Tai Chi Retreat – October 2018

Tai Chi Retreat – October 2018

For a weekend we practiced chi gong and tai chi under the pecan nut trees, listening to the arrow marked babblers and African grey hornbills chatter away to each other.

A mix of beginners, intermediate and advanced tai chi students from Johannesburg and as far as Cape Town, enjoyed the tranquil property of Melody Hills for the October 2018 tai chi retreat, led by Sifu Leo Ming.

“Retreats give us ‘time’ ” reflects Leo, when asked why he holds retreats for his students.

He shares further that “we often feel time is moving at a rapid pace. We ‘didn’t have time to do the task.’ We were ‘short’ of time to finish the job. Time went by so quickly and before we knew it, ‘it was over’. ‘What time is it because I have another appointment in 30 minutes’. ‘This time round I am going to do it differently/ properly.’”

“The retreat ‘gives’ us a different sense of time. We spend the day doing one thing- properly and thoroughly – and without rushing to make the next item on the list.”

“Here, at the retreat, there is no next item. The ‘next thing’ is actually the first thing, or the previous thing’, which become the present doing. We learn about being present; about bringing mindfulness into the present moment. And in this case with tai chi, the present movement or non-movement. We learn that non-action gives rise to action.”

“Getting away from our busy lives and having a renewed self perspective is important or else we tend to lose ourselves in the material world. What is important is self, and the breath. By self I don’t mean being selfish, but rather our true self. The natural grounded and stillness which embodies all of us. Returning to the one,” further explains Leo.

During this retreat we all learnt from each other, as we focused on the Yang straight sword traditional 55 form, and had theoretical and philosophical discussion sessions in between.

The laughter and story telling entertained us over scrumptious vegetarian meals and sitting around fires in the evenings.

We also explored the labyrinth maze as a walking meditation, as well as the options of a gong therapy session and kahuna massages for those wanting some extra elements.

“Each and every retreat is so different and so unique. I think they are all highlights in my academy. I think having students who share a commonality and have a desire to learn from me is a personal highlight” reveals Leo humbly.

Leo hopes that his students leave a retreat being emptied out, in a sense.

“If they are able to leave their baggage behind for that period of time, it would be a successful retreat. If they understood a philosophy that they could use in their daily life, it would be successful. If they could integrate this, it would be a success.”

We hope you will join us at next years’ Tai Chi Retreats in Johannesburg, and experience this kind of success with us.

To  join your Sifu Leo Low Ming for a complimentary introductory class and be invited to the next tai chi retreat, contact him on 0833780468.

For a weekend we practiced chi gong and tai chi under the pecan nut trees, listening to the arrow marked babblers and African grey hornbills chatter away to each other. A mix of beginners, intermediate and advanced tai chi students from Johannesburg and as far as Cape Town, enjoyed the tranquil property of Melody Hills …

Retreating back to the present moment

Retreating back to the present moment

By Brenda Ryan, Student of tai chi

Retreat (N) ‘An act of moving back or withdrawing’ is what one typically does when wanting to escape… and who among us can say we don’t want or need to escape from time to time?

This past weekend afforded a group of students just such an opportunity. I was fortunate enough to secure a place on the Taiji Retreat with Sifu Leo Ming held in the beautiful, tranquil setting of Melody Hills in Magaliesberg.

Our time there was spent practising the healing art forms of qigong and Taiiji. Reconnecting with Mother Earth, and being present in the moment, truly appreciating the beauty around us that in the course of our daily lives we so often take for granted.. And later, under a beautiful starry sky, we sat around the camp fire, tired but content, and grateful for all the blessings of the day.

On our last day we had the privilege of participating in a gong meditation session with our wonderful host, Tejbir and her lovely dog, Pono.

Our time on retreat was very special.. and it is with a greatful heart that I thank Sifu Leo Ming for bringing me, and I’m sure my fellow students, back to the moment… as Mother Theresa once said:

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”

 

(Photos courtesy of Brenda Ryan)

To  join your Sifu Leo Low Ming for a complimentary introductory class and be invited to the next tai chi retreat, contact him on 0833780468.

By Brenda Ryan, Student of tai chi Retreat (N) ‘An act of moving back or withdrawing’ is what one typically does when wanting to escape… and who among us can say we don’t want or need to escape from time to time? This past weekend afforded a group of students just such an opportunity. I …

Agility as a Team Building Theme

Agility as a Team Building Theme

When asked by a corporate to help with a team building exercise, or fun and yet informative day, Leo uses tai chi as an analogy to highlight the points needed to work together effectively.

Leo had the opportunity recently to enjoy a day with the team at Fulcrum, which was organised by the advertising company Van Damm.  The MC was Bongani Bingwa and a fellow presenter was Chef Benny Masekwameng, also known as Benny the Chef.

