The Founders of AnanDao
In 2004, Noa and Ralf Peekel discovered a magical place in China: the holy mountains of Wudang. Today, Wudang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a center for Wudang Martial Arts and Daoist philosophy.
Noa and Ralf are spending one month a year in Wudang to draw new inspiration and knowledge and bring them to the west.
After their first visit to Wudang, they have founded the ZenGarden, a Center for Martial Arts and Yoga in Hockenheim, Germany.
Over the years, through their mutual fascination to Martial Arts and Yoga, as well as their devotion to practice and many years experience working with different type of people, the AnanDao system was created.
Since then they teach workshops, seminars, lectures, retreats in different places in the world.
Their field of expertise is healing through motion, with special solutions for burnout, back pain, sleeping disorders, high blood pressure and stress management.
Interview with the Founders of AnanDao Noa und Ralf Peekel
Why did you create AnanDao?
Ten years ago, when we were at the beginning: I was doing Yoga with Noa, and she Qi Gong and Tai Chi with me, we began to develop a great love for the “other” system. We both realised how much the “other” system/culture could give us and we really enjoyed it. During the years that we have been training teachers in Yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi, we have often sat together and compared the wisdom and foundations of each of these systems. In doing so, we noticed how different the approaches of the various cultures are, but also how many similarities there are, all achieving the same goal. That started us thinking. And of course also our many visits to our teachers in India and China, where we learned how they practice and teach over there. At the same time, we observed how difficult it is for people in the West to practice in the same way as in Asia. Lifestyles in the West are quite different. Managing a family and career means that practice takes place mostly in the evening. We have other priorities and circumstances which govern our lives. This encouraged us to create something which was better suited to our western needs.
What is the advantage over the pure forms of Qi Gong, Tai Chi or Yoga-Asana?
Each of the systems is a world of its own, of which only a little is known about in the West. It can be said that softness in Yoga-Asanas can be found only to a limited degree: mobility and circular movements often do not penetrate into the small joints. Qi Gong is quite gentle, which, rather than concentrating on physical strength, works more inwardly. Tai Chi – as I learned it, seems to have it all, but… Wudang Tai Chi is unique and as such is actually less well-known. The forms are not simple and demand regular practice. You can’t practice one week, then do nothing the next two weeks. AnanDao allows you to practice the essence of these systems and benefit from both worlds.
How can I integrate AnanDao into my life, for example after a retreat? Do I need to take a refresher course? When?
First of all, our retreat should represent a key point in your life, whereby we reawaken your desire for physical exercise. Together with you we will work on discovering how important it is to gather and cultivate inner energy and how you go about doing this. It’s not just a matter of inspiring you with words, there will be perceptible changes. The challenge is to concentrate on one sequence rather than learning everything at once, which would result in you not being able to train anything properly. We support the participants in this. Our first DVD and Online Videos in 2014 have been planned so that you can practice the sequence that meets your individual needs. One should visit a retreat at least once a year. Simply to reassess and establish what is important in life. Where am I physically and emotionally? Lying on the beach for a week is usually not the solution.
Why is AnanDao also good for managers and executives?
During my time as a consultant, I tried to suggest to my clients who operated on an international basis, that they should organise first themselves, then their contractors. Today’s manager has to apply and manage not only himself but also his staff where appropriate. Especially as a manager, it is important to understand one’s own limitations and how one most effectively behaves within these. One makes strong demands on oneself and others and is then very disappointed when these are not fulfilled. Then it is enormously helpful to understand how we function. Only then can managers delegate and support to achieve the desired goals. This theme is intensively trained in the AnanDao manager seminars. It is only briefly referred to at our other retreats and events.
Why should you definitely give AnanDao a try?
It is a system which is tailored to our western needs, but staying true to its origin. This is something we value greatly. There are plenty of scaled-down versions of eastern systems. As soon as you try AnanDao once, it will quickly become clear what you can achieve, how effectively you can improve your daily life and performance.