Mini retreat: Tai chi for stress and balance

An out-of-this-world mini retreat at the Stardome to learn how to relieve stress, sleep better and create a calm and centred new life with tai chi and qigong.

Date and time: Friday 17 September 2021, 1.30 – 7.45pm. Early bird price closes on 1 August 2021.

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

Join Kia Ora Tai Chi in the countdown to the Spring Equinox in September, when the length of night is equal to day, and the earth is harmonised. Perfect timing for fresh beginnings.

Stress management

Can you imagine how good it would feel to escape from the black hole of stress from too many demands at work or from life in general? Absolutely, positively YES. At this mini retreat, 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. After the retreat, you’ll know how to rebalance your mind and body at anytime you feel stressed, wherever you are.

Work/life balance

How fantastic would it be to navigate into a new orbit where you had time and energy for  everything you want to do? Let the countdown begin to blast off to a new and balanced universe for you. You’ll learn how to use a space journal to calm and focus your mind so you can get more out of life, enjoy ‘me time’ and shine bright and warm like a sun in your own solar system.

Better 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? Imagine a full night’s sleep without tossing and turning or your brain churning about everything you need to do? Don’t just daydream about it. Through guided tai chi meditation you will learn how to empty your mind and say good night to stress and anxiety so you can wake up refreshed and ready for anything, every morning.

Testimonial: “Thank you so much for your lovely tai chi classes The feeling I get is of empowerment and understanding of how we can use our body to help in our daily life.” (Caroline, January 2020

Mindfulness

How fulfilling would it be to feel mindful and connected, instead of a lone star adrift in a starless night? Infinitely satisfying. We’ll take you on a live 360-degree experience at the planetarium with an extraordinary tour of the stars, planets, constellations and our night sky. After the retreat, you’ll be able to look up on any night and feel that you and your amazing world are calm, balanced and in harmony with the entire universe.

Early bird price (closes on 1 August)

  • $159 per person (plus credit card fees, if applicable)
  • Bring a friend or family member for half price (79.50) Contact Kia Ora Tai Chi to arrange payment once you’ve bought one ticket for $159.

For online banking (without credit card), click here to contact Jocelyn Watkin of Kia Ora Tai Chi or phone/text her on: 027 493 9851

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 and is a qualified, premier instructor for the international Tai Chi for Health Institute. She has extensive experience in teaching face-to-face or online for regular weekly classes, workshops and retreats, and at schools, a medical centre and a retirement village.

Jocelyn has a New Zealand Diploma of Teaching and has trained in martial arts for over 25 years, specialising solely in tai chi and qigong since 2003.

What is the Spring Equinox and why is it so important for the mini retreat?

In Aotearoa/New Zealand, the Spring Equinox for 2021 happens during mid – late September. It is when the number of daylight hours equal that of the night hours. Day and night are balanced perfectly. What this means for all living things (including us humans), is that after resting over the longer nights of winter we are now ready for more sunlight so we can burst into new life and fresh beginnings.

It is the best time to learn and develop, especially for how to become more balanced and stress-free.

Who is this mini retreat for? Numbers are limited to 12 people

It will be ideal for anyone aged 18+ who wants to bust stress, sleep better or is seeking life/work balance. High school students needing help with anxiety or wanting a way to manage stress caused by assignments and exams 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.
  • Journaling to calm and focus your mind so you 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 360-degree experience at the planetarium.
  • Tea, coffee and snacks.
  • Free parking at the Stardome and in One Tree Hill Domain.
  • Meeting new friends

What others say about Kia Ora Tai Chi sessions:

“Calming”, “Keeps the body moving”, “Inspiring”, “Encouraging”, “Feel centred”, “Sleep better”, “Feel in control”, “Wonderful”, “Fabulous”, “Loved it” and “A gift”.

 

Early bird price (closes on 1 August)

  • $159 per person (plus credit card fees, if applicable)
  • Bring a friend or family member for half price (79.50) Contact Kia Ora Tai Chi to arrange payment once you’ve bought one ticket for $159.

A full refund (less any credit cards fees) is available up until 2 August if you change your mind

After 1 August:

      • $189 per person (plus credit card fees, if applicable).
      • Bring a friend or family member for half price (94.50)

For online banking (without credit card), click here to contact Jocelyn Watkin of Kia Ora Tai Chi or phone/text her on: 027 493 9851

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?

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

It will assist you to develop a plan of action to reduce worry, anxiety and stress and to 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 over 20 years ago.

What will I need to bring?

