(Minghui.org) As the pandemic spread around the world in the past two years, most people have been restricted from leaving their homes. Seeing the soaring number of infected people around the world every day, many people feel anxious, panicked, and at a loss for how to cope. In these chaotic and uncertain times, Kalpana Lohani, Vice Principal of a school in Kathmandu, Nepal, said she’s found a good way to relax both physically and mentally.
“Now, I do all five Falun Dafa exercises every morning. I feel calm, alert, and healthy. I sleep better,” she said. “I feel so good and fortunate that I heard about them (the Falun Dafa exercises).”
Ms. Lohani attended a Free Online Falun Dafa Exercise Workshop held by Falun Dafa practitioners in India. To date, more than 5000 people attended the webinars and learned the five Falun Dafa exercises.
English Webinar in July 2021: practitioner demonstrating exercises for attendees to follow along (video screenshot)
"Falun Dafa in India" screenshot of the Facebook video
The idea of teaching Falun Dafa exercises and meditation online began in India almost two years ago with the first wave of Covid 19 and the start of the pandemic’s curfews and lockdowns.
Archana, a Falun Dafa practitioner from Mumbai said that watching her son attend online classes for school gave her the idea of starting webinars to teach Falun Dafa exercises online. “It was difficult to teach people during the lockdown in person,” said Archana, “but it is possible to connect with people from every corner of the country through an online video conference app. Those who do not have a computer can connect through a mobile phone and learn the practice.”
Archana invited a few other practitioners. The response they got was encouraging and they knew they were on to a good thing. Many attendees said they felt learning the exercises and meditation online offered a ray of hope to increase peace of mind and immunity, since people were cooped up at home with outdoor activities totally restricted. Falun Dafa seemed like “a good antidote to deal with stress” and this was how the practitioners introduced the online classes.
Help and encouragement came in many ways and an Indian practitioner in the U.S. assisted with promotions and monitoring the traffic. Sumaya, a practitioner who is a fashion model by profession, says, “As soon as I was invited to demonstrate the exercises online, I immediately agreed. I’ve benefited so much from practicing Falun Dafa that I would like to share it with everyone.” Sumaya added, “Many people were curious about Falun Dafa’s origins, as no one had ever heard of it. A lot of them were curious about the exercise movements and the reasons behind them.”
Since the webinars started in April 2020, about 12,000 people registered for the webinars, and over a million people in India have seen the social media posts about Falun Dafa. Ms. Lohani is one of those who registered for the workshop after reading a post related to Falun Dafa on a social media.
Another Falun Dafa practitioner Yuvraj who helps demonstrate the exercises said, “After attending online workshops, a few participants wanted to practice the Falun Dafa exercises on a regular basis. To accommodate them we organized daily time slots.”
As the idea of online classes caught on, Falun Dafa practitioners organized special classes for teenagers and children, the content of which was kept according to their interest. The session includes many interesting activities for the children such as teaching them how to make lotus flowers through paper origami and recounting the Lotus story to tell them about the importance of moral values. The kids loved the workshop and some even asked their parents to join.
Shreya, a 12-year-old student decided to attend the workshop after learning about the practice from her uncle. Since learning, Shreya has been practicing regularly and has found it “very beneficial.” “Now my mind is a lot more calm and stable and I can study well,” she said.
India is a country of multiple languages. There are over 29 languages and each of them is spoken by over a million people. While Hindi is the national language and spoken by most people English acts as a unifying language. Various Southern and Eastern states have their own languages.
The classes were first started in the Hindi language on a weekly basis, but English language classes were soon added due to popular demand. By the end of 2021, classes in three more languages – Marathi, Bengali, and Kannada - were also started. Bengali is spoken in the Indian state of West Bengal and in Bangladesh, thus catering to two major regions. The response to the classes held in these regional languages has been very encouraging with classes being held each week.
As more countries began lifting restrictions, many Falun Dafa practitioners gradually began returning to parks to continue practicing the exercises and introducing them in person. However, with another wave of the CCP virus coming, the India webinar team has not stopped the online weekend classes, nor does it plan to. An average of 25 to 40 people attend each class, consisting mainly of beginners or those who never heard of Falun Dafa.
In the past 9 months, the number of people who've registered and participated has tripled compared to the previous year. In India, there is a growing awareness of Falun Dafa as a meditation practice. A short introductory video about Falun Dafa on the India Facebook page has 160 thousand views each week. Spurred by the response, there has been an effort to enlarge the scope and reach out to more people. A few online classes were conducted for corporations and some schools and the online team hopes to do more.
All volunteers hope that those who learn the practice will be able to benefit from it during these uncertain times.
Everyone is welcome to register for online classes to learn Falun Dafa (https://www.learnfalungong.in). The classes are always free of charge.