while Gong means ‘practice.’ Through its comprehensive system of moving forms, meditations, philosophy, and contemplations, Sheng Zhen Gong taps into the body’s natural ability to heal itself.”
“The graceful, flowing movements relax and strengthen the body, while quieting the mind and opening the heart. Time and again, I have seen students experience the benefits of balancing their emotions and reducing stress with just one session.”
As an ongoing fundraiser, 100% of the qigong class fees will go to Memorial Church, with suggested donations of $10 per class or a 6-class package for $50. With the help of Rev. Grey Maggiano, Peter hopes the larger space of the upper hall will allow him to introduce this beneficial practice to both the Memorial congregation and the wider Bolton Hill community.
Peter started learning Tai Chi in 1978. Since then, he has enjoyed practicing this martial art in various schools from Massachusetts to Baltimore to Washington, DC. He was introduced to Sheng Zhen Gong by local teacher Pamela Tanton in 2005 and has been practicing it ever since.
Peter has also learned directly from Master Li Junfeng, one of the few living qigong masters and the force who brought Sheng Zhen Gong to the world. After hundreds of hours of training and practice, he started teaching qigong locally in 2014.
Peter started teaching weekly Sheng Zhen Gong classes at the Bolton Hill Nursery in October 2015. A creative fundraiser for the school, the classes produced over $1,000 in donations to the Nursery during that time.
For the past year, classes have been held in the living room of the school’s historic mansion on Lanvale Street, and participants have enjoyed the open sunny space that is permeated with the laughter of so many young children. “This made for a perfect place in which to practice Sheng Zhen, said Peter, “and director Louie Wilder and the staff made us feel truly welcome. I am very grateful for their kindness.”
Learn more about Sheng Zhen Gong at BmoreSZG.com.