Awaken your senses retreat, 4 May 2024

Awaken your senses retreat: A day of tai chi, nature and connection

Colourful drawing of a woman with hair made of flowers, and ferns

Antheia, the Greek goddess of gardens, blossoms and vegetation

Where: The Logan Campbell Building, Auckland Botanic Gardens, Manurewa

When: Saturday 4 May 2024, 8.45am to 3.30pm. Please arrive between 8.30 – 8.45am

Join me in these beautiful gardens to learn how to relax, let go of stress and feel truly alive with the healing power of tai chi and qigong (pronounced chee-gong).

You’ll also discover how to reconnect with nature by creating your own earth art/mandalas, feeling the tactile delights of leaf rubbing, and liberating all of your senses with nature journaling and the tastes and aromas of the herb gardens.

This retreat is organised and led by Jocelyn of Kia Ora Tai Chi and please contact her to RSVP or to check any of the exciting details. (It is not organised by the team at the Botanic Gardens.)

This very special one-day retreat is for you, if you:

  • Long to spend time in lovely gardens? Imagine how uplifted you will feel when surrounded by colourful blooms and lush greenery, with the springy grass beneath your feet, the fresh air on your face, and the rejuvenating aroma of native bush? Absolutely, and you can experience all of this because you’ll be immersed in the serene beauty of the 64 hectares (156 acres) of the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
Chinese-style rain shelter with curved roof and circular window in neatly laid out garden

Check out the Chinese garden in the Auckland Botanic Gardens

  • Wish you could let go of stress and gain more life, more energy? Yes, wouldn’t that be amazing? Good news – it’s all possible through the restorative power of tai chi and qigong. I’ll lead you through a unique set of movements that will help you to release stress and cultivate more self-healing energy. It is as easy and natural as the trees letting go of their leaves in autumn so they can burst into new life in spring.
Group of people doing tai chi together in a park

We’ll do restorative, self-healing tai chi and qigong together.

  • Can’t wait to truly connect with nature and to awaken all of your senses? This retreat is the connection you are looking for if you want to blossom with new experiences and new beginnings as you:
  • sample the delights of the edible garden/herb garden,
  • feel nature’s patterns with leaf rubbing,
  • tap into all that nature can offer with 5-senses journaling, and
  • learn how to create earth art/mandalas
Red, yellow, orange and green leaves laid out in a star burst patter

Symmetrical earth art design, created by Jocelyn

Long green leaves and shorter yellow leaves with white petals placed artistically but in no particular pattern.

Free-flow design for earth art, created by Jocelyn

You’ll get to take home all of the above ‘feel good’ vibes, along with:

  • The feeling of having a tranquil, garden sanctuary within you.
  • The know-how on how to reduce stress and calm your mind at any time, and to keep that ‘inner sanctuary’ of yours connected with mother nature/Papatūānuku. 
  • A nature journal.
  • A set of journaling pens.
  • A foraging bag so that you can continue to collect nature’s taonga/treasures when at home.

Open to anyone aged 18+, who is seeking to reduce stress, rejuvenate their body, reset their mind and renew their spirt. Ideal for beginners.

To RSVP, or if you have questions, please text Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 or use the contact form on the website: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/contact-us/

Tickets: You can buy tickets through Eventbrite using your credit card. Or you can arrange payment by online banking – the account number will be provided once you RSVP.

Please note: The amount paid is non-refundable if you change your mind or are unable to attend. However, a credit may be provided in special circumstances. If the organiser (Kia Ora Tai Chi) cancels the retreat, a full refund will be provided. Please refer to the cancellation policy below.

Here are all the details of the retreat:

Retreat date and time: Saturday 4 May, 2024, 8.45am – 3.30pm. Please arrive between 8.30 – 8.45am.

Venue:

White building like a house with green roof, a veranda attached and a paved courtyard surrounding it.

Logan Campbell Building (in the gardens)

Parking: Plenty of free parking in botanic gardens carpark.

What to wear:  Comfortable, loose clothing that is easy to move in, and flat-soled shoes that are comfortable for walking. Please also bring a jersey or hoodie to keep warm, especially as we will sit still for some of the time.

Please bring: Your lunch, pen and paper to take notes, filled water bottle and a snack

Places are limited to just 12 people.

 Who is the instructor?

Woman smiling, wearing glasses and a red shirt

Jocelyn Watkin

Jocelyn has helped people of all ages and abilities to reduce stress and improve their overall health, fitness, balance and well-being with qigong and tai chi since 2003.

