In these difficult times, where movement is restricted, it is beautiful to dream of a new journey. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, but our hearts are ready for a new adventure:
Going East 2020:
The path of the herder: a deep dive into mountains, yaks and Qi-work
In September 2020 Rosula Blanc and Pascale Schmied will embark on an expedition through the eastern Alps with two yaks continuing the challenge to cross the integrity of the Alps with a caravan of yaks which Rosula started in 2011 walking from Switzerland down to the Mediterranean. Two months of a nomadic life in unfamiliar territory, finding a way across mountain ranges; facing sun, wind, rain, snow and storms; leading the yaks safely to water and pastures every night, keeping them healthy and willing; deepening the human-animal bond to become one herd, where each individual (animal and human) will find their place to share their full potential. Even though a daring adventure, the main focus of this new episode of the journey is not the athletic challenge for the yaks and their herders but on exploring “the path of the herder”. Rosula and Pascale have both independently lived many years in the far east in their formative years (Rosula in Japan, Pascale in Taiwan) and have studied and practiced for decades different Qi-work. During their travel they intend to follow a daily practice of QiGong and explore how this inner work informs their work with the animals and the life immerged in nature. Yaks as semi-wild animals are very sensitive to energies (physical, emotional, mental, intentional) and most of the guiding and communication happens on an energetic level. Hence the interest to explore this aspect in greater depth, give time to our own inner practice of Qi and observe how this will reflect itself in the outer world. This journey is part of the research initiative on yaks of the Drogpa-Project.
Research proposal: Exploring qi-work in relation to yaks and life immerged in the mountains.
How does energetic (Qi) work influence our perception of the yaks and our communication and interactions with them?
Travel period: from September 10th to the end of October 2020
Itinerary: from the Swiss-Austrian border, district of Landeck, loosely following the “Zentralalpenweg 2A” eastwards through the Austrian Alps to the region of Knittelfeld
Rosula Blanc lived five years in Tokyo as an apprentice of a Japanese Butoh dance company. Back in Europe she did a MA in scenography in London and continued to study QiGong and TaiChi as well as acupuncture and Shiatsu for animals. Rosula lives on a small farm in the Swiss Alps and is known for the pioneering work she does with her yaks. For more than a decade she has led her yaks on treks through the Alps organizing and guiding excursions with clients, but mostly interested in the “dance with the yaks”, the subtle human- animal communication happening when collaborating and cohabiting in a caravan situation. Her work aims at a deeper understanding of the yaks, their ethology and learning behavior, respecting them as conscious beings with a species-specific experience of the world and a unique potential.
Pascale Schmied Pascale is a sinologist and practitioner of Chinese medicine in Sion. She obtained a PhD in Chinese Medicine in 2019 and is a research associate at the Institute of Humanities in Medicine at the University of Lausanne. She has been practicing the arts of Qi for over 20 years (martial arts, Qi Gong, Daoyin, acupuncture) and teaches Daoyin. After ten years of Chinese medicine training and exploration in China and Taiwan, she settled in the Val d'Hérens and met Rosula and her yaks. She loves wilderness, mountains and discovering the world by bike. She cycled between Taiwan and Switzerland in 2014 up to Kazakhstan and then achieved the journey in 2019 with her husband and little son.
Naulekh, yak born in 2012 on the farm of Rosula, is the most motivated and determined yak Rosula ever had. Naulekh has been a “walker” since the first days of his life and already as a young calf accompanying the treks with his mother had a strong desire to walk in front of the herd, something Rosula never observed in any other calf. Naulekh is an athlete with ambition, will, courage, intelligence and a talent to read the land. He loves to take on the challenge to find a path in difficult territory. Naulekh is a real professional, a “no nonsense” yak, he has an immense will to work, but with his intelligence and experience of treks he doesn’t accept weak-minded, hesitant human leaders. He won’t take them seriously and brush them out of the way with his horns when their behavior or decisions don’t make sense to him. In 2019 Rosula went on a one-week solo trek with Naulekh (being alone away from the herd is one of the most difficult and challenging situations for a naturally herd raised yak). This adventure bonded them deeply and opened up a new, more personal layer of the human-animal collaboration to Rosula.
Tsarang, yak born in 2015 on the farm of Rosula, is a “rebellious yak”. His sensitive, wild, independent character was already clearly apparent as a calf. Rosula gave him a lot of time to grow and to find his inner balance and self-assurance. She didn’t force anything on him but waited until he presented himself to be touched and caressed which was only at around two years of age. But having been able to make this decision by himself preserved his dignity and integrity and gave him a lot of self-assurance and inner calm which allows him to be present with a human being in a sweetness, openness and vulnerability which is deeply touching. But he has preserved his wild and highly sensitive nature and will react explosively to things he perceives as wrong or threatening. He is a yak who needs calm, confidence, detachment, clarity and love in a human partner, then he will show his courage, intelligence, power and will to work. Tsarang broke his jaw bone in 2019 and had to be hospitalized which was a very difficult experience for this wild animal, partly traumatizing, but also having him grow immensely and showing a courage and maturity beyond what I had thought he could do. I understand that he has a much bigger capacity than I imagined, but also that his soul needs healing (patience and love) from the intrusive and trapped feelings coming from the experience of hospitalization.
Documentation: The two women will keep a blog about their adventures and observations during the expedition on: www.yakshuloche.ch
Support and sponsoring: This is a self-financed expedition and research project within the framework of the Drogpa-Project. Any financial or material support is very welcomed. Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org