Magic Wand: An Intimate Lesson On Yu Hezu, The Art Of The Bamboo Wand - Skin Deep

Just half-an-hour’s drive south of Metro Manila, Anya Resort Tagaytay served as the perfect midweek getaway for this “girl group.”

The four pairs consisted of Lexi Schulze Berenguer-Testa and her daughter Alba, Lia Bernardo and Malou Romero Araneta, Corinne and Francine Limsin, as well as Jane Kingsu-Cheng and her seven-year-old daughter Laura fondly nicknamed as Shobe.

They represented every form of feminine bond: motherly, friendly, sisterly, and daughterly.

Though the Tagaytay resort’s 7.2 hectares of greenery and fresh air was more than enough to accommodate all eight guests, they would all end up meeting in the same lounge.

What brought them all together was a singular purpose: the art of the Bamboo Wand.

Common Mode’s Corinne Limsin with sister Francine practice “Twisting the Snake” | Photos by Excel Panlaque of Studio 100

Yu Hezu 101

Although some of the guests had known each other prior to their September meeting at Anya, their most common mutual connection was Mawi Fojas de Ocampo.

Mawi in 2015 founded Yu Hezu Bamboo Wand and Slow Movement Meditation. This was an art that she learned from her guru Salliji in 2008.

This is based on an ancient Chinese tradition originally devised for the Royal Family of China so that only the emperor and his family were allowed to practice it.

The art of the Bamboo Wand, kept secret for thousands of years, would now work its magic into the lives of these eight females.

“Being on the move is one of my greatest joys in life, and this mindset constantly inspires me to try new practices that help me gain a deeper understanding of both my mind and body,” Corinne tells Lifestyle Asia about her positive first impression.

Mom and daughter Lexi and Alba, warming up before the bamboo wand session begins | Photos by Excel Panlaque of Studio 100

Mindful but effortless

Before the session, Mawi briefed the participants about the art’s range of health benefits. These include exercising every muscle in the body, promoting efficient blood circulation, slowing down the aging process, and ultimately prolonging life.

All eight participants, however, would have to learn by doing. Their instructor best described the Bamboo Wand practice as “motion meditation” with its slow and purposeful movements.

The series of 17 gentle and low-impact movements incorporate stretching, twisting, lunging, and bending motions. Names of these movements were derived by observing animals at play, such as “Stretching the Crane” and “Twitching the Dragon’s Tail.”

Mawi would frequently encourage the participants to try the full range of motions without overexerting or hurting themselves.

“Apart from being led by Mawi and her nurturing, calm voice, the movements feel very natural to the human animal when you’re in the thick of it. It’s really after it all that you realize you’ve awakened muscles in your body that have been either dormant…or never used at all until experiencing this beautiful practice,” Lexi opens.

Jane shares the same sentiments: “This was my first time to attend a face-to-face class and it was overwhelming. Mawi’s voice is so soothing, the extra touch essential oils and diffuser add to the relaxing atmosphere, and the new movements helped my ‘dormant’ muscles get moving.”

Jane and her little one, Laura, familiarize themselves with the bamboo wand movements | Photos by Excel Panlaque of Studio 100

Rest and relaxation

Both the experience and the environment were well-received by the Bamboo Wand students.

“It was nice to be in a face-to-face class surrounded by fresh air and nature. I felt revived and revitalized yet calm and relaxed,” Lia praises.

Similarly, Corinne said the experience allowed her to recognize the significance of slowing down and living in the moment. She particularly mentioned how the rest periods in between movements gave her the time to become more mindful and attentive to where her body was at in that exact moment.

“It is not common for me to slow down. I have always been accustomed to the thought of completing tasks quickly as the basis for being productive. However, this practice made me realize how even the smallest of movements can be more purposeful than going ‘all out.’ I would love to practice and explore how I could apply this in other aspects of my life,” Corinne reflects.

In fact, the said participant provided everyone with custom-made activewear from her business Common Mode. The brand will soon launch its new collection in October in time for its one-year anniversary.

De Ocampo leads the class through slow movement meditation | Photos by Excel Panlaque of Studio 100

Soul sisters

Most importantly, the participants were able to make new memories within the group and with their respective partners.

“Malou is also a close personal friend, so of course experiencing this with her made the event more fun. And it felt like a friend getaway,” Lia expresses.

Malou Araneta and Lia Bernardo practice “Sunrise, Sunset” | Photos by Excel Panlaque of Studio 100

Lexi also said she was beyond thrilled to be able to share the experience with her oldest daughter Alba.

“Not only is she one of my favorite human beings on the planet. But I’ll have to send her off to University soon—so quality time spent will be fewer and further between. Though I’m dreading the impending distance between us, I’m so excited to watch her spread her wings from the sidelines. Watching her do the movements was quite beautiful to witness, actually. The child’s a dancer, so the twists, turns, and limb lifts seemed to come so naturally to her,” Lexi imparts.

Meanwhile, Jane shares, “My daughter…is only 7 years old. And as Mawi suggested, she doesn’t have to join the whole session. So what I did was encourage her to join some movements that I think she would enjoy. And she did and did so well. Our favorite? The panda roll!”

“The Tiger Springs” | Photos by Excel Panlaque of Studio 100

Lastly, Corinne was most glad about being able to cherish the experience with her sister, Francine.

“Spending the Bamboo Wand class with my sister made my overall experience even more memorable. As it highlighted how valuable the practice was not only for our physical but as well as our mental well-being. I knew that her presence would help me feel at ease in the new environment we were in. And that the lessons we’ve gained would strengthen our relationship as we create more memories together in the future,” Corinne concludes.

“Greeting the Traveler” | Photos by Excel Panlaque of Studio 100

Connect with Mawi Fojas de Ocampo on Instagram (@livemindfullyph). For inquiries about Anya Resort Tagaytay visit or email [email protected]. To know more about Common Mode reach out to them on Instagram (@commonmodeph).

Photos by Excel Panlaque of Studio 100.

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