Siyakhana is all about balance: it’s about knowing precisely when to plant and where to position the seedlings. It’s about knowing when to fertilise and when to harvest. And it’s about knowing just how much of one’s yield to portion out for profit and how much to set aside for consumption amongst one’s own. Without adhering to a delicate balance – balancing the seasons, the inputs, the resources, the yields and the outputs – a sustainable agricultural initiative cannot be achieved.
Tai Chi, too, is about achieving balance. Balance in one’s life, in one’s stance and in one’s body. Though the practice of Tai Chi is beneficial to health, it is also a subtle, sophisticated and scientific method of self-defence. When performed in a slow and relaxed manner, Tai Chi offers a balanced drill for the body’s muscles and joints through the execution of complex manoeuvres in conjunction with deep regulated breathing. Benefits include improved circulation, better digestion and well-being of all the organs in the body. It can also lead to positive changes in our disposition, making us more even-tempered and slow to anger.
And so, when Mr Wing Man – an expert and Tai Chi practitioner – offered to teach the Siyakhana farmers about the practice and theory of Tai Chi, we jumped (gracefully) at the opportunity. Siyakhana staff and the Tshwane University of Technology Crop Science students (carrying out their Work Intergrated Learning Programme) at Siyakhana garden participated in several sessions. The feedback was very positive positive from all participants who were made aware of the importance of mid body health. As the pursuit of physical activity – and achieving balance in all spheres – is in line with our mission of promoting healthier and more resilient communties, we hope to resume these Tai Chi sessions in the near future.