Mini retreat: Tai chi for stress and balance, November 2021

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 19 November 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

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 (numbers limited to 12 people)

  • $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 5th November 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 5th November 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.

Who is this mini retreat for? 

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 (numbers limited to 12 people)

  • $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 5th November 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 5th November 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 for tai chi (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.

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 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 5th November 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 5th November 2021 or later, you will lose any payments you have already made.

On the 5th November 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 19 November (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.

Attendance numbers are limited to 12 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

Stress Less, Live Best Retreat in Vanuatu, 2020

Woman taking a deep breath on a beach at sunset

CANCELLED *** CANCELLED *** CANCELLED Vanuatu Retreat: Stress Less and Live Best with Kia Ora Tai Chi and Qigong

Cancelled for Sunday 10 – Saturday 16 May 2020

Where: Paradise Cove Resort, Vanuatu

If you are tired of feeling stressed and overwhelmed, or sick of being tired, or if you want to sample the health benefits that tai chi and qigong can offer, then this retreat is for you.

You can discover the secrets of reducing stress by joining me, (Jocelyn Watkin), for seven days/six nights in the tropical paradise of Vanuatu. You’ll learn easy and flowing tai chi and qigong to help you to:

  • breathe your way to better health
  • calm your mind to relieve anxiety and worry
  • tap into the Chinese Five Elements to get even more amazing health benefits from your qigong and tai chi.
  • understand the techniques and skills that really work for you, which you can use to manage the ‘overwhelm’ and stress long-term, once you return home.

There’ll be plenty of “you time” to re-discover your inner paradise, too. Visualise this… after a short 3-hour flight from New Zealand you could be:

  • soaking up the sun on the powdery white sands
  • bathing or snorkelling in the turquoise waters of the lagoon
  • lolling in a shaded hammock, swaying in the fragrant island breeze that gently sighs through the palm trees

Hammock slung between shady trees on a white sand beach

A hammock at Paradise Cove Resort. The perfect place for reading or maybe a somnolent snooze?

And, that’s just the arrival day!  You can do more of this on each of the seven days. Imagine your first full day:

  • Wake up to a tropical continental breakfast with yummy cereals, toasted breads, melt-in-your-mouth croissants, fresh juices and a platter of delicious tropical fruits. (Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or lactose free diets can be catered for)
  • After breakfast, relax and enjoy health-giving, stress-busting tai chi and qigong in a shady, thatched beach fare. You’ll be with a small group of other learners and led by a fully-qualified instructor. Yep, that’s me (Jocelyn Watkin)
  • The afternoon is free to:
    • Explore the island.
    • Chill out in the on-site swimming pool or the lagoon with its private coral beach.
    • Check out the fantastic snorkelling by wading into the soothing lagoon waters. Or, maybe you’ll want to take an exhilarating leap from the jetty?
    • Take a relaxing zzzz in your own deluxe villa with its delightful mix of Melanesian architecture and European style. Each villa is set in a lush tropical garden and there are just 10 villas in total to ensure peace and quiet.
    • Lounge with a good book under the palm trees while gently swaying in a hammock.
  • Late afternoon, you can saunter into the on-site bar and restaurant (The Nakamal) for a cool drink of deliciousness and lazily watch the sun go down.
  • You can choose to be on your own or in the company of like-minded others for the afternoons and evenings.
  • Delectable and scrumptious lunches, dinners and snacks can be purchased at the on-site Nakamal. Or, you can choose to prepare and cook your own meals in your own villa’s kitchenette, if you wish. (Please bring or buy your own ingredients).
  • After gazing at  sunsets and later millions of stars twinkling overhead, you can amble back to your comfy, private villa and sink into a blissful sleep, lulled by the soft whisper of the lagoon waters.

Sunset sky reflected in the calm waters of a tropical lagoon

Fabulous sunsets at Paradise Cove Resort

Sounds divine! Tell me more

This retreat is for you if you are any of the following:

  • Working or retired.
  • Are sick of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted or at the end of your tether and want something to help that really works for you.
  • Curious about the stress relief and other health benefits of tai chi and qigong and want to sample these for yourself.

