Awaken your senses retreat, 4 May 2024

This retreat was held on 4 May 2024. At this stage, a date for the next retreat has not been scheduled.

For more information about the type of retreats held, please refer to the description below about the “Awaken Your Senses Retreat”, which was held on 4 May 2024.

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

Flowers at the Auckland Botanic Gardens

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

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.

What happens in vagus doesn’t stay in vagus

Silhouette of a man running with nerves and arteries lit up in bright colours in his bodyYou might have heard the expression “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” (as in Las Vegas).

However, this doesn’t apply to the vagus nerve in our bodies. What happens with that nerve affects our health and the health of our organs.

I’ve been reading about the vagus nerve and it’s fascinating. If you want to stop gambling with your health, place your bets on your vagus nerve.

In this article*, the vagus nerve is described as “one of 12 cranial nerves. Cranial means nerves that start directly from the cranium, or brain, and not the spinal cord.

It is the longest cranial nerve, emerging from the brain stem and extends down the neck into the chest and abdomen.

It is named after the Latin word for “wanderer”, because it wanders like a vagabond, sending out nerve fibers into different body parts: the digestive system, liver, spleen, pancreas, heart, and lungs.”

You could call the vagus nerve our body’s ‘chill out’ button.

Outline of a human head and torso showing the vagus nerve fibres stretching down from the neck and spreading sideways over the torso.

The wandering vagus nerve

It is our main nerve affecting the ‘rest and digest’ system, which counterbalances stress and our ‘flight, fight or freeze’ system. As such, it has an essential role in keeping us in balance and healthy by:

  • Sending signals between the brain and the gut
  • Aiding digestion
  • Regulating the immune system and reducing inflammation
  • Controlling the heart rate and blood pressure
  • Helping to modulate sleep and wakefulness
  • Assisting with speech and swallowing

When the vagus nerve doesn’t work properly (referred to by medics as having a low vagal tone) this is can lead to or aggravate many disorders, such as

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Type two diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Other autoimmune disorders
  • Chronic inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mood and anxiety symptoms
  • PTSD

So, the question arises – can we improve vagal tone (vagus nerve health)? The answer is “Yes”!  As well as following advice from your doctor, general therapies and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, we can also stimulate our vagus nerve to improve its tone.

You know what I’m going to say next, don’t you?? Yep, tai chi and qigong can help because they involve stretching, breathing exercises and meditation – all of which stimulate better vagal toneYoga has the same effect.

Massaging certain parts of your body can help and, believe it or not, humming can also assist as it vibrates in your mouth, jaw, throat and chest all of which support good vagal tone.

However, if you think you may have a problem with your vagus nerve, it is crucial to first see your doctor. They can diagnose the cause and recommend the best course of treatment.

Find out more:

Beginners tai chi and qigong class starts in June 2023

Please note: From 4 June 2024, the beginners class will held only on Wednesday evenings.

A new tai chi and qigong (pronounced chee-gong) evening class for beginners will start on Monday 12 June 2023 (6.30 – 7.15pm).

Classes will be held every Monday evening (now only on WEDNESDAY evenings) (except for public holidays and over the Christmas/New Year period).

The venue is the St Elizabeth’s Church hall, which is located at 182 Finlayson Avenue, Clendon, Manurewa, Auckland 2103. There is free parking on site. Please refer to this map:   https://goo.gl/maps/eLgqq5bHz4ATjBok9

Jocelyn Watkin and the Kia Ora Tai Chi team welcome adults of any age and ability as new beginners (starting in June 2023).

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

Facemasks may be required: Depending on levels of Covid or the ‘flu in the wider community, it may be necessary at certain times to wear a facemask on arrival and when talking with others. If it is safe to do so, you can remove your facemask during classes if you wish, as long as we can all physically distance ourselves. (Please refer further below for other Covid safety requirements.)

What to expect: All of the classes begin with a sequence of easy, flowing, warm-up exercises which are low impact and gentle on your joints. These exercises are designed to improve your balance, overall health and core strength.