She also teaches restorative, sensory and nature journaling to further help people to manage and relieve stress.

Jocelyn recently discovered mindfulness-based art therapy, such as creating earth art and leaf rubbing, which she found both helpful and liberating when recovering from post-pandemic stress and anxiety.

She has numerous tai chi and qigong instructor qualifications and also a New Zealand Diploma of Teaching. She has written three books and has worked as a freelance journalist

She is the founder and director of Kia Ora Tai Chi and registered as a group exercise provider (with own choreography) with the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). 

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 qigong (pronounced chee-gong)?

Silhouette of a woman breathing out with birds and stars soaring

Qigong breathing is healing and liberating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For thousands of years the Chinese have had a secret.

A secret that helps to increase longevity and assists the body to heal from injury, illness and trauma.

That secret is qigong – a deep, meditative breathing and movement exercise that connects the mind to the body.

The main reasons why people learn qigong are to manage and reduce stress, and improve their overall health and well-being.

 Qigong is about releasing stress, not suppressing it. Through special qigong breathing you can learn how to let go of stress.

 What is sensory or 5-senses nature journaling?

Woman writing in a diary, while sitting cross legged on the grass, with daisies growing around her

Sensory nature journaling

With sensory journaling, you focus on your five senses to tune into and enjoy the world around you. It’s a pleasant adventure in noticing, savouring and in feeling truly alive.

It can be done anywhere – on your deck, garden, street, or even near an open window!

Journaling is not just writing. You can draw, doodle, trace around objects, etc, as part of focusing with each of your five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste.

This type of journaling helps you to calm your mind and to relax into the present moment, which will help you to reduce worrying, relieve anxiety and to begin to live the life you really want.

Jocelyn learned about the power of journaling when recovering from post-traumatic stress nearly 25 years ago. It enabled her to break the grip that stress had on her and also freed her thoughts to plan for a better and different life.

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)

Cancellation policy

The workshop must be paid for in full to reserve your place.

All payments are non-refundable but, if you can’t attend, you can nominate a friend, colleague or family member to take your place.

Please do not attend this workshop if you have Covid or you have a cold or ‘flu-like symptoms. In this instance and if you can’t find someone else to take your place, you will be provided with a credit towards another Kia Ora Tai Chi workshop, retreat or class.

In the unlikely event that Kia Ora Tai Chi cancels the workshop, you will be refunded in full.

COVID-19 policy

Please do not attend if you are sick or have cold or ‘flu-like symptoms.

All participants will need to respect the need for social distancing at all times during the workshop. The venue is a reasonable size and there’ll be plenty of room for everyone to spread out. There will not be any paired exercises or touching by others.

The room will be well-ventilated and hand sanitiser will be provided.

We will abide by the NZ Government’s health advice and regulations as they apply at the time of this retreat

Jocelyn (the instructor) has been fully vaccinated for Covid-19.

To RSVP, or if you have questions, please text Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 or used the contact form on the website: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/contact-us/

Come join me at my ‘Awaken Your Senses’ retreat for an immersive day of transformation and rejuvenation.

Leaves and branches in a heart-shaped design

Earth art, created by Jocelyn

 

Overlapping green and yellow leaves in a circular design

Earth art, created by Jocelyn

Matariki Magic: New Year, New You

Matariki 2022 has finished. This mini-retreat will next be held during Matariki 2023 (June/July)

If you’d like to be notified when this or other exiting tai chi, qigong and SpinPoi events happen, please RSVP to receive our free monthly e-newsletter. Look to the right of this page and to see the “Monthly Newsletter Signup” form. Or, you can get in touch to ask for this free e-newsletter from our “Contact Us” page: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/contact-us/

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 an out-of-this-world mini retreat at Auckland’s awesome Stardome. June 2023 (during Matariki)

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?

Open book with stars bursting out of it

Find your path with journaling

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)

Cute pink owl wearing a night cap, sleeping among the stars

Delectable, deep sleep

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.

Yin and Yang symbol made of stars, the sun and the moon

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 and time: TBA, June 2023.

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.

Watch this short video to discover more about the Matariki Magic mini-retreat on Friday 17 June:

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 classes, workshops and retreats, as well as in 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 “How to Create Your Own Calm and Centred Universe” retreat at Auckland’s Stardome, March 2022)

What is Matariki?

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

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.
  • 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 to RSVP.

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. Although opposites, 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.

What is your COVID-19 policy?

We will abide by the NZ Government’s health advice and regulations at the time of the retreat 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