Constitution Hill in Johannesburg was chosen as the venue, as it is a place full of history from our country South Africa, allowing a sense of perspective reminding us of memories of the past and dreams for the future.  When we understand our place in the present from this perspective, we gain a useful vantage point.

The themes from Fulcrum that they were exploring at this corporate event included: excellence, trust, relationship, agility and progress.  Leo focused on sharing thoughts on the agility segment, around how to alter your course without changing your destination.

Using tai chi at the metaphor, and with getting the audience moving and involved in the discussion, Leo shared how knowing yourself is true wisdom.  Strength comes when we can master others, whereas true power is developed when we are mastering ourselves.

“When all the team are moving, practicing a tai chi pose together and moving as a unit, it is a very powerful energy” explains Leo.  “Using tai chi to relax the body, and focus the mind, one can get the best out of your whole unit, as each person is moving as one unit.”

“I enjoyed teaching them the skills and the benefits of having the right base and platform from which to work from.  A base of tranquility, strong focus, and a clear mind to make better decisions.”

To find out how tai chi can be used as a metaphor for your teams growth, contact your Sifu Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

When asked by a corporate to help with a team building exercise, or fun and yet informative day, Leo uses tai chi as an analogy to highlight the points needed to work together effectively. Leo had the opportunity recently to enjoy a day with the team at Fulcrum, which was organised by the advertising company …

Employee Engagement Sessions

Employee Engagement Sessions

Everything we do is with and through people, and even more so in the corporate world. It’s the people of organisations that make up the business, and the businesses success is based on how well those individuals are, and also how well they work together towards achieving the common goals of the organisation.

Thus for a productive workforce, we need productive healthy and happy people. And a trend in companies is to bring their staff together in small team buildings, or larger conferences, where they management can recognise the contribution of their people, and also communication the next steps of the business strategy.

A great way to spice these events up to keep employees engaged, is to slow them down!


Leo’s corporate wellness events do just that. He brings an element of inner health to the conference by teaching tai chi principles, like that of flow, and slowing down to gain clarity. As well as offering a team building exercise in that the group together have an experience of the practice of tai chi, developing a common memory to bring them together and build relationships.

Old Mutual offered this recently to their Ace Winners at a Durban in-house conference. Leo enjoyed taking the group through some qigong and tai chi, and brought a nice break and something different to the pace of the work meeting.

Laughs were had, a moment of solace was gained, and staff went into the next session feeling more refreshed.

 

To learn more about adding a tai chi break-away session to your next corporate event, contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

Everything we do is with and through people, and even more so in the corporate world. It’s the people of organisations that make up the business, and the businesses success is based on how well those individuals are, and also how well they work together towards achieving the common goals of the organisation. Thus for …

October 2017 Tai Chi Retreat near Johannesburg

October 2017 Tai Chi Retreat near Johannesburg

A time of reflection, of going within, of practicing our art of taiji, of restoring our minds and bodies, a time of laughter and friendship and so much more was had at this Octobers Tai Chi Retreat.

Melody hill welcomed us, and fed us with nourishing and o-so-yummy vegetarian food, and kept us warm around a fire at night.

The setting has become our favourite, as the green grass under the walnut trees is a soothing and invigorating space for tai chi classes.

This year we also had the privilege to learn from the psychologist Dr Ken Jennings. He spoke with us about viewing our life through our own personal lenses. He unpacked four lenses for us that are most helpful in helping us to still see the beauty in our lives, even when we are experiencing pain.

Dr Jennings outlined the four lenses into:

  1. The co-operative lense, which explains how the nature of our relationships act as a mirror to help us.
  2. The expansive lense, which is about how we evolve and grow, so that we keep learning and unlearning as we go.
  3. The perfect life lense, which is about acceptance and points to our attitudes of gratitude and appreciation, and…
  4. The random lense, where life throughs us curveballs and it’s our creative responses and ability to embrace change that helps us.

[Read more about this in Dr Jenning’s article here.]

Having gone deeper into the taiji form known as Chen, which we were currently practicing in class, this retreat yet again took our practice to our individual next level, as well as gave us a break from the daily grind of life.

We all enjoyed our time out at Melody Hill, and look forward to the next Retreat in 2018!

A time of reflection, of going within, of practicing our art of taiji, of restoring our minds and bodies, a time of laughter and friendship and so much more was had at this Octobers Tai Chi Retreat. Melody hill welcomed us, and fed us with nourishing and o-so-yummy vegetarian food, and kept us warm around …

Cape Town Wellness taiji workshop with Sifu Leo

Cape Town Wellness taiji workshop with Sifu Leo

Sifu Leo spent a few days in the mother city, Cape Town, running corporate Wellness workshops, about the many beneficial aspects of tai chi for stress relief, and to bring the concept of flow into work, and teach some self-defense techniques.

