Our names are Kate & Henri Lebedev.
We are most inspired by Eastern Wisdom Arts & Culture.
Cloud Wandering is our lifestyle, company & website that reflects what we do.
How we met...
Destined to meet
We met at an international Buddhist conference in Australia where Henri was presenting "Roots, stem, branches and fruit of Qigong", a culmination of his 3 years of academic rigour, studying Chinese and Asian studies, whilst immersing himself in Qigong.
Kate had been diligently practicing and studying Qigong for years and at the time was undertaking a Masters degree titled "The Effects of Qigong on Stress & Wellbeing". Kate joined the conference as her mother was also a presenter - plus her own interest in Buddhism.
Engaged in 1 month
Naturally we got talking as we were both very dedicated to the internal arts, especially Chinese Energetic Arts.
We soon realised that we are very compatible and heading towards the same direction..
We started training, studying, travelling, learning, walking, talking and having lots of fun together.
We were married within three months of our first meeting!
In search of the "Dao"
The central pillar of our relationship is our spiritual journey through life.
We are both deeply passionate about Asian cultures, Daoism, Buddhism, Yogic studies, Internal and External Martial Arts, Chinese Medicine, Qigong, Neigong, meditation, etc.
We also immerse ourselves in nature, surfing, gardening, hiking, swimming and wandering about both in cities and country sides.
A constant theme of our relationship is finding teachers. Mostly in the areas of Asian Internal Arts, but sometimes in more abstract areas such as ballet, book binding or choir singing.
The strength of our union is a shared destination beyond this life and acceptance of impermanence, knowing that all that has come together, will depart. Luckily, all that departs will come back together : )
Raised by two passionate gardeners who met in Taiwan, one a life-long surfer, the other Jungian Analyst, Kate grew up in a supportive, nourishing and fun environment in Fremantle, Western Australia. Seeing difficulties people faced - from worldly travels to local communities - Kate had an innate drive to help make people’s lives better.
Kate studied nursing, specialising in mental health with the intention to learn the system and enhance it from the inside out. In 2016 Kate travelled to China, finding herself at a little temple in the mountains learning Kung Fu and QiGong - previously unexplored areas. So profound were her experiences with the Eastern Arts, Kate has deeply studied and practiced daily since. Kate has sought and studied under teachers in China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa and Australia, became an internationally qualified QiGong instructor and began a master’s degree titled “The Effects of QiGong on Stress & Wellbeing”.
The Eastern Arts and cultivation practices have given Kate a richer, more colourful and spiritual meaning to her life, which she continues to explore and share with others along the way.
Born is Estonia, Henri got hooked to Daoism since the age of 13 when he read books about Daoist worldview and the story of the sage Qiu Chuji interacting with Gengis Khan.
Due to lack of Eastern Martial Arts, Henri got into boxing, becoming the champion of Estonia at the age of 15.
Henri further ventured to Asia, living years in Thailand, where he also competed professionally as a Thai boxer.
The hard style brute force martial arts gave Henri a good foundation and also a burnout, leading him towards QiGong, TaiJi, Chinese Medicine and rekindling his interest in Daoism, which he so strongly felt in his teenage years.
Henri studied Chinese language and Asian arts in Curtin University and got deeply into doing business with China for several years, acting as a consultant for several big companies in their respective fields, carving pathways to their Asia success. This however caused another sort of a burnout, namely using ones potential and creative force just to make money was not good enough, due to lack of higher purpose. Henri quit his China business and for several years, became a reclusive gardener and QiGong practitioner.
In Australia, we found that people had very little education or understanding of QiGong. As we were both so passionate about QiGong, we wanted to promote the art we had first learned of in China.
To do so, we registered our fist joint venture "Qigong Inc" in Perth, Western Australia.
How we came to "Cloud Wander" in Aotearoa
Arriving to New Zealand
In early 2020 we had been planning to travel to China to further pursue our studies in QiGong and Chinese Medicine amongst other things..
Along came Covid-19, so we swiftly changed our plans and ventured to our neighbouring country, New Zealand. The land is called 'Aotearoa' in the indigenous Māori language, which means 'Land of the Long White Cloud'.
We arrived just before the country went into a complete lockdown, which we fortunately spent in an idyllic farm with 7 horses, 2 cows, 30 sheep, 20 goats and very few humans.
