June 2023 (during Matariki).
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Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars, which is also known as the Pleiades. It is a perfect time for reflection and for learning how to plan and prepare for a new start
If you’re ready to open your heart to the universe and embrace the life you really want then join me for Matariki Magic, an out-of-this-world tai chi and journaling mini retreat at Auckland’s awesome Stardome.
How fantastic would it be to navigate into a new orbit where you had more time to do the things you love with the people you love?
Many of us have revised our life priorities but are not sure where to start or how to make them happen. This is your opportunity to create a New You for the New Year (Matariki).
Can you imagine how good it would feel to know how to navigate to a new and balanced universe? Let the countdown begin! At this mini retreat, you’ll learn how to use a journal to focus your thoughts.
After the retreat, you’ll be able to use this journal to free yourself from uncertainty and indecision so it will be easier to make the changes you want, such as special times with your whānau and friends, or more ‘me time’ or to shine bright and warm like a sun in your own solar system.
Can you envisage the relief to finally escape from the black hole of doubt, anxiety and frustration. Absolutely, positively YES.
Through the booster rocket that is tai chi and deep oxygen-rich breathing (called qigong), you’ll learn how to avoid the gravitational force of stress and regret about missed opportunities.
After the retreat, you’ll know how to create a peaceful state for thinking so you can rebalance your mind and body and redirect your trajectory to the life you want – a new home “planet”.
Testimonial: “I had forgotten how delicious peacefulness is.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)
Wouldn’t it be fabulous to enjoy a feeling of weightlessness and without worry as you fall into a delectable, deep slumber every night? Do you fancy a full night’s sleep without tossing, turning or ‘brain churning’ about how to live the life of your dreams? Don’t just daydream about it. Through guided tai chi meditation you will learn how to empty your mind and say good night to frustration and anxiety so you can wake up refreshed and ready for anything, every morning.
How fulfilling would it be to feel mindful and connected, instead of a lone star adrift in a starless night? Infinitely satisfying. You’ll be treated to a live, cosmic experience at the planetarium and a Matariki kōrero (talk) under the planetarium stars.
You’ll discover more about ngā whetū (the stars), ngā aorangi (the planets) and the rich traditions of Matariki from a Māori perspective. You’ll be enthralled by the many stories written in our night skies passed down from generation to generation.
After the retreat, you’ll be able to look up on any night and feel deeply connected, calm and in harmony with the entire universe.
Testimonial: “The mini-retreat was awesome, very informative and helpful. The presentation was carefully thought through on how to achieve the peace and calm needed in our daily lives.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)
Date: TBA June 2023 (during Matariki)
Venue: Stardome Observatory & Planetarium (This retreat is organised by Kia Ora Tai Chi, not the Stardome itself.)
Address: 670 Manukau Road, One Tree Hill Domain, Royal Oak, Auckland. Refer to map
Places are limited to just 10 participants.
Please get in touch if you’d like to kōrero (talk more) about this mini retreat or to RSVP.
Who is the instructor?
Jocelyn Watkin helps people of all ages and abilities to reduce stress and improve their overall health, fitness and balance with tai chi and qigong.
She is the founder and director of Kia Ora Tai Chi. She has extensive experience in teaching face-to-face or online for regular weekly classes, workshops and retreats, at schools, a medical centre and a retirement village.
Jocelyn has a New Zealand Diploma of Teaching, is a qualified journalist and has trained in martial arts for over 25 years, specialising solely in tai chi and qigong since 2003.
Testimonial: “I really enjoyed your style, Jocelyn. Friendly, caring, informative and non-judgemental. You made me feel relaxed and welcome. Thank you.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)
What is Matariki?
Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars, which is also known as the Pleiades. It is the perfect time for reflection and for learning how to plan and prepare for a new start.
This star cluster rises in midwinter and according to the Maramataka (Māori lunar calendar), its appearance brings the old lunar year to a close and heralds the start of a new one. Hence, Matariki is associated with the Māori New Year. Iwi (tribes) across New Zealand understand and celebrate Matariki in different ways and at different times.
Cultural traditions also vary but the key themes of Matariki include:
- Remembering and acknowledging the past, including our tipuna/ancestors.
- Celebrating life and connections to whānau/family and community.
- Sharing knowledge and learning/also preparing for the year ahead and the future.
Matariki is visible to the naked eye from most parts of the world, and has many different names. In English, it is called the Pleiades (its ancient Greek name) or the Seven Sisters. The Hawaiian name is Makali‘i, or ‘eyes of royalty’, and in Japan it is Subaru, meaning ‘gathered together’.
Who is this mini retreat for?
It will be ideal for anyone aged 18+ who is seeking a new start and better life/work balance. High school students younger than 18, who want guidance on ways to consider future options and help to reduce stress during the school year can attend for half price if accompanied by a full price adult.
All abilities are welcome as the tai chi and qigong can be done seated or standing.
