Qigong retreat on Great Barrier Island, November 2022

Discover your power to live well: A retreat to rebalance and rejuvenate body, soul and strength with sensory, sacred qigong and restorative journaling.

This retreat is for anyone aged 18+ who is seeking ways to improve their own health, self-healing and well-being and/or wants to de-stress and have a better life/work balance.

Where: Aotea / Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, Auckland

When: Friday 11 to Sunday 13 November 2022 (3 days/2 nights)

The last two years have been hard on us all and things are still uncertain. Many of us have revised what we now want from life but are not sure where to start or how to make this happen.

If you feel a little lost, flat or frustrated with not knowing what steps to take, or you want to know more about self-healing and how to boost your health, this heavenly retreat under the stars will help you to find peace and purpose.

Join qigong for health instructor, Jocelyn Watkin, on Aotea/Great Barrier Island, one of only 15 International Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the whole world. Gaze upward to the stars, move with intention, breathe the fresh sea air, immerse yourself in nature and discover your power to live well.

Yin Yang symbol with stars

Sensory, sacred Qigong (pronounced ‘chee – gong’)

How magical would it be to have the key for greater health and wellness? Absolutely, you too can enter this enchanted place. At this retreat, you’ll learn the ancient art of qigong so you can unlock the knowledge on how to improve your own health, self-healing and well-being.

Stress relief

What if you had a dimmer switch so you didn’t have to be ‘on’ or stressed most of the time? There really is such a thing and it’s within your reach. Through the mindful breathing of qigong and meditation on this retreat, you’ll learn how to dial down the stress so you can rebalance and restore yourself.

Restorative journaling

Woman thinking while holding a penImagine if you could create an island of calm within you to weather the storms of life? This tranquil isle is just waiting to be discovered by you. Through the power of restorative journaling you will build your confidence to safely navigate the storms and into sunny skies.

How good would it feel to finally be on the right path to the life and health you want? Very liberating! Unleash your power to live well at this restorative retreat on the island sanctuary of Aotea/Great Barrier.

Testimonial: “The 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: Friday 11 November to Sunday 13 November 2022 (2 nights/3 days)

Venue: Aotea / Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, Auckland. Places are limited to just 10 participants.

Please note: For the health of everyone, face masks will need to be worn during all indoor group sessions on the retreat, including on the plane to Great Barrier Island and our mini bus while on the island.

Please get in touch if you’d like to kōrero (talk more) about this retreat.

What’s included in this retreat:

  • Several immersive sessions to learn the movements and about the healing power of qigong and tai chi. After the retreat, you’ll be able to do these meditative movements at anytime to improve your health and well-being. Face masks will need to be worn in all group activity sessions that are indoors.
  • Organ meridian charts, which you can take home after the retreat
  • Mindful breathing and meditation to dial down the stress and create a peaceful state to rebalance and restore your mind, body and soul.
  • Restorative journaling sessions to calm and focus your mind so you can choose the way you experience life no matter how life shows up.
  • A journal that you can take home and keep using after the retreat.
  • A live, stargazing, dark sky experience with a local guide. For the best viewing, this will take place before the moon rises. You’ll be able to lean back in your comfortable moon chair, have constellations drawn in the sky while you enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or herbal tea and be wowed with fascinating astronomical facts. You’ll be able to look through a powerful telescope to get up-close and personal with special stars and deep sky objects. After the retreat, you’ll be able to stargaze on any night and feel deeply connected, calm and in harmony with the entire universe.
Group of people looking up at the stars

A Dark Sky Sanctuary viewing experience with a local guide

  • Tai chi and qigong in the moonlight with the soothing lunar light upon us.
  • A guided, scenic tour of the island’s remote beaches, bush and bird life, including a short walk up Windy Canyon, with its wind-funnel shaped rock formations and stunning views. Face masks will need to be worn when inside our mini bus.
Funnel-shaped rocks formations amongst mountainous bush

Windy Canyon

  • Return premium flights with Barrier Air (Auckland – Claris (the airport on Gt Barrier) – Auckland); approx 35 minutes each way and with amazing views of the island and the Hauraki Gulf. Barrier Air operates from the Air New Zealand domestic terminal at Auckland Airport in Mangere. Face masks will need to be worn on the flights.
View of landing strip from the air

