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:
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.
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.