Mini retreat: Tai chi for stress and balance

Postponed due to Lockdown Level 4: 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: Postponed: Friday 17 September 2021, 1.30 – 7.45pm.

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.

Buy a ticket to this out-of-this world mini-retreat at the Stardome

  • $189 per person using PayPal or a credit card (plus credit card fees, if applicable). Please click on the “Buy Now” button below. You do not need a PayPal account to pay by credit card as you can sign in/check out as a guest.



  • Bring a friend or family member for half price (94.50). Contact Kia Ora Tai Chi to arrange the ‘bring a friend’ ticket once you’ve bought one ticket for $189 (using the “Buy Now” button above).
  • For online banking (without a credit card), buy a full price ticket (@ $189) with or without a ‘bring a friend ticket” (@ $94.50), click here to contact Jocelyn Watkin of Kia Ora Tai Chi or phone/text her on: 027 493 9851.

Please note: we do not offer refunds. However, if you cancel before 1st September 2021 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 1st September 2021 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 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, 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”.

Buy a ticket to this out-of-this world mini-retreat at the Stardome

  • $189 per person using PayPal or a credit card (plus credit card fees, if applicable). Please click on the “Buy Now” button below. You do not need a PayPal account to pay by credit card as you can sign in/check out as a guest.



  • Bring a friend or family member for half price (94.50). Contact Kia Ora Tai Chi to arrange the ‘bring a friend’ ticket once you’ve bought one ticket for $189 (using the “Buy Now” button above).
  • For online banking (without a credit card), buy a full price ticket (@ $189) with or without a ‘bring a friend ticket” (@ $94.50), click here to contact Jocelyn Watkin of Kia Ora Tai Chi or phone/text her on: 027 493 9851.

Please note: we do not offer refunds. However, if you cancel before 1st September 2021 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 1st September 2021 or later, you will lose any payments you have already made.

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?

We do not offer refunds. However, if you cancel before 1st September 2021 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 1st September 2021 or later, you will lose any payments you have already made.

On the 1st September 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 Watkin of Kia Ora Tai Chi.

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.

Evening classes restart on Mon 8 March 2021

Quokka with a big smile and outstretched arms of welcomeMarch 2021

Evening tai chi classes restart tomorrow (Mon 8 March 2021) as Auckland is now in Alert Level 2. I am so happy that I’ll see you all again on both the 8th March and Wednesday 10th March, 6.30pm.

I’ll be in the Manurewa South School hall from 6.15pm on both Monday and Wednesday evenings. There’ll be hand sanitiser available and plenty of room to keep at least one metre apart for social distancing. The lovely Ken will record your attendance in the register.

New beginners are welcome to join the beginners class (in the evenings, 6.30 – 7.15pm) up until Wednesday 10 March 2021. Please arrive no later than 6.25pm. Your first class is free. If you’d like to come along, please text or phone Jocelyn Watkin on 027 493 9851 or please use the Contact Form.

Find out more about the classes and to view a map of how to get to Manurewa South School: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/classes/ 

Free summer tai chi in 2021

The summer tai chi sessions in Cornwall Park finished on Sunday 28 March, 2021.

To find out whether there’ll be other free sessions/workshops during the year or in the summer of 2022, please sign up for the free monthly newsletter (to the right of this page) or contact us.

Always wanted to give tai chi and qigong a go? Come along to Cornwall Park for FREE Kia Ora Tai Chi sessions over January, February and March 2021. Fun for all of the family, from children to grandparents.

The sessions start on Sunday 24 January 2021, 9 – 9:45am and will happen every Sunday (9 – 9:45am) until Sunday 28 March. This includes the Sundays of Auckland Anniversary Weekend and Waitangi Weekend. Come along to enjoy relaxing tai chi under the cool of the trees. All welcome.

Location: Under the trees on the left hand side as you’re coming up Pohutukawa Drive from Greenlane Road West. (look out for the signs).

If wet: Please look for the cancellation notice on the Kia Ora Tai Chi facebook page after 4pm on the Saturday evening (the night before a Sunday session). Alternatively, contact me or the Cornwall Park Information Centre at Huia Lodge

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

Summer tai chi and qigong in Cornwall Park is fun, free and suitable for all ages. You don’t need specialist clothing or equipment. Bring a water bottle, a sun hat, wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and see you there.

Find out more:

Group of people doing tai chi on the grass under the trees

Free summer tai chi and qigong in Cornwall Park

 

Park Life event cancelled, March 2020

Park life logo, yellow flowers and leaves on a turquoise backgroud

Cancellation: Park Life event in Cornwall Park on Sunday 29 March 2020. (This includes the cancellation of the four free tai chi sessions.)

Due to recent Government initiatives to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19), one of which is cancelling large scale public events and with everyone’s health and safety as utmost priority, the Cornwall Park Trust Board have regrettably cancelled the Park Life event on Sunday 29 March 2020..

We know many of you were looking forward to the day, but please know that the decision wasn’t made lightly and with everyone’s best interests in mind. Thank you for your understanding and we will keep you informed of the status of future events.

At this stage, World Tai Chi & Qigong Day on Saturday 18 April will still go ahead. Any change to this will be advised when necessary.

Here’s to doing tai chi in Cornwall Park next summer (2021)

Group of people doing tai chi under beautiful green trees