Testimonial: “Jocelyn [of Kia Ora Tai Chi] makes tai chi such an enjoyable experience! She makes everyone feel welcome, no matter what age or level of experience. I love Jocelyn’s humour and her patience too. Tai chi has helped me focus on my breathing and posture. I feel invigorated after each session.” (Cynthia, February 2020)
What’s included in the mini retreat?
- You will learn Tai Chi for Meditation, Harmony and Balance, which is powerful yet gentle on your joints. After the retreat, you’ll be able to do this tai chi at anytime to reduce stress, create a peaceful state for thinking and to rebalance both your mind and body.
- Journaling to calm and focus your mind so you make the changes you want to get more out of life.
- The countdown method to mindfulness. Easy to remember whenever you need it.
- A journal that you can take home and keep using after the retreat.
- A live, cosmic experience at the planetarium.
- Tea, coffee and snacks.
- Free parking at the Stardome and/or in One Tree Hill Domain.
- Meeting new friends
Testimonial: “Jocelyn is very well prepared and organised. What she talked about was well explained and easy to understand. She is personable and caring.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)
Please get in touch if you have questions or if you’d like to kōrero (talk more) about this mini retreat.
What is tai chi and qigong and why are they so good for you?
Often described as “moving meditation”, tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art and exercise programme that combines mental focus with deliberate, mindful steps and postures. It is sometimes referred to as “taiji” or “tai chi chuan”.
The kaupapa (underlying principle) of tai chi is Yin & Yang. These are two opposite and contrary forces in nature, which become interconnected and interdependent. An example would be night turning to day, followed by day turning to night. They work together in harmony and one can’t exist without the other.
Tai chi uses the natural balance of Yin & Yang in all movements. E.g. where there is forward step, there is also a backward one. If you move to one side, then you will also move to the other. In doing so, your body remains equally balanced as it smoothly moves from one step to the next, which doesn’t stress your joints.
Tai chi also works in harmony with your sympathetic nervous system (the fight, flight or freeze reflex). If you’re feeling tired or down, tai chi will boost and lift you. If you’re upset or anxious, it will help you to become calmer and more tranquil.
Qigong (pronounced ‘chee – gong’) is a deep breathing exercise. It is designed to calm your mind, rejuvenate your energy and increase your oxygen flow right down to your smallest fingers and toes. It will warm your hands and feet and will help you to feel good all over your body. Find out more
Numerous clinical trials have confirmed that tai chi taught specifically for health, which also includes deep breathing (the qigong) will improve your overall health and fitness by:
- Decreasing stress.
- Improving balance.
- Increasing strength, fitness and flexibility.
- Better breathing (more oxygen in your body).
- Decreasing pain in your joints.
- Helping to reduce high blood pressure.
- Increasing your sense of well-being.
What is journaling?
What if there really was a magic wand to re-write your past, your present and future?
Writing in a journal (also known as journaling) can help you to process and understand what is happening in your life.
Using your pen as a ‘magic wand’ will assist you to develop a plan of action. You will reduce frustration and anxiety, free yourself from uncertainty and indecision and take back the control of your thoughts and your life.
It can help you to overcome the overwhelm and create new habits to lasting change and freedom.
Jocelyn learned about the power of journaling when recovering from post traumatic stress nearly 25 years ago.
Testimonial: “Jocelyn was very relatable because quite often what was being taught had been used by her in real life.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)
What will I need to bring?
- A mask that is easy and comfortable to wear for the duration of this mini-retreat (nearly 7 hours), including for the planetarium show. Short outdoor breaks will be provided during the day for those wanting to remove their masks for a few moments.
- Pen and paper or your lap top to take notes.
- A filled water bottle
- Something you’d like to eat during the short dinner break at around 6.30pm.
- Comfortable, flat shoes for tai chi.
- A hoodie, cardigan, jacket or similar warm clothing as there may be the chance to do the tai chi sessions outside, if it is not raining or too windy. In addition, the planetarium is air-conditioned, which could feel overly cold to some.
- Tai chi can be done in almost any clothing but is best in something loose-fitting and casual. You are welcome to bring a set of comfy clothes to change into if you are coming straight from work.
Why is the retreat on a Friday afternoon and evening and not a weekend?
A vital part of what you will learn at the mini-retreat is how to make time for the activities you most want to do and for the people you love. Scheduling the retreat on what is traditionally a work day is a perfect first step for you to arrange time off for something worthwhile. You would make time for health care, as in a doctor or dental appointment, so why not for this Matariki Magic mini retreat? With a 1.45pm start time, those working will only need a half-day of leave.
Please get in touch if you have questions or if you’d like to kōrero (talk more) about this mini retreat.
What is your COVID-19 policy?
We will abide by the NZ Government’s health advice and regulations in June and also those required by the management of the Stardome Observatory & Planetarium. Jocelyn has been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, including with two boosters. It is likely that all participants in this mini-retreat will need to wear a mask for all of the indoor sessions. Hand sanitiser will be provided.
Participant numbers are limited to 10 people.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.
Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.
And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.
It matters that you don’t just give up.” – Professor Stephen Hawking