      • Pen and paper or your lap top to take notes.
      • A water bottle
      • Something you’d like to eat during a short dinner break.
      • Comfortable shoes to wear (you can also do tai chi in bare feet).
      • Tai chi can be done in almost any clothing, but you are also welcome to bring a set of comfy clothes to change into if you are coming straight from work or school.

Why is the retreat on a Friday afternoon and evening and not a weekend?

Unfortunately, we were unable to book the meeting room at the Stardome for a weekend date at this time of year. However, 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 Tai Chi for Health? With a 1.30pm start time, those working will only need a half-day of leave.

What is the cancellation policy?

A full refund (less any credit cards fees) is available up until 2 August if you change your mind. There will be no refunds after that date as we will need to confirm and pay for the meeting room at the Stardome. To do this, we need a minimum number of committed people.

If for any reason we need to cancel the retreat before 17 September (for example, if there is another lockdown) you will be refunded in full. If you have any questions, please contact Jocelyn.

What is your COVID-19 policy?

All surfaces will be cleaned prior to the retreat and hand sanitiser will be provided. We will abide by the NZ Government’s health advice and regulations. Jocelyn has been fully vaccinated for Covid-19.

“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

Celebrate Matariki with free tai chi and qigong 

Join in with the Kia Ora Tai Chi team for a free tai chi and qigong session to celebrate Matariki and the wonderful Māori New Year.

Have fun, breathe better and make new friends with 5-Element Qigong, which is a meditative breathing programme to harmonise your mind and body. This is a great chance for a new and healthier you for the New Year.

You will also learn the beautiful and flowing Hikitia te Hā (“uplifting breathing”, also known as Māori Tai Chi).

Ideal for beginners of all ages and abilities. The whole session can easily be done while standing, seated or a mixture of both.

When: Saturday 3 July 2021, 2 – 3pm, please arrive from 1.45pm onward
Where: The theatre building, Nathan Homestead, 70 Hill Road, Manurewa, Auckland. There is plenty of free parking at this venue, which is close to the motorway. Refer to this map
RSVP: Yes please, as places are limited to just 16 people. Please email or text/phone me: 027 493 9851 to reserve your spot. (Note: there is a limit of two people per booking)
Cost: Free (A big thank you to Nathan Homestead and Auckland Council for providing the venue at no charge).

Click here to learn more about tai chi and qigong

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in midwinter and is the start of a new year in the Southern Hemisphere.

In 2021, Matariki will be observed Aotearoa/New Zealand between 19 June to 11 July.

More about Matariki

Find out more about the Kia Ora Tai Chi team.

We led the world with tai chi on 24 April 2021

We all had a fantastic time at World Tai Chi & Qigong Day on Saturday 24 April 2021

It’s not every day that we get the chance to lead the whole planet in a tai chi and qigong session. Due to our geographical position, Aotearoa/New Zealand was first on 24th April to celebrate World Tai Chi & Qigong Day. (Qigong is pronounced ‘chee – gong’.)

On the last Saturday in April, tens of thousands of people in 100s of cities across the planet join together to celebrate the tranquility and harmony that is tai chi and qigong. Every session starts at 10am local time in each country.

At 10am NZ time on 24th April, we began this world-wide wave of peace, goodwill and aroha. We opened our arms to welcome others into a global tai chi whānau,

Group of people doing tai chi under a tree in a park

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day 2021 in Cornwall Park

The event was suitable for all ages and abilities. Beginners we made to feel very welcome. Event details:

  • When: Saturday 24 April 2021, 10 – 10.45am. Please arrive from 9.40am onwards and be ready to start at 10am
  • Where: Cornwall Park, our usual summer tai chi spot under the trees on the left hand side as you’re coming up Pohutukawa Drive from Greenlane Road West. (look for the signs).
  • What to wear and bring: Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, bring a water bottle and a sun hat.

Described as “moving meditation”, tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines relaxed movements which are gentle on the joints with mental focus and mindfulness. Qigong is a meditative breathing programme designed to improve your breathing and well-being.

Check out the video of our 2019 World Tai Chi & Qigong Day celebration in Cornwall Park: https://youtu.be/Io-TbyB-fFw

Find out more:

Two men, each balanced on one leg while pointing a wooden walking stick.

After the event, Barry (in red shirt) and Goliath stayed on to practice their tai chi cane form

No tai chi in Cornwall Park, Sun 7 March 2021

Cartoon of a crying mouseThere will be no tai chi session in Cornwall Park on Sunday 7 March, 2021. Sorry everyone. I know you will be disappointed since we will be Alert Level 2.

