In March 2020, with COVID surging across New York City, we closed the Center and started offering classes on Zoom. Students and teachers alike had to figure out how this new medium could be used to teach and learn, and how we could create a sense of community virtually. Starting that June, the Saturday morning class met in Madison Square Park, and, with a stalwart group of practitioners, continued to meet through the heat of the Summer and the cold of the Fall and Winter. In May 2021, the Board approved re-opening the Center for students who were fully vaccinated and by the end of 2021, the Center was open for two classes and one open practice session weekly.
The Board of Directions and teachers invited members, family and friends to join them for a dinner at a local restaurant. We gathered to honor the enduring legacy of Master Koo’s teachings, share an evening of delicious Persian food and reminisce about Master Koo when we were much younger!
For the past 30+ years, the tradition for our Annual Meeting is to have an outdoor group practice, open to all Members and friends, followed by a pot-luck lunch at the Center. We then convene the official Annual Meeting, where we elect the Board of Directors and the Board chooses the Officers.
Freddie Bryant continued the series of music and taiji with four concerts in 2019. The fusion of taiji with music allowed us to explore how meditation and music connect with creativity and awareness and foster a deeper appreciation for the arts. The concerts ranged from a classical cellist to a freewheeling exploration of various musical genres, including African, Cuban, Brazilian and American jazz.
The Garrison Institute in upstate New York provided a lovely setting for our 2018 summer weekend retreat. Set in a renovated former monastery overlooking the Hudson River, Garrison was a wonderful spot for our group. We gathered each morning in the main hall at 6:30 AM for meditation, and practiced for 2 hours before lunch and dinner. Practitioners—new and old alike (and even a few we hadn’t seen in years) benefited from the immersion into the practice. There was leisure time for conversations with fellow practitioners and to deepen friendships.
This Fall we debuted a new series that combines taiji with musical performance. The two concerts were very well-attended and brought people interested in learning more about our practice into the Center. The unanimous feedback was that we should have more events such as these. Freddie Bryant and Ikhlaq Hussain kindly shared their enormous talents and we hope that their plans for a joint concert in 2019 come to fruition!
A rare opportunity for our Center was hosting Master Meng Zhiling, vice-president of the Chinese Taoist Association in Beijing. He led a 4-day seminar on aspects of Taoism, including meditation, qi gong and Taoist wisdom. It was truly special to learn from someone who possesses a deep understanding of internal cultivation.
In our annual tradition, we use the occasion of Master Koo's birthday to join together and honor the enduring legacy of his teachings. It is a time when members can share their practice and the Center with family and friends. Every year we commemorate the event with a group photo.
Society's 30th Anniversary Celebration
In 2017 we celebrated our 30th year as an organization. We chose the occasion of Master Koo’s birthday to gather with fellow practitioners, family and friends to commemorate this remarkable achievement.
Opening Celebration of SRAN