A short practice at Banos Arabe in Ronda
Arab hammams have their origin in the Roman bath with a similar layout: the first room after entering is the reception area and from here the temperature progressively gets warmer as one moves towards to the furnace on the other end; the first room is for the cold and hot pools, followed by the massage room(where this video was filmed, the steam room, and then the furnace where hot water and steam are generated.
The Banos Arabe in Ronda was built by the Moors(the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula) in the 11th-12th centuries, and is considered the best-preserved Moorish bathhouse in Spain. The bath is located right below the old city gate to provide a place for incoming travelers to cleanse the body before entering the city, a ceremonial overture before praying.
This video is a short version of my daily practice during the month-long visit to Andalusia. I tried to do my practice at around 8 in the morning just before sunrise and lasted no more than 20-30 minutes. The main purpose was primarily to establish a good energy level for the day, occasionally I would do an even shorter and gentler practice after a long day of walking.
The practice begins with the “Reset” movement from Calligraphy Health (a practice taught by Zhen Hua Yang), which has been my favorite “jumping point” for the practice because it is both uplifting as well as grounding. The upward movement is straight at the beginning but spreads sideways at the chest level, and zigzagging upwards from the shoulders until the palms join above the head.
After the “reset” is the spine movement (a sequence of movement to mobilize the spine in its 8 directions), which has been in my daily practice ever since I learned it from Simon Borg-Olivier in 2014.
The next set of movements is “figure 8”, an asymmetrical core movement involving the whole body. This “figure 8” is one of the most “natural” movements for the body so there is no invention here. It is born out of a pair of spinal forward and backbends initiated from the core but involves only one shoulder to allow a freer range of motion.
The practice ends with another sequence of spinal movement but this time incorporates the previous “figure 8” patterns.
Each of these movements can be expanded in terms of dimension and dynamic, to a practice of its own.
I will be posting more videos of various lengths, filmed in different locations during my recent travel in Europe, so stay tuned!