Free tai chi, Huia Lodge Late event, Fri 15 Mar 2024

Beautiful Edwardian buildings in a park at sunset.

Huia Lodge Discovery Hub, Cornwall Park

The Huia Lodge Discovery Hub, in beautiful Cornwall Park, is staying open late on Friday 15 March 2024, and everyone is invited!

Energize your body and soul at this FREE Huia Lodge Late event from 5 – 7pm. I’ll be part of vibrancy with my rejuvenating, 15-minute tai chi drop-in sessions during the evening.

Join me on Friday 15 March to shake off the week’s stress so you can embrace a fun evening with lots of other activities, performances and exhibitions.

Location: Huia Lodge Discovery Hub next to the Cornwall Park Bistro (the old tea kiosk).

Address: Michael Horton Drive, Cornwall Park, Auckland 1051. Refer to Google street map: https://maps.app.goo.gl/m85TZUQmcFVPQVZC7

If you are coming to the park with a vehicle, the parking closest to the Huia Lodge Discovery Hub is ONLY accessible from the Greenlane Road West entrance to the park.

The event is organised by the park’s events team. You don’t need to book or register. This event is FREE. Just come, bring whānau and friends and enjoy the fun.

Rain date: Friday 22 March 2024, 5 – 7pm

Find out more

Free summer tai chi from January to March 2024

FREE tai chi and qigong sessions with Jocelyn Watkin and/or another instructor from Kia Ora Tai Chi will be held (weather dependent) in Cornwall Park (in Auckland) every Sunday morning, 9am, and Tuesday evening, 6pm. Starting on Sunday 21 January and finishing on Tuesday 26 March 2022.

These sessions are free for anyone and are suitable for all ages and abilities. Beginners will be very welcome.

Dates and times:

  • Starting Sunday 21 January 2024, 9 – 9.45am and every Sunday morning until 24th March 2024 (weather permitting)
  • Starting Tuesday 23 January 2024, 6 – 6.45pm and every Tuesday evening until 26th March 2024 (weather permitting).

Location in the park: Same as in previous years. If coming into the park from Greenlane Road West, you’ll be on Pōhutukawa Drive (the main road into the park). The tai chi sessions will be under the trees on the left-hand-side about half-way up Pōhutukawa Drive. (If you get to the roundabout, you’ve gone too far.)

Registration is not required, just show up 5 -10 minutes before each session starts.

As all of the sessions are outdoors, the weather needs to be on our side to go ahead. If you are uncertain on whether the session will be held you can:

I can’t wait to see everyone again who attended in previous years and also to meet anyone new, who would love to try tai chi and qigong this summer.

Curious about tai chi and qigong? Find out more here: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/tai-chi/

A big thank you to founder of the park, Sir John Logan Campbell, for his gift of Cornwall Park to the people of Auckland. Also, huge thanks to the Cornwall Park Trust Board, which administers his legacy and provides funding for these sessions so you can attend for free.

2023: Good things happened with Kia Ora Tai Chi

2023 has had many challenges but also much to celebrate and be thankful for.

January to March 2023: Record attendance at summer tai chi and qigong in Cornwall Park 
353 participants attended over 17 sessions, making last summer (my 6th in the park) my best ever. This was despite having to cancel six lessons due to rain, more rain, and then a big cyclone.

Over six summers, I have now introduced the delights and health benefits of tai chi and qigong to a total 1,352 participants.

Special thanks to Barry, Juliana and Pauline for your valuable help as co-instructors in the park.

All are welcome to attend the 2024 season of free summer tai chi and qigong in Cornwall Park. Ideal for beginners of all ages and abilities. Details in this link: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/free-tai-chi/ 

Snow Rabbit/Lotus Qigong became a hot favourite in 2023

This was going to be a ‘oncer’ in Cornwall Park for the Lunar/Chinese New Year in February.

However, attendees became so entranced by the lovely, flowing movements and the charming narrative about the little snow rabbit dreaming of Spring, that they always requested it at each session in the park. The delight of Snow Rabbit Qigong has spread to all of my other classes.

2024 will be the Year of the Dragon and there’s lots of scope to teach a form of dragon qigong. I can’t wait!

Spinning and twirling in 2023

In March, I teamed up with SpinPoi, Cornwall Park and the Re-Creators team for a free, zero-waste poi making workshop and SpinPoi lesson.

What a fantastic collaboration! The team from Re-Creators showed all attendees how to make poi from reclaimed t-shirts and wool stuffing for every part of the poi. Excess scraps were incorporated back in, to make this a truly zero-waste activity.

At the event, people of all ages and abilities jumped at the chance to make a set of poi. As soon as each person and/or family group finished their creations I was there to show them how to spin, twirl and swing their poi.

Check out video of this really fun event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aT4tQ0cqLVQ

Later in 2023, I upgraded my SpinPoi qualification and taught SpinPoi to a group of adults with autism.

I was also honoured to be appointed (one of three) to the global Lead Instructor Team for SpinPoi. My area of expertise on this team is the kaupapa/principles of teaching.