The Internal Arts Academy
Arriving to Aotearoa & Covid-19 coincided with a key milestone in our cultivation path. Namely, one of the leading modern figures in Daoist Internal Arts, Damo Mitchell, launched The Internal Arts Academy.
Previously, we studied with many teachers from China, South-East Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia in a number of different systems.
Damo Mitchell and his teachings have transformed our cultivation path and given us profoundly deeper insights into the potential of these arts. Our other styles have mostly fallen away and we now spend many hours daily practicing in the Internal Arts Academy curriculum and highly recommend it to anyone interested in these arts!
Why "cloud wanderers"?
Since arriving to New Zealand, we have had no fixed abode. Instead, we have enjoyed roaming about the cities, mountains and forests, learning from various teachers and periodically staying in self-imposed retreats.
Our cultivation and skills have increased and deepened and we have come to realise that Qigong is merely a tool in the cultivators toolkit. Being in a new country, we had the opportunity to start from scratch, so instead of "Qigong Inc" we came up with "Cloud Wanderers", which is the tradition that inspires us at this stage of life, as well as our business and website name.
We would certainly not claim ourselves to be high level by any means, mastery is still behind many mountains! However, we are evermore inspired to follow the Way and share some of the drops of knowledge we have acquired from the ocean of wisdom.
"Wandering Like a Cloud" is a Chinese origin tradition, especially present amongst the ancient Daoist cultivators. The idea of "Cloud Wandering" is to have a balanced spiritual cultivation path of "one foot in, one foot out", meaning periodic seclusion for deeper practice between a meaningful life in society.
Chinese character of Dao
The Chinese character of Dao is used in quite a number of ways. It is the main character for many Daoist traditions, which can be philosophical, energetic, meditative and/or religious, all stemming from the shamanic traditions of Asia and especially China. The character Dao is also popularly used in Buddhism, Confucianism & conversational mandarin.
The simple translation of Dao is "path, way, road". The character consists of two parts. Firstly there is Chuò 辶, which means to walk. The second bit is Shǒu 首 which pictures a head. Together, head + walk means path or way.
The head also indicates comprehending the way ahead & being able to stay on the right path so one would not get lost.
Daoism as a tradition is based on observing and listening to oneself (microcosm) and nature (macrocosm). Ancient sages dedicated lifetimes and successive generations in trying to understand who we are and where we are heading, leaving behind time proven methods of internal cultivation, which lead to balanced live and spiritual growth.
Baseides offering a wide range of Events & managing our Silkroads e-commerce platform, we offer a wide range of personal services, listed below.
Qigong Tuition & Exchange
We have studied Qigong since 2013, have met and learnt in person from dozens of teachers, some of with we have studied for many years. We offer Qigong classes & tuition that are suitable for beginners to lay a solid foundation into these arts. For more info, please contact us.
TeaDao Workshops & Ceremonies
We have hosted and served Chinese and Japanese teas in wide array of events. Our first tea project was introducing fine tea to university students when we were still at uni. Since then, we have served tea at workshops, festivals, private functions, business meetings and more.
Permaculture, Gardening & FengShui
We come from homes/parents where growing and eating your own produce was the norm.
We have worked years as professional garden landscapers, are certified in Permaculture Design and furthermore, study FengShui principles.
We combine these in a practical manner to make gardens and homes harmonious, productive, healing and beautiful. Contact for more info!
Chinese Therapeutic Massage
Our Chinese Medicine studies are ongoing, including internal dynamics according to TCM, Qigong therapy, acupuncture, massage, cupping, etc.
At this stage, we are confident to offer our massage service to those in need. We are very in-depth and offer professional service for affordable prices. Contact us for more info.
Yangsheng Seasonal Catering
Diet forms a big part of Chinese Medicine & Daoist energetic studies.
Over the years, we have learnt a lot of wisdom from these arts and utilised many of the seasonal recipes on our own retreats and workshops. We have worked with number of external retreats as chefs and assistant cooks and are well equipped to provide seasonal diet, that is nourishing and balancing. Our speciality is to offer meals and catering for mindfulness, mediation, martial arts retreats & workshops.
Contact us for more info.
E-commerce, Website & Online Development Services
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