This past weekend, I was spending a relaxing fall day with my family in Beijing’s Ditan (地坛 Dìtán) Park when I suddenly happened upon a man demonstrating incredible feats of flexibility to the delight of a growing crowd of onlookers. He had casually walked on the scene in sweats with a yoga mat and a radio playing soft tunes. It quickly became apparent that he wasn’t an ordinary guy as he was contorting his body in many ways that I’d never seen performed in person before, even by many of the best acrobats. Many people would come up and ask him if he was a professional, and he would always reply “I’m just here having fun (我只是随便玩一玩 Wǒ zhǐshì suíbiàn wán yī wán) .” After we approached him, we learned that his name is Wang Hongshan (王鸿山, Wáng Hóngshān), he is sixty years old, worked as a construction worker his whole life and didn’t start practicing Yoga until he was in his early fifties. If he’s only been doing Yoga for eight years, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us! If you’d like to witness his amazing flexibility in person, stop by Ditan Park where he says he trains every afternoon.
Here is an extended video of Wang Hongshan demonstrating his abilities on YouKu.