April and May 2023: TV stars with my tai chi group at Acacia Cove Retirement Village

Myself and several of my older students at Acacia had the opportunity to trial a new app for fall prevention, called Nymbl. This app supports the important skill of dual-tasking by getting you to do combo of movement and quizzes (that’s the dual-tasking bit), which in turn helps you to improve your balance.

We were featured twice on TV3 about our experiences with Nymbl and you can watch here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnE5yhzFI1Q  (There might be an annoying advertising clip at the start. Just click “Skip Ad” as soon as you get the chance to do so.)

Here are the links to download the Nymbl app, which is free for use in New Zealand, as it is funded for all New Zealanders by he Accident Compensation Commission (ACC):

You can find out more about the Nymbl app here: https://fallsfree.co.nz/

May 2023: Vantastic Vanuatu

My 1st ever international tai chi and qigong retreat was twelve months in the planning and then three years of postponements during the global pandemic. In May this year, we finally made it to the aptly named Paradise Cove Resort, in Vanuatu. The wait was definitely worth it.

I taught the magical 5-Element Qigong, with a deep dive into the elements of Earth, Fire, Wood, Water and Metal. I was blown away with how the participants responded to this and what they wrote in their journals. We also ‘dived’ into the health-boosting 12 Rivers Qigong.

There was plenty of time for diving into other activities, too, such as snorkeling in the calm lagoon at the resort’s beach, and outings to real rivers (not just rivers of qigong) and waterfalls. Can you imagine swimming up to and under a waterfall? Totally awesome.

Thank you to the very special people who never gave up hope that we’d finally get to Vanuatu and who made this retreat so wonderful: Juliana, Fran, Kevin, Sarah, Caroline, Constance and Marc.

June 2023: A new beginners class

Our usual evening class venue suddenly became unavailable at the start of the year. After waiting several months in the hope that we could get back there, we eventually settled permanently into a different venue.

This meant I could finally start a new evening class for beginners. I now have 20 ‘newbies’, who are keen and enthusiastic (and also addicted to Snow Rabbit Qigong).

Thank you to Ned for your help in finding our permanent “home” in Clendon, Manurewa. When compared with our previous venue it is so much better – warmer in winter, with brighter lighting and a better car park. Find out more about my evening classes here: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/classes/

July 2023: Matariki and Mindfulness Month

Thank you for your help, support and donations during Mindfulness Month in July, which helped me to raise nearly $400 towards the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand.

As well as daily, mindful activities during the month, I donated my teaching time for three mindful sessions of tai chi, qigong and restorative journaling during Matariki as a fund-raiser for the foundation. With other volunteers, we collectively raised over $55,000 for the foundation during Mindfulness Month.

Thank you so much everyone. Your generosity means that more New Zealanders will be able to get help with their mental health.

I plan to be part of Mindfulness Month again in 2024.

September 2023: Doing tai chi in the home of tai chi – China

Photo: Jocelyn in the centre of the photo, wearing red shirt and red shoes

I had an unexpected trip to China in September on a family matter. While I was in Honghu City (in Hubei Province), I was invited to join a local tai chi group for their training session.

For many years, I have been taught an ancient form of tai chi that is not common in China today. When I demonstrated that style of tai chi to the group in Honghu City, I received a completely unexpected invitation to come back and teach that form of tai chi to the group.

Once I was back in Aotearoa/NZ, I talked about this experience with my advanced students, and they’re keen to explore the idea of a visit to China. Of course, all of my students (including beginners) will be welcome, should I organise such a trip.

I keep in touch with the sifu (instructor) of that group. He is very encouraging about me returning to Honghu City. At this stage, we have set a provisional date of April 2025 for a group of my students to accompany me. There is a lot to do and think about before then and I’ll keep you posted.

Throughout 2023: Earth Art –  the art of letting go and coping with change

Earth art (also known as earth altars) are temporary art installations / designs / mandalas made from foraged leaves, flowers, shells, etc, that have fallen from trees or been released by the sea.

Over 2023, I explored how these installations can help with managing stress and change.

When practiced regularly, tai chi and qigong can be very effective for reducing stress. When combined with earth art, the stress relief is even greater.

Creating “art that doesn’t last” and then letting the wind, rain, time and tide change and reclaim it, helps us to understand and accept that change and impermanence is normal in the circle of life.

I am considering how best to offer a session on earth art with you in 2024.

Final words for 2023
Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me over 2023 and particularly:

  • Barry Vodanovich, for being my co-teacher both at Cornwall Park and also for my evening classes. He is our tai chi cane form master and many of you have learned this amazing tai chi form from him.
  • Grant Williams, for attending frequently and also helping as an assistant teacher.
  • Pat James, for leading the Acacia group in practice sessions when I couldn’t attend.
  • My lovely husband, Ken, who attends every evening class, puts the tables and chairs away, lugs my charts and posters from and back to the car, checks the attendance register, is the appointed fire warden, and who also accompanies my students back to their cars at the end of class, including lighting their steps with a torch in winter.

Lastly, all of you for attending my classes, workshops, retreats and sessions, for keeping in touch with texts and emails, for reading my e-newsletters and giving me such positive feedback; and for telling me how much you love tai chi and qigong.