About to land at Claris Airport, Gt Barrier Island

  • Airport transfers on Great Barrier Island. Face masks will need to be worn.
  • Two nights’ accommodation in modern, fully self-contained studio units and villas at Sunset Waterfront Lodge. Every one of these has its own kitchen as well as bathroom facilities. Private double, twin and single accommodation options are all available.
  • Meeting new and like-minded 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) 

What’s not included:

  • Meals: All of the accommodation units are fully self-contained with kitchens to prepare and cook your own meals. You can BYO or buy provisions from the general store next door to our accommodation, which also has fresh coffee and yummy breakfast, lunch and dinners for those who prefer to eat out.
  • A meal package can be purchased before our retreat for those who’d like meals to be included. Pricing TBA.
  • Alcohol and drinks. You can BYO or buy from the café/general store next door to our accommodation.
  • Souvenirs and gifts
  • Transport to and from Auckland Airport
  • Parking at Auckland Airport
  • Personal, medical or trip cancellation insurance
  • Medical services
  • Items for personal use
  • Laundry
  • Face masks, please bring several.
  • Hand sanitiser for personal use outside of the group sessions.

Please note: For the health of everyone, face masks will need to be worn during all indoor group sessions on the retreat, including on the plane to Great Barrier Island and our mini bus while on the island.

How to buy a ticket to the “Discover Your Power to Live Well” retreat

 Early-bird special (until 15 July 2022)

  • $1,490 per person, double or share twin
  • $1,690 per person, single occupancy

After 15 July 2022, the price becomes:

  • $1,740 per person, double or share twin
  • $1,940 per person, single occupancy

PayPal, credit card and online banking payment options are all available. Click here to contact Jocelyn Watkin to request the payment option of your choice or phone/text her on: 027 493 9851.

Please note our cancellation policy: we do not offer refunds. However, if you cancel before 15 August 2022 we will credit your payment (less any credit card fees) towards another Kia Ora Tai Chi event or set of classes. If you cancel on the 16th August 2022 or later, you will lose any payments you have already made.

Who is the instructor?

Jocelyn Watkin helps people of all ages and abilities to reduce stress and improve their overall health, fitness, balance and well-being with qigong and tai chi.

She is the founder and director of Kia Ora Tai Chi and is a qualified qigong and tai chi for health instructorShe 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)

More about Aotea / Great Barrier Island

View of the island from the air

Aotea/Gt Barrier Island

This idyllic island stands at the entrance to the Hauraki Gulf and is just a short 35-minute flight from Auckland Airport.

It protects the inner waters of the gulf from storms in the Pacific Ocean. Hence, Captain Cook gave the island its European name, Great Barrier. It is the perfect place to create your own protective inner barrier against the storms of life.

Māori named the island Aotea, meaning white cloud (ao = cloud, tea = white), as it appears in the distance like a white cloud on the horizon.

The isle has stunning natural beauty. Due to being relatively remote and with a small population, it has remained unspoiled and a haven for native birds and plants.

The entire island was awarded International Dark Sky Sanctuary status in 2017, one of only 15 in the world. It truly is heaven under the stars.

Who is this retreat for? 

It is for anyone aged 18+ who is seeking ways to improve their own health, self-healing and well-being and/or wants to de-stress and have a better life/work balance.

Many of us have revised what we now want from life but are not sure where to start or how to make this happen. If you feel a little lost, flat or frustrated with not knowing what steps to take, this retreat will help you to find peace and purpose

Ideal for beginners as well as advanced tai chi and qigong students.

Testimonial: Jocelyn 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)

Our accommodation: Sunset Waterfront Lodge at Tryphena

You’ll be able to relax in your own comfy and private villa or unit, which is fully self-contained with kitchen and bathroom facilities. Loll on your deck or patio listening to bird song and the sound of the sea. Bed linen and towels are all provided.

The lodge is aptly named. You can take a short stroll across the lawn to watch the sun set and breathe in the fresh sea air.

Double, twin share and single accommodation options are all available.

Our qigong, tai chi and journaling sessions will be held in a specially-designed and private marquee on site, which is surrounded by natural bush. If you peep through the ancient pōhutukawa trees you’ll be rewarded with glimpses of the sea.

The next door Mulberry Grove General Store and Café has all you need for groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables, wine, souvenirs and other essentials like fresh coffee daily, along with meals to dine in or takeaway. 

