Hot ‘n’ Healthy with The Hutong

This June we ran our very first wellness week in Beijing. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect a group of 18 teenagers to have such positive attitudes about reaching their health potential!

We kicked off the week with a Massage Crash Course at The Hutong. We were particularly impressed that so many of the boys were so enthusiastic and keen to try out more techniques. And it was heartening to see everyone practising their newly-learned massage techniques throughout the week.

Next, we moved up to our rooftop terrace overlooking the surrounding hutongs and traditional siheyuan courtyards. Here the students were shown the ingredients we’d prepared for their lunch and then tasked to design their own recipes. Needless to say, our Chef-Nutritionist was impressed by the combination of ingredients and creativity of our Hot ‘n’ Healthy students!

Cooking Class

Our Chef-Nutritionist worked with the students to cook their first Hot ‘n’ Healthy meal, honing their Chinese cleaver knife skills and introducing them to the basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine culinary concepts.

Cooking Class

The day didn’t end there. We then made our way to the nearby Temple of Earth for an outdoor yoga session. For many students it was their first yoga experience and we were amazed to see a couple of solid yoga handstands in the group!


Finally, to wrap up day 1 we went to a local restaurant hidden in the hutongs for some Yunnan cuisine. It was great to see the students enjoying authentic Chinese food!


The next morning we woke up to blue skies and sunshine for a pre-breakfast Qigong session. It probably wasn’t easy for everyone to be up and about in the early morning as most of us are used to trudging out of bed straight to the breakfast table. But later that evening we learnt about how the right morning routines can be very beneficial in ensuring a good night’s sleep.

We then made our way to the biggest park in Beijing for a full day of outdoor hot ‘n’ healthy activities including Heyrobics (which was an all-round favourite!), an improv workshop, and some downtime to enjoy nature.


With Heyrobics students learnt that a good workout can be serious fun rather than serious pain. Improv demonstrated the benefits of laughter on health, as well as the notion that looking at situations with an open perspective can help to unlock surprising results.

In the afternoon we headed back to The Hutong for a cooking workshop – our students divided into three smaller groups to prepare and present a dish to the rest of the group for their dinner. There were smiles all round and it was great to see the students taking pride in the dishes they’d prepared.

We finished off day 2 with a sleep workshop where we were just blown away at how engaged the students were in. The lively discussion and endless questions about how to manage their day in order to improve their sleep was enlightening for students, and heartwarming for us as health advocators to see young people genuinely care about their lifestyle.

For our final 2 days we took to the great outdoors of Beijing for camping, hiking and water rafting. Despite the weather gods deciding to rain on our parade, the students were troopers. With spirits high and positive attitudes we all carried on hiking, crossing streams and clambering over rocks. We made the most of the opportunity to share with students how to cope and still have a great time when things don’t go according to the original plan.


From day one we were impressed by how committed the students were to advocating for their own health. From qigong to yoga, healthy meals and Heyrobics, the students gave everything a go and most of all they proved to themselves that being healthy can be fun.


It was not only their commitment to physical health that impressed us (many students favouring fresh fruit over chocolate treats – a first for us!). Several students showed a level of self awareness that would rival many adults, and a willingness to challenge and expand their boundaries.

Hot 'n' Healthy

We have a feeling this won’t be our last health and wellness program!