Written by Marlo Jappen Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00
If you’ve never heard of Falun Dafa, you’re not alone. Instructor Suzanne Eckler said it’s not widely practiced in Long Island, but she and her assistant William Jin are offering a series of six free classes at the Farmingdale Library on Thursday nights.
“When something makes you happy, you want to share it,” Eckler said.
Falun Dafa is a meditation practice that originated in China in 1992.
It involves five sets of exercises and it emphasizes virtues such as truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
“I don’t know much about this,” said Marie-Laetitia, 60, of Farmingdale. “I’m an avid practitioner of yoga and Tai Chi so I was very excited when I found out that the library was offering this class for free.”
The class of eight gently raised their arms above their head to form an arc as relaxing music played in the background.
“They are all doing very well,” Eckler said to her partner. “They learn very quickly.”
She and Jin walked around the room to help attendees strike the proper pose. Jin said that Falun Dafa benefits practitioner’s health.
“Before I practiced Falun Dafa I had stomach aches,” Jin said. “After I practice, I feel relaxed and my health is getting better.”
For Eckler, the practice helps her emotionally. Eckler was in a bad state after her mother passed away, so she sought out the advice of a homeopathic doctor who recommended that she try out Falun
Dafa. And she has been practicing ever since, for the last 13 years.
“I wouldn’t be here today without Falun Dafa,” she said.
Falun Dafa was once widespread in China with over 100 million people practitioners. However, since 1999 practitioners have been persecuted, abducted, tortured, imprisoned, and killed by the Chinese government, and persecutions are still happening today.
“Falun Dafa makes you strong and fearless,” Eckler said. “But, the Communist party in China wants people to live under fear.”
The practice has since reached the United States where it is taught free of charge.
“I found the practice to be very invigorating because I’m very stressed,” Marie-Laetitia said. “I think I’m going to be hooked on this.”