Free summer tai chi in Cornwall Park, Jan – March 2023

Free tai chi and qigong with me every Sunday morning (9am) and Tuesday evening (6pm) in Cornwall Park from Sunday 15 January until Tuesday 28 March 2023. All sessions are outdoors so are weather dependent.

Ideal for beginners of all ages and abilities, particularly those seeking a calming and nurturing exercise experience that is also effective for fitness and balance.

The linked postures and steps of tai chi, along with deep, meditative breathing (called qigong), are designed to improve your overall health and can also strengthen leg and core muscles.

Tai chi and qigong are good for your body as well as your mind and are helpful at reducing stress.

These 45-minute sessions in Cornwall Park and are free, fun and suitable for all ages and abilities, especially beginners. You are most welcome to invite family, friends and colleagues to join in.

Summer Tai Chi in the Park sessions are funded by the Cornwall Park Trust Board so you can all attend for free.

Here is all of the information you need:

  • Where are the sessions? In Cornwall Park about halfway up Pōhutukawa Drive and under the trees to the left of the road. (Same place as previous years).
  • Directions for those who haven’t attended before:  Drive, cycle or walk into Cornwall Park from Greenlane Road West. That entry road is called Pōhutukawa Drive. My tai chi sessions will be about halfway up Pōhutukawa Drive on the left-hand-side and under the trees. Look for me and my instructors in our red Kia Ora Tai Chi shirts. If you get to the roundabout you’ve gone past us. Refer to the park’s visitor information website for a park map: Cornwall Park visitor info 
  • Days and times: Sunday mornings at 9am (we’ll be there from 8.45am) and Tuesday evenings at 6pm (we’ll be there from 5.45pm).
  • How long are the sessions? 45 minutes
  • What to bring: Water bottle, a sun hat/sun block and wear comfy clothing and footwear.
  • If rainy or when there are high winds: Look for the cancellation notice on the Kia Ora Tai Chi Facebook page: www.facebook.com/kiaorataichi/ or text me on 027 493 9851. Or you can check with the park’s visitor centre (the Huia Lodge Discovery Hub, open 7 days from 10am – 4pm) https://cornwallpark.co.nz/contact
  • More information: https://cornwallpark.co.nz/summer-events-programme-2022-23

I would so love to see you under those lovely shady trees in the park. I will teach a number of exciting and different tai chi and qigong forms as the sessions progress and until the last one on Tuesday 28 March.

As well as my tai chi and qigong sessions, there are lots of other free activities in the park. Check out my SpinPoi session in the park on Saturday 18 February. Find out more in this link:  https://cornwallpark.co.nz/uploads/logos/Summer-Events-2002-2023-Web.pdf

Find out more

Free qigong, 3rd – 7th Oct 2022

Man holding a ball of energy and standing on one leg If you’d like to stress less and live best, then the FREE Triple 5 qigong challenge is for you.

What is the challenge? Just five minutes of qigong per day for five days in a row from Monday 3 October to Friday 7 October, 2022.

You’ll learn five calming qigong movements (one per day) from me and you’ll practice each one for five minutes per day. I’ll be with you all of the way with pre-recorded, “how to” videos and encouragement. Did I mention all of this is free?

What is qigong? It is a mindful, meditative exercise programme with deep breathing. The practice originated in China thousands of years ago and has many proven health benefits.

Who am I? I’m Jocelyn Watkin and I’m a qualified qigong instructor.

This is how the Triple 5 will work:

  • It will start on Monday 3 October and run for five consecutive days.
  • Each day, I’ll email you a link to a 5-minute YouTube video of me showing you a qigong movement, which will help you to reduce stress and improve your overall health. I’ll also upload the daily video onto the Kia Ora Tai Chi facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/kiaorataichi
  • You have a go at this qigong by following me in the video at least once that day and for at least five minutes. As the video is pre-recorded, you can watch it anytime in the 24 hours of that day and, if you wish, you can hit the replay button as often as you want.
  • Each day, you’ll respond with just one word or 1 – 2 sentences telling me how that day’s qigong felt to you. You can do this by emailing or texting me, or writing in the comment box on the Facebook post in which the video appears.
  • That’s it.

If you’re keen on the Triple 5 qigong challenge, please use the Contact Form to provide me with your email address no later than Monday 3 October so I can email you the links to each daily video.

Wait there’s more…
If you do the five minutes of qigong per day, and then email me or comment on the Kia Ora Tai Chi Facebook page with at least one word per day about your qigong experience, then I’ll put your name in a draw for a FREE one-on-one, 1-hour qigong session with me online.

What sort of qigong will you be doing? Gentle, healing qigong movements so you can stress less and live best by:

  • Clearing your head and centering your body.
  • Releasing your neck and shoulder tension.
  • Reducing strain and pain in your wrists and fingers.
  • Resting and refreshing your tired eyes.
  • Strengthening your legs and muscles.
  • Improving your balance.

Can beginners join in? Yes, absolutely. Please invite family, whānau, friends and colleagues to join in. It is free for everyone and as it is online, it doesn’t matter where you live in the world or what time zone you’re in.