The Stress Less, Live Best Retreat is ideal for beginners as well as tai chi and/or qigong students who want to grow and develop their knowledge.

You need to be aged 18+ to participate.

What’s happening, when and where?

  • Sunday 10 May – Saturday 16 May 2020 (inclusive), at Vanuatu.
  • 7 glorious days/6 nights at the intimate Paradise Cove Resort, which has just five 1-bedroom and five 2-bedroom villas.
  • 4 sessions of health-giving qigong and tai chi in the mornings with a qualified instructor. Each session will be for 3 hours and numbers will be limited to a maximum of 14 participants.
  • Kia Ora Tai Chi has booked all of the accommodation villas so you’ll be in the company of like-minded others.
  • All of this is only a 3-hour flight from Auckland to Port Vila, Vanuatu.

 Prices (all in $NZ)

  • 1-bedroom villa: $2,900 per person, share twin.
  • 1-bedroom villa, single occupancy: $2,900 + $390 = $3,290
  • 2-bedroom villa: $3,290 per person, share twin
  • 2-bedroom villa, single occupancy: $3,290 + $390 = $3,680

 What is included in the price?

  • 1 economy return airfare from Auckland to Port Vila, Vanuatu.
  • Transfers to/from Paradise Cove Resort from/to Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila, if travelling at the same time as everyone else in the tai chi group.
  • 6 nights’ accommodation in a luxurious villa at Paradise Cove Resort.
  • 6 luscious, tropical breakfasts at Paradise Cove Resort.
  • Four 3-hour group sessions of in-depth tai chi and qigong with a focus on how to reduce stress and live best. Small group (maximum of 14 participants).
  • Snorkelling gear, reef shoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.
  • Mountain bikes to explore the area.
  • Wi-Fi in the restaurant area at Paradise Cove Resort.

 Yes, I’m in. Sign me up

View from the shady trees and out over the turquoise lagoon

The fabulous Paradise Cove Resort

What is NOT included in the price?

  • All meals (other than breakfast at Paradise Cove Resort)
  • Note: Paradise Cove has a bar and restaurant on site (The Nakamal) where you can buy your own delicious lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks. The chefs aim for the best blend of Melanesian and Mediterranean cuisine. They can provide special dietary meals, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or lactose free. Should you want to prepare your own meals, you can bring your own ingredients or buy locally as there is a kitchenette in your villa. This has tea/coffee facilities, fridge, freezer, gas stove and a microwave.
  • Sunset drinks and all alcohol.
  • All other drinks (other than the juice that is served with breakfast)
  • Any additional activities and tours while in Vanuatu, including a possible group outing on Wednesday 13 May.
  • Personal travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Any Visitor Visa fees that apply:
    • If you travelling on a NZ, UK, EU or Australian passport (there are many other countries, too) then you don’t need a Visa for up to 30 days in Vanuatu. Check this list to find out whether citizens from your own country need a Visa.
    •  If you can’t see your own country in the above link or are not sure, then check this link for a list of countries whose citizens will require a Visitor Visa for Vanuatu:
  • All personal items, such as laundry, souvenirs and shopping, etc

I’m all good with that. I want to RSVP.

Comfy cane chairs and tables in an open-sided tropical, thatched-roof building

The Nakamal restaurant and bar at Paradise Cove Resort

What is Vanuatu like? Vanuatu is a string of island pearls glistening in the South Pacific. It is just over three hours flying from Auckland but years away from the stress of everyday life. The name Vanuatu means “Our Land Forever” in many of the local Melanesian languages. The capital, largest city and commercial centre is Port Vila, which is on the island of Éfaté.

Aerial view of turquoise lagoon waters with coral reef, white sandy beach and shady trees

Fantastic snorkelling at Paradise Cove Resort

What sort of paradise will we be staying at? Paradise Cove Resort is a lush tropical paradise on the South shore of Mele Bay, which is about 15 minutes drive from Port Vila. Your accommodation will be a self-contained, gloriously-private villa. The beach and fringing reef at the resort has a rich variety of marine life. This means fantastic snorkelling straight from the beach or off the jetty. The resort also has a swimming pool.