 

Here are a few clips sharing some of the points covered:

For more info on workshops for your team building or wellness days, contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

Sifu Leo spent a few days in the mother city, Cape Town, running corporate Wellness workshops, about the many beneficial aspects of tai chi for stress relief, and to bring the concept of flow into work, and teach some self-defense techniques.   Here are a few clips sharing some of the points covered: For more …

Johannesburg Tai Chi Retreats

Johannesburg Tai Chi Retreats

Sifu Leo holds retreats in Johannesburg often, where the focus is on the practice of qigong and taiji, while relaxing and centering oneself in beautiful surroundings, eating wholesome food.

As tai chi practitioner Ashley describes his experience of the retreats:

Push hands exercise demo at Tai Chi RetreatOur Tai Chi retreat is a beautiful way to escape from the demands of everyday life, and experience an uplifting and inspirational weekend cocooned in a lovely setting.

The weekend unfolds in the spirit of Tai Chi – no rush, no deadlines, no bootcamp mentality. Instead, genuine connections with like-minded friends, delicious relaxing meals, philosophical discussions, swimming, gong meditation. Oh, and some Tai Chi too!

I come away feeling grounded and centred, my body supple, my mind clear, and my spirit free.

Retreat Highlights

Sifu also brings new aspects to each retreat, like guest speakers and creative ways to learn about the philosophy of tai chi.

In the most recent retreat in October 2016, Sifu held one of the sessions in the swimming pool, to emphasise the learning of flow and resistance.  It was not only refreshing in the summer heat, but gave students an experience of weightlessness and groundedness at the same time.

Benefits of Tai Chi Retreats

Tai Chi retreats are tailored for the students who participate, and so are for all levels of tai chi, from beginners to advanced.  The focus is on foundation building, on key concepts in tai chi, and on technique.  From this base Sifu builds to the level of the group, including:

  • Beginners get a strong foundation, further getting in touch with themselves and their bodies. Their  left and right hand co-ordination improves; developing more neural muscular signals and helping integrate mind and body.
  • Those with injuries, scoliosis, arthritic conditions benefit from retreats for therapeutic reasons, and the learning the useful exercises.
  • And those more advanced in taiji, improve their body alignment, perfect the foundation skills, aligning their technique with the correct breathing, and gain refinement of their taiji moves, both mentally and physically.

To attend the next Tai Chi Retreat in Johannesburg, see our Events Page or contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

Sifu Leo holds retreats in Johannesburg often, where the focus is on the practice of qigong and taiji, while relaxing and centering oneself in beautiful surroundings, eating wholesome food. As tai chi practitioner Ashley describes his experience of the retreats: Our Tai Chi retreat is a beautiful way to escape from the demands of everyday life, and …

Tai chi Retreat in Magaliesburg, Johannesburg

Tai chi Retreat in Magaliesburg, Johannesburg

By Ralph Whittal

Tai Chi has been part of my life for the past six months or so. I have found it to be beneficial and I could not imagine a life without my weekly Tai Chi routine. Some of the benefits for me have included centering and grounding of my thoughts and it has also helped me to find balance in my life.

Tai Chi Retreat at Melody HillI’m very much a Tai Chi beginner and went on my first Tai Chi retreat in the last week of October 2016. I immediately fell in love with the Melody Hill retreat centre. It’s such an idyllic venue and I found myself instantly connected to the natural environment. I loved the surrounding gardens with the variety of birds singing from up above in the branches and enjoyed my early morning walks and reading under the trees whilst taking in all of that fresh early morning air.

On the first day of the retreat we had a talk by Dr. Danny Pillay, chairman of Homeopaths South Africa, who also practices traditional Chinese medicine and accupunture. The talk really increased my awareness of how important it is to look after the body and how effective disciplines like yoga and Tai Chi are. They are so beneficial to improving overall health and quality of life.

sword form of Tai chiDuring the weekend we got to practice the kun wern chien sword form, a first for me. I found it exciting, as being a beginner I had not done any sword form work before.

I spent some time watching and admiring all the participants practicing whilst trying to learn part of the sequence. I received some much-needed instruction from Leo, our Sifu, and members of the group who were so eager to help and spend time with me.

We also did some Tai Chi in the swimming pool which was a lot of fun. I discovered that being in the pool helped to make the experience of the “flowing” that one should experience outside the pool while doing Tai Chi, much more accessible and tangible.

 

On the Sunday we entered the yoga studio for some gong therapy. A gong is an eastern instrument which creates sounds that allow one to find that peaceful place in the conscious mind, needed to attain or to enter a dreamlike or meditative state.

Push hands at Tai Chi RetreatThis was such an enlightening experience for me. I was amazed at how I could access parts of my conscious mind in order to bring out more of an awareness and attunement to my life and even managed to access and work through some subconscious material that has been on my mind for some time now.

