So part 2 of my adventure at PA continues!
This time around, I was invited down to a 3-1-2 Meridian class at the Botanical Gardens hosted by Geylang West CC.
Short of sounding like a math class, the Meridian theory is actually the core concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). If you’re wondering what meridians are, they’re pressure points on your body which control different functionalities – kinda like how Jet Li takes out an armed man in his Kungfu movies with a drop kick to the neck.
The 3-1-2 exercise is therefore a meridian based fitness program and as quoted by a Hungarian practitioner, Doctor Ajandok Eory, benefit poor people the most because western medicine is growing more and more expensive. Yeah, I’m not going to be responsible for touching the poverty bomb with a 20-foot pole nor holistic healing. If you’re seriously sick, see a doctor. This episode of South Park shows you why.
I was drawn to the class largely because I’ve always been intrigued of the benefits of TCM & meridian points. The Kiwi swears by acupuncture but the thought of needles sticking into my skin terrifies me, although oddly enough this has never stopped me from tattoos or piercings. Also, whenever I see myself bleeding, I automatically think I’m going to die. Hurray for contradicting drama queens. So anyway, meridian exercises seemed like a good mid-way point to enter the strange world of chinese juju.
Because the class was scheduled in for 7.30am on a Sunday, I was effectively still mildly inebriated from the evening before at an ex-colleague’s 90s hiphop themed birthday party. But nevertheless, I trudged along to the class, proudly decked in my ‘exercise-wear’ of tights, gym shorts, and an oversized t-shirt with a sweatband. I never pass up any opportunity to look like a member of FAME.
I got a little lost on the way to class but managed to find my way. The walk to the Eco-lake from the Visitors Centre at the Botanical Gardens (about 15 minutes away) was a great warm up. And there were a surprising amount of people already out and about. Surprising mainly because my weekends consist of sleeping in till noon and rolling out of bed for brunch. Getting up before the sun rises is generally unheard of in our apartment.
The mid-size class of about 15 participants was mostly made out of nice little old ladies (and a nice old man) because the Merdian class is geared towards the elderly. The instructor, Ernest and his assistant were both excellently bilingual which pleased this white-washed asian, and patient in demonstrating and explaining the correct methods of exercise. That was a relief because I’d joined this class mid-way (their first session was a week ago) and I really did not want to get ‘served‘ by a more flexible and physically fit 60 year old lady. Also, as far as possible, I wanted to avoid accidentally giving myself renal failure by jabbing my ankle incorrectly.
Conducted in the style of any regular fitness class, Ernest and his assistant stood in front to lead. The exercise was broken up into a couple of parts: standing to stretch and massage points on the back and elbows, lying down for breathing exercises and the legs (you gotta bring a yoga mat for this), face exercises, and more squats than I care to enjoy. Not exactly exerting but enough to work up a sweat for someone with a sedentary lifestyle in front of the PC. There are too many specifics of this exercise to explain so check out this Facebook group for videos if you’re keen.
Did I mention that there was also a boom box which played a recording of the 1.5hr long exercise which featured a man counting the beats in Mandarin to a backdrop of soothing oriental music? It reminded me of the time I had a back massage and the chinese owned parlor only seemed to have the Best Hits of Kenny G’s smooth jazz in MIDI.
In case you’re wondering what I did post-workout, I showered, and had a hearty scrambled egg, sausage, bacon meal for breakfast – promptly putting back whatever 0.2g of (water)weight I’d lost, all back on.
Although I have yet to master the art of paralyzing people with my hands, I have to say that it was an extremely enriching experience. I can’t say this enough but the PA really does have a great variety of courses to attend. I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to learn what could be a forgotten art (okay maybe not entirely forgotten with the 1.3Billion people in China potentially practicing it) and I certainly wouldn’t have known where to start. For more details on cool classes to attend, head over to Our Community for the full list.