Weather in VanuatuIn May, the temperatures are balmy and range from 21 to 26°C, which will be a welcome relief from the rain and cold of wintry New Zealand. Should you need it, the villas have air conditioning in the bedrooms and a ceiling fan in main part of the villa.

 

Flights to/from Vanuatu: At this stage, only Air Vanuatu flies direct from Auckland to Port Vila. These are the flights we’ll be on:

  • Sunday 10 May: Leaving Auckland International Airport at 11.35am, arriving at Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila, at 14.10
  • Saturday 16 May: Leaving Bauerfield International Airport (Port Vila) at 12.50pm, arriving Auckland International Airport at 16.55

Vanuatu sounds ‘vantastic’!  I’m ready to go.

More about the qigong and tai chi sessions on Vanuatu

Person doing tai chi on the beach at sunset. One hand appears to capture the sun just as it is setting.According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), everything in the universe is made by five elements: earth, metal, water, wood and fire. You will learn the 5-Element Qigong at this retreat. It appears simple but it is a powerful exercise and breathing programme that is especially effective improving health and managing stress.

“Qi” (pronounced ‘chee’) is the life energy inside a person that circulates throughout the body to provide inner strength and maintain good health. The word can also mean “life force”, “breath” or “oxygen”.  According to TCM, the stronger qi you have, the healthier and stronger you are.

“Gong” translates as “method”, “skill of” or “exercise”. Qigong is a skilled exercise which will help you to get more oxygen and life energy. It is based on the concept of balance and harmony and is especially beneficial for health, breathing and mental relaxation.

At the retreat, you will also learn a unique tai chi set of movements that are designed to relax, refresh and revitalise you.

The Chinese characters for the words ‘tai chi’ (or taiji) translate as ‘supreme ultimate’ exercise.  Often described as “moving meditation”tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that combines mental focus with deliberate and relaxed movements that are gentle on your joints.

The linked postures and steps of tai chi, along with deep breathing, are designed to improve your overall health, balance and fitness and can strengthen leg and core muscles.

Qigong and tai chi are natural exercises that are in harmony with nature. They are good for your body as well as your mind, and are helpful at reducing stress. There are no pills, no jabs and we don’t tell you what you can or can’t eat or drink.

This is what you’ll learn at the Stress Less and Live Best Retreat:

  • 5-Element Qigong, which is easy-to-learn and is especially effective for improving health and managing stress.
  • A proven Tai Chi for Health programme to help you learn how to relax, feel refreshed and revitalised.
  • How to breathe your way to better health.
  • How to calm your mind to relieve anxiety and worry.
  • How to use qigong and tai chi to reduce stress and live best once your return home.

 I need to Stress Less and Live Best.  Count me in.

A smiling woman in a red shirt, with her hands positioned in the tai chi welcome greeting

Jocelyn Watkin

About the retreat leader and instructor: Jocelyn Watkin is a fully qualified premier instructor for the Tai Chi for Health Institute.

She has organised and taught three tai chi and qigong weekend retreats in New Zealand in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She was the tour organiser/leader for two tai chi overseas trips from New Zealand to Vietnam (2012) and China (2015).

She is the founder, director and No.1 instructor of Kia Ora Tai Chi. She has trained in martial arts for over 21 years and has focussed solely on tai chi  and qigong since 2003 (Yang and Sun-styles of tai chi).

Jocelyn invites you to join her in paradise to learn specially-designed, stress-busting tai chi and qigong to help you to live calmer, stronger and healthier.

To find out more or to sign up for the Stress Less, Live Best Retreat in Vanuatu, please text Jocelyn: 0274939851. Or, you can use the contact form on the Kia Ora Tai Chi website: https://www.kiaorataichi.nz/contact-us/.

“To be comfortable in the cold, keep moving; to be comfortable in the heat, hold still; to be comfortable in the world, stay calm and clear.”

(Extract from Chapter 34 of the “Dao de Jing” by Laozi (aka: “Tao te Ching” by Lao Tzu). Translated by Ursula K Le Guin.)

Woman slumped at a work desk with a dream cloud above her head of palm trees, sunshine and jandals

Stress relieving tai chi and qigong on a tropical island. Don’t just dream about it.