Then, Jocelyn and her team of instructors will guide you through health-boosting qigong (pronounced chee-gong) movements and/or a tai chi form – a series of linked postures and steps, which are also designed to strengthen your leg and core muscles and improve balance. The steps are performed in a slow, focussed manner and accompanied by deep breathing (known as qigong, which means ‘breath work’ and ‘energy work’). You can find out more about qigong and tai chi here: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/tai-chi/

If possible, please attend classes every week. If you miss a class, please commit to practicing at home to keep up with others in your group and to receive the full health benefits of tai chi and qigong. Regular practice can help improve strength, health and balance, reduce stress and lower blood pressure.  Read more about the health benefits.

Pricing:

  • Your first class is free.
  • After the free class: Prices range from $10 to $15 per class (depending on how many classes are purchased in advance).

If you’d like more information or to RSVP, please text or phone Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 or please use the Contact Form.

Covid, colds and influenza protection requirements when attending classes:

  • Please stay at home if you have Covid or whenever you have a cold or flu-like symptoms or if someone in your household has Covid or the ‘flu. You are not charged for missed classes under these circumstances.
  • About face masks: Some of the current students are immuno-compromised. As such, everyone in our tai chi group has decided to help and support their fellow students who are less fortunate with their health. Whenever there are high levels of Covid-19 and ‘flu in the wider community, ALL have AGREED to wear high quality facemasks on arrival and when chatting to others before the class starts/after the class finishes. This is regardless of any lesser requirements recommended by the NZ Government. If you do not think it is necessary to wear a facemask or you don’t want to wear one, your best option is to join a different tai chi group.
  • If you wish, you can remove your mask during the class, as long as it is safe to do so and we can all physically distance ourselves.
  • Anyone who wants to keep wearing a mask throughout the class is welcome to do so and their views/wishes are respected by others.
  • The hall will be well-ventilated as the doors open in ALL weathers, so please wear layered clothing to keep warm.
  • All instructors are vaccinated, including with all boosters.

If you’d like to have a kōrero (chat) or to RSVP, please text or phone Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 or please use the Contact Form.

The above map shows the location of the evening classes in St Elizabeth’s Church hall. The entrance to the hall and the parking is at 182 Finlayson Avenue, Clendon, Manurewa, Auckland 2103.

Please text or phone Jocelyn on 027 493 9851 for more information about any of her classes, courses, workshops or retreats. Alternatively, please use the Contact Form to get in touch.

Tai chi and qigong are easy, fun and really great exercises, which are good for your body and helpful at reducing stress. If you are unable to stand for very long, Jocelyn and several of her assistant instructors can teach seated tai chi and qigong, which you can do alongside the rest of the class.

 

All tai chi classes are approved with the BIG TICK  for the Community Group Strength and Balance Programme so you can “Live Stronger for Longer”.

What is tai chi and qigong? Often described as “moving meditation”, tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art and exercise programme that combines mental focus with deliberate and relaxed movements that are gentle on your joints. It is sometimes referred to as “taiji” or “tai chi chuan”.

Tai chi is a subset of the much older practice of qigong, which is a deep breathing and meditative exercise. In Chinese, the word 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’.

Read more about the health benefits of tai chi and qigong.

Please text or phone Jocelyn to have a kōrero: 027 493 9851. Alternatively, please use the Contact Form to get in touch.

Workshops: Reduce stress and rebalance with 5-Element Qigong, April 2023

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a way to rebalance yourself when you felt ‘out of kilter’. Absolutely and I’ll show you the pathway! Through the ancient, restorative art of 5-Element Qigong you can learn how to harmonise and rejuvenate your body, mind and soul.

Workshop 1, Part 1: Saturday 15 April 2023, 10am – 1pm in Manurewa

Workshop 2, Part 2: Saturday 29 April 2023, 10am – 1pm, in Manurewa

According ancient Chinese philosophy, everything in the cosmos and the world (including humans) is composed of five elements – Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire. When these five are in balance, all is well. When they are not, you feel ‘out of sorts’, tired and often stressed.