I looked forward to meal times and spending time with the group socializing. The food was so tasty, wholesome and good. The centre provides many things to keep one busy and in the evenings, I discovered the art of colouring-in with books and pencils scattered around the social area. I found this to be such a relaxing and therapeutic Push hands exercise demo at Tai Chi Retreatexperience, I can recommend it.

I did some swimming in the pool to cool off from the summer heat over the weekend and practiced a little backstroke whilst enjoying the socializing done with friends from the group who were cooling off with me.

The Tai Chi weekend away was an enjoyable and beneficial experience for me and I can’t wait to sign up for the next one in the new year.

 

 

For more info on future retreats, see our Events Page or contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

Tai Chi retreat under the walnut trees

By Ralph Whittal Tai Chi has been part of my life for the past six months or so. I have found it to be beneficial and I could not imagine a life without my weekly Tai Chi routine. Some of the benefits for me have included centering and grounding of my thoughts and it has …

Tai Chi at Secret Sunday event in Johannesburg

Tai Chi at Secret Sunday event in Johannesburg

taiji in Maboneng JohannesburgSecret Sunrise describes themselves as “a community of inclusion built around an interactive dance movement. It is a fun, energetic, mindful, silent disco celebration.”

As part of this movement, Sifu Leo Low Ming offers tai chi sessions before the dancing sessions.  On Sunday 10th July the secret warehouse venue in Maboneng, Johannesburg, was transformed into a playground for the morning.  Sifu stood on wooden boxes to allow everyone to see, and part of the session was also outside in a courtyard.

Maboneng, Johannesburg Tai Chi SessionThe response was wonderful, with youngsters and adults alike exploring the movements of qigong, taiji and it’s martial arts application, some dressed up as cowboys and some as native Americans, in the theme of Wild West for the dance session.

For more photo’s see Facebook here, and Secret Sunrise’s photo album here.

 

Below is a clip of Leo leading the group from atop the wooden boxes.

Below is the start of the dancing session, with lots of stretching.

 

Contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468 for more info on tai chi and karate classes in Johannesburg.

Secret Sunrise describes themselves as “a community of inclusion built around an interactive dance movement. It is a fun, energetic, mindful, silent disco celebration.” As part of this movement, Sifu Leo Low Ming offers tai chi sessions before the dancing sessions.  On Sunday 10th July the secret warehouse venue in Maboneng, Johannesburg, was transformed into a …

World Tai Chi Day Event in Johannesburg – 2016

World Tai Chi Day Event in Johannesburg – 2016

To celebrate World Tai Chi Day and the practice of Tai Chi and Qigong, join us for a complimentary class before a talk, to try tai chi out – from 08:30 to 09:15.   Trying out this class will give you an experience of what is involved physically and mentally in taiji.

This class will be followed by an “Introduction to Tai Chi” Talk and Demo, where you will learn about tai chi and its benefits, and the best way to learn tai chi, with demonstrations of the different forms of tai chi. Sifu Leo Low Ming will be presenting the talk interspersed with demonstrations by him and his students, at 09:30 to 10:30.

EVENT DETAILS

Date: Saturday 30 April 2016
Time: 08:30 to 10:30
Venue: at Zoo Lake, Johannesburg, on the grass behind Moyo’s.
No cost, and RSVP preferable by contacting Leo by email or on 0833780468. You can also just arrive on the day for whatever part of the event you want to be a part of.

More about World Tai Chi Day

Across the world, on the last Saturday of April, events are organised to celebrate the practice of Tai Chi and Qigong. These exhibits, demonstrations, talks and classes are open to the general public, and there are events in hundreds of cities in eighty nations all over the world.

The aims of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, as listed on Wikipedia, include:

  1. Educate the world about emerging medical research revealing health benefits that t’ai chi ch’uan and qigong offer.
  2. Educate about the increasing use of these ancient traditional Chinese medicine modalities in business, healthcare, education, penal and drug rehabilitation.
  3. Provide a global vision of cooperation for health & healing purposes across geopolitical boundaries, and also an appeal to people worldwide to embrace wisdom from all the cultures of the world.
  4. Thank Chinese culture for the gifts of tai chi and qigong to the world.

 

In honour of this event, Mings Martial Arts will be open to the public to join in our session at the Zoo Lake in Johannesburg.

New comers and the young and mature, are welcome to join in the class at 8.30 am till 9.15am.
There will be a demonstration on taiji by Sifu Leo Low Ming and some of his students interspersed with talks about tai chi, and it’s many benefits.

 

For more info on this event and tai chi in general, contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468

To celebrate World Tai Chi Day and the practice of Tai Chi and Qigong, join us for a complimentary class before a talk, to try tai chi out – from 08:30 to 09:15.   Trying out this class will give you an experience of what is involved physically and mentally in taiji. This class will be …