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 …

China Trip – Photos of our adventure

China Trip – Photos of our adventure

Here is the start of our collection of photos, of the adventure a group of tai chi students are currently enjoying, while on their trip to China.

They are exploring the culture, places and people to get a more in-depth understanding of the history, people and current practice of tai chi.

Here’s a video of the Fan Form that Sifu Leo Ming just shared on Facebook:

Sifu Leo Ming and 李连杰 Jet Li saving wildlife in Xian, China.
Tai chi in Xian, a small city of 10 million. The old wall was build around it, and is 7 miles long and could fit 4 cars wide on top.
Street market in the city of Louyang
Reading in the street market in Louyang
At the airport, ready to go 🙂


More photos and videos here:

Here is the start of our collection of photos, of the adventure a group of tai chi students are currently enjoying, while on their trip to China. They are exploring the culture, places and people to get a more in-depth understanding of the history, people and current practice of tai chi. Here’s a video of …

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 …

Chen form of Tai Chi

Chen form of Tai Chi

On our recent Tai Chi retreat, Sifu Leo Ming demonstrated the Chen routine, on a very chilly winter’s day.

Enjoy the video recording here:

On our recent Tai Chi retreat, Sifu Leo Ming demonstrated the Chen routine, on a very chilly winter’s day. Enjoy the video recording here:

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 …