As a qualified qigong instructor, I offer two very special and in-depth workshops to learn 5-Element Qigong, which synchronises your movements and breathing with the five essential elements of the universe.

In the 1st workshop (Part 1) on Saturday 15 April 2023, you’ll learn:

  • Gentle, restorative Yin movements in 5-Element Qigong for the spleen (earth), lung (metal), kidney (water), liver (wood), and heart (fire).
  • How to rebalance yourself when you feel ‘out of kilter’ with the curative power of 5-Element Qigong.
  • About the fascinating five elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire, how they are inter-connected, including to the seasons, emotions, colours, and the sensory and body organs.
  • The ancient history of how these elements combine Yin with Yang to improve strength and balance.
  • How to self-care and nurture yourself with healing qigong to release tension and stiffness.

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/

In the 2nd workshop (Part 2) on Saturday 29 April 2023, you’ll learn:

  • Gentle, yet powerful Yang movements in 5-Element Qigong for the stomach (earth), large intestine (metal), bladder (water), gallbladder (wood), small intestine (fire).
  • How to combine Yin with the Yang movements in 5-Element Qigong to help fully rebalance your overall health and wellbeing, reduce stress, and let go of tension. 
  • More about the fascinating five elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire
  • Restorative journaling to calm and settle your mind so you can create your own tranquil and centred inner-universe to avoid the build-up of unnecessary stress and tension.
  • A free journal will be provided.

Cost: $75 per person, per workshop.  $120 per person for both workshops.  (Payable by online banking). The account number will be provided once you RSVP. Please refer to the cancellation policy below.

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/

When:

  • Workshop 1: Saturday 15 April 2023, 10am to 1pm (please arrive no later than 9.55am)
  • Workshop 2: Saturday 29 April 2023, 10am to 1pm (please arrive no later than 9.55am)
  • Attend just one or attend both.

Where: Reremoana School hall, 15 Scotsmoor Drive, Wattle Downs, Manurewa, Auckland 2103 Refer to map: https://goo.gl/maps/QXmMTrs5hdcbwscb7

Parking: Plenty of free parking on the half-circle shaped driveway in front of the school.

Ideal for beginners.

Open to anyone aged 18+, who is seeking to rebalance and rejuvenate their body, soul and strength.

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

Please bring: Note pad and paper, water bottle and a snack.  A free journal will be provided for Workshop 2.

Places are limited to just 12 people.

 Who is the instructor?

Jocelyn Watkin 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 is the founder and director of Kia Ora Tai Chi with extensive experience in teaching qigong and tai chi face-to-face or online for regular weekly classes, workshops and retreats, at schools, a medical centre and a retirement village.

She is registered as a group exercise contractor (with own choreography) with the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), which is the recognised quality mark throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand. 

She is approved as a strength and balance group exercise provider with the Accident Compensation Commission and has numerous tai chi and qigong instructor qualifications. She also has a New Zealand Diploma of Teaching.

Jocelyn also teaches restorative and mindful journaling to help people manage and relieve stress. When combined with calming, meditative breathing (qigong and reiki) and the mind/body connection of tai chi, journaling becomes even more restorative. The tai chi and qigong releases tension in both mind and body enabling people to focus more easily and more clearly on the changes they can make to reduce and better manage stress in their lives.

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?

For thousands of years the Chinese have had a secret. A secret that helps to increase longevity, a secret that assists the body to heal from injury, illness and trauma.

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

One of the main reasons people want to learn qigong is that it helps with overall well-being and healing.

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

What is restorative journaling?

Writing or drawing in a journal (also known as journaling) can help you to process and understand what is happening in your life, to accept what you can and can’t control, and to focus what you want for your future.

You don’t need to write in sentences if you don’t want to. You can also draw, mind map or doodle, if you wish.

Journaling can 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 a plan for lasting change and freedom.

Jocelyn learned about the power of journaling when recovering from post-traumatic stress nearly 25 years ago. It enabled her to break the power 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(s) 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.

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 this workshop if you are sick or have 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.

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

The venue 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 the workshop.

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/