What is qigong and tai chi?

For thousands of years the Chinese have had a secret. A secret that has allowed them to treat illness in its earliest stages, a secret that enables athletes to perform amazing, seemingly superhuman feats of strength and agility; a secret that promises a long and healthy life to those who understand and regularly practice it. That secret is a deep, meditative breathing exercise called qigong (pronounced ‘chee – gong’).

In Chinese, the word “qigong” is made up of two characters: ‘Qi’ = air, breath and life energy; and ‘gong’ = working hard to develop a high skill level. Therefore, qigong means: ‘the skill of getting more breath, energy and life’.

Qigong is designed to calm your mind, rejuvenate your energy, boost your health and strengthen your bodyOne of the ways it does this is to increase your oxygen flow right down to your smallest fingers and toes. It will warm you and will help you to feel good all over.

Tai chi is a subset of the much older practice of qigong. Often described as “moving meditation”, tai chi is a Chinese martial art and exercise programme that combines mental focus with deliberate, mindful steps and postures. It is very gentle on your joints. It is sometimes referred to as “taiji” or “tai chi chuan”.

At this retreat you will learn the 12 Rivers Qigong Programme. This is a series of moving qigong and tai chi exercises, which encourage you to move every part of your body. Your neck, shoulders, elbows, wrist, hips, knees, ankles, and back will all become more free as you practice. And what’s more, you’ll do this gently and slowly. There is no pushing or straining. Each time you do the exercises you will naturally move further into your range or motion, making your movements freer and your body more flexible.

The movements are co-ordinated with your breath and awareness of energy in your body. Slowing down, relaxing, deepening your breath, and gently moving your body to release tensions naturally reduces stress. You will find yourself calmer and more at ease.

Each movement massages one of your internal organs and stimulates the 12 related acupuncture meridians. These meridians flow like rivers of energy through your body, hence the name 12 Rivers Qigong.

This slowing and deepening of your breath while moving greatly improves cardio vascular health and endurance. And, it’s not only your heart that benefits from this process. Your organ health improves, too. As they become healthier you will naturally improve the health of your whole body from the inside out. It’s a bit of a different approach – improving the health and fitness of your whole body by focusing on the organs, rather than just focusing on the muscles.

The 12 Rivers Qigong Programme can give you an energy boost and help you to balance your posture, emotions and organ functions. When completed in the right sequence, the movements can have incredible health benefits for the body and mind.

What is restorative journaling?

Woman lying down and writing in a diary

Writing in a journal (also known as journaling) can help you to process and understand what is happening in your life.

Restorative journaling will help you to develop a plan of action for almost any situation. 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)

How to buy a ticket to the “Discover Your Power to Live Well” retreat

Early-bird special (until 15 July 2022)

  • $1,490 per person, double or share twin
  • $1,690 per person, single occupancy

After 15 July 2022, the price becomes:

  • $1,740 per person, double or share twin
  • $1,940 per person, single occupancy

PayPal, credit card and online banking payment options are available.

Click here to contact Jocelyn Watkin to request the payment option of your choice or phone/text her on: 027 493 9851.

What is your cancellation policy?

We do not offer refunds. However, if you cancel before 15 August 2022 we will credit your payment (less any credit card fees) towards another Kia Ora Tai Chi event or set of classes. If you cancel on the 16th August 2022 or later, you will lose any payments you have already made.

Shortly after the 16th August, we will need to confirm and pay for the accommodation and retreat activities on Great Barrier Island. To do this, we need a minimum number of committed people.

If for any reason we need to cancel the retreat before the 11th November (for example, if there is another lockdown or we are unable to attract a minimum number of attendees) you will be refunded in full. If you have any questions, please contact Jocelyn Watkin of Kia Ora Tai Chi.

What is your COVID-19 policy?

We will abide by the NZ Government’s health advice and regulations as they apply in November and also those required by the operators of facilities and services for the retreat on Aotea/Great Barrier Island. Jocelyn has been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, including with a booster. All participants at this mini-retreat will need to wear a mask for all indoor group sessions and also when on shared transport, including flights. Hand sanitiser will be provided for group sessions.

Places are limited to just 10 participants

“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 an
succeed at.
It matters that you don’t just give up.” 
– Professor Stephen Hawking