Kia ora to free tai chi classes, 2017

Women and men as silhouettes doing tai chi.Please note: This is a post from 2017

Free tai chi lessons: Monday 24 and Wednesday 26 July, 6.30pm. Perfect for winter wellness and to build your inner warmth against the cold. 

Do you want to get warm and be fitter and healthier? Do you feel stressed or have trouble sleeping? Maybe you’d love to wave goodbye to the aches and pains of middle-age? If so, then say hello to Kia Ora Tai Chi.

Come along for FREE 45-minute tai chi lessons on Monday 24th and Wednesday 26th July 2017 at 6.30pm, with Jocelyn Watkin, a qualified tai chi instructor, who has been practising tai chi for 15 years. Adults of any age and high school students are all welcome. Join a friendly bunch of people at a great venue, which has lots of free parking.

What to wear: Please wear loose comfortable clothing and flat-soled shoes (such as sneakers, trainers or tennis shoes). Please also bring a drinking bottle of water.

What to expect: The class will begin with a sequence of easy, flowing exercises which are low impact and geWoman doing tai chi on a beach at sunsetntle on your joints. Jocelyn and some of her students will then demonstrate the tai chi form so you can see what it looks like. After that, you can have a go for yourself and learn the first few steps.In just one class, you’ll be doing tai chi. By summer, you could be doing a full tai chi set of moves on the beach.

Longer term, tai chi can help you to improve your fitness, health and balance, reduce stress and lower blood pressure. It is an ancient, Chinese martial art that involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focussed manner and accompanied by deep breathing.

Tai chi is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. If you are unable to stand for very long, Jocelyn is also qualified to teach seated tai chi, which you can do alongside the rest of the class.

Dates/times/pricing: Mondays and Wednesdays in  Manurewa. After the free lessons, a beginners’ class will start on Monday 31 July and Wednesday 2 August 2017 from 6.30 – 7.15pm. Lessons from $9.50 per class. To RSVP, contact Jocelyn: 027 493 9851 or use the Contact Form to get in touch.

For more information:

Success with teaching tai chi to blind students

Silhoutte of figure holding a yin yang ball, with sun beams radiating from figureOver May to June 2017, I led a successful pilot to teach tai chi to four blind and low-vision students. The students were all aged 18 and enrolled in the Kickstart Experience Programme (Kickstart) at the Homai Campus of BLENNZ (Blind, Low Vision Education Network, New Zealand). Homai is a suburb of Manurewa, Auckland.

Student A was blind and the other three (Students B, C and D) were partially sighted. Two were young women and the other two were young men. The teacher and the two residential youth workers involved with Kickstart (the staff) joined the lessons to assist me with any health and safety issues.

Two of the staff and myself observed positive changes by the third lesson with two of the students (A and C) and changes were noticed in all students by the end of the six weeks.

The biggest improvements occurred in the areas of balance, posture, fall prevention and stress management. These changes were noted by observation, rather than by quantitative measures.

At the end of the pilot, the students reported on the effects they had noticed and a sample of their comments is as follows:

  • Student A: I don’t fall down as often.

    Tai chi with the students. The Kia Ora Tai Chi instructor (Jocelyn Watkin) is in the blue shirt.

  • Student B: I’m more relaxed. I’m not stressing.
  • Student C: I can now balance on one leg.
  • Student D: Tai chi helps me to calm down. I sleep so much better on the night after the class.

As an additional benefit, two of the staff also commented on positive changes in themselves as a result of joining in with the tai chi lessons, such as feeling more energised during the class and more relaxed afterwards.

The pilot was successful and it was agreed to continue with the tai chi lessons until the end of Term Two (July 7th) and also for Term Three (26 July to 29 September).

More about the pilot:

I used the Sun-style Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention Programme (the programme) for the 6-week pilot, for which I am certified to teach by the board of the Tai Chi for Health Institute. This programme has been developed by Dr Paul Lam and the Tai Chi for Health Institute to improve balance and posture, strengthen leg muscles and is used extensively for fall prevention. Qigong breathing is an integrated part of the programme and is especially beneficial for overall health, mental relaxation and to manage stress.

During the pilot, all four students learned selected warm-up exercises and the first eight steps of the programme. Student A had 12 one-hour lessons in total over the six weeks: one lesson per week as a 1-on-1 with the instructor and then one 1-hour lesson per week with the other three students (B, C and D).

The purpose of the pilot was to determine if the programme could help the four students with one or more of the following:

  • Balance
  • Posture
  • Fall prevention
  • Stress management
  • Confidence
  • Physical strength and general fitness
  • Flexibility (joints and/or overall movement)
  • Spatial awareness
  • Self-defence

Yin Yang symbol as a happy face

The success of the pilot was attributed to a number of factors, including good preparation, the type of tai chi (Sun-style), the Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention Programme (including qigong), my expertise in tai chi, martial arts and teaching, the support of the Kickstart staff and the willingness of the students to give tai chi a go.


For a copy of the full evaluation of the pilot, please get in touch using the contact form on this website.

An eye with a yin yang symbol superimposed on the eye ball.