The cancellation was decided by the park’s management and is for all organised events in the park until Monday 8 March. However, you will be allowed to visit the park for individual exercise and recreation. Please following usual social distancing rules and keep at least one metre apart from anyone who is not in your household bubble.

Good news, we will be back doing tai chi in the park on Sunday 14 March 2021, 9am. Let’s hope the weather will be kind to us, too.

More good news, you can still practice tai chi on your own at home or in your local park. Here is a link to a video of co-instructor Juliana and I showing you the warm up exercises and then teaching you Tai Chi for Memory step-by-step. Check it out here: https://youtu.be/cDvuCbOp1r8

New beginners class to love your heart and health Feb 2021

Yin and Yang symbol with heartsThis is a post from February 2021.

Here’s your chance to fall in love with tai chi and qigong. Your heart and health will thank you you for it.

If you want to feel healthier, live stronger for longer and get fitter without puffing, then tai chi and qigong can help you.

The team at Kia Ora Tai Chi are looking for adults of any age and ability, who are keen to make a regular commitment to their health. Come along to learn tai chi and qigong in our new classes for beginners . You can join any time up to (and including) Wednesday 10 March 2021, 6.30 – 7.15pm. Please arrive no later than 6.25pm.

We will be in the Manurewa South School hall, on Totara Road Manurewa, Auckland 2102 (refer to the map further below). Please note that the entrance to the hall and free parking is off Totara Road, which is a different street to the main entrance to the school.

If you’d like to try tai chi, there’ll be a warm welcome at one of the free introductory sessions on Monday 22nd and Wednesday 24th February, 6.30 – 7.15pm.

If you miss the introductory sessions in February, you are still welcome to join the February beginners up until Wednesday 10 March 2021. Your first class is free. After 10 March, anyone who hasn’t already joined the beginners class will need to wait until the next intake. The date is still to be confirmed but is likely to be July 2021 and/or February 2022.

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

After the free classes, you will be encouraged to attend two nights per week on an ongoing basis. However, if you are committed to practicing between classes then it is OK to attend just one class per week. Learning tai chi and qigong takes time but you if keen to gain all of the health, wellbeing and fitness benefits then this investment in your future good health will be worth it.

Yin and Yang with smiling faceHere at Kia Ora Tai Chi, we are all constantly amazed at the health improvements that our students tell us about once they attend our classes on a regular basis:

  • sleeping better at night
  • feeling better all over and less stressed
  • improved breathing, with less wheezing or feeling like they’ve ‘run out of breath’
  • finding it easier to go up and down stairs
  • playing with their children or grandchildren for longer without getting tired
  • lowering their high blood pressure
  • feeling more flexible and moving better with less aches and pains
  • better balance/less falls
  • toned muscles.

The map below shows you where to find us. Please note that the entrance to the Manurewa South School hall and the free parking is at 18 Totara Road (please don’t go to the main entrance to the school, which is on another street). Please aim to arrive no later than 6.25pm.

To RSVP or to ask questions about the classes, please use the Contact Form

Cost of classes: Your first class is FREE. After that, prices start from $9.50 per class. A discount is available for those who are referred by ACC and Age Concern for the Community Group Strength and Balance Exercise programme (“Live Stronger for Longer”). You must be aged 65+ to be referred.

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

 

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Zebra with stripes falling of it due to stress

Learn to de-stress with tai chi and qiqog

There have been hundreds of clinical studies over many years that confirm the health benefits of tai chi, especially for the Tai Chi for Health programmes that we teach at Kia Ora Tai Chi. You can read more about these clinical studies here.

One aspect consistent across all studies and trials is that none of these benefits happen overnight or after just one class. The trials take place over several weeks, sometimes several months, and the people being studied do tai chi at least 2 -3 times per week. 

Kia Ora Tai Chi students attend at least one class per week, often two, and several practice between each class. Improving your health, fitness and balance is worth a regular commitment to tai chi.

Find out more about Kia Ora Tai Chi classes, how to get to the venue, and what to expect.

Discover more health benefits from tai chi.

Red heart with a stethoscope

Love your heart and your health with tai chi and qigong

Want to know even more about tai chi? Click here

Please RSVP for a free beginner’s class up until (and including) Wednesday 10th March by using the Contact Form or text or phone Jocelyn Watkin on 027 493 9851.

Come along and say kia ora. We’d love to see you. We’re a friendly bunch at a great venue that has lots of free parking.