Taradale House - JinLi's Home Away From Home - Our Retreat in 2017

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Saturday morning in Taradale, a vibrant rural hamlet half way between Melbourne and Bendigo, a pit stop during the 1800's gold rush and our country home for the annual JinLi Retreat.

Autumn sunlight gleams through red and gold leaves, 30 sulphur-crested cockatoos circle above us squawking before coming in to land on their home Red Gum.

Our JinLi retreat class starts by taking a mindful walk to tune in and connect to nature. Gabby is drawn to a rose bush with an abundance of rosehips, Glen sees a Zephyr cloud moving in the changing light and dark blue sky, Tara feels uplifted by the golden glow of a tree canopy. We feel centred and alert.

We commence our first session of two day training by undertaking Shibashi Taiji Qigong Set 1, taught by Master Tara Brayshaw. This routine encapsulates the philosophy of Taiji in the joy of its rounded, flowing movements. We feel calm yet energised and continue onto Dong Yue Taiji Duan Gun (Short Staff) Form 1. Dong Yue focuses on the concepts of Heaven, Earth and Man, a rich and harmonious balance between the participant’s internal Qi and their space in the world. Our simple martial arts weapon is Duan Gun, a short staff I felt acted as an agent to draw energy from both above and below to expand the Qi. Our group connected to the mutual Qi as our Duan Guns struck to the left and right and twirled above us as we stepped and kicked. Who would have guessed smashing imaginary opponents with a stick in the tranquil country green could make people so cheerful?

Tai Chi students have enquiring minds and this trait was encouraged by ongoing seminars over the weekend including: Qigong massage taught by Peter, Mandarin for Tai Chi and travel presented by Lily and Tara, and preparing Chinese Dumplings with our chef extraordinaire, Simon. So our minds and bodies both expanded along with our spirits! 

Taradale House is a quaint historic property with cottages set amidst elm trees on the Coliban River. We all radiate to the cosy open fire in the renovated barn, where we eat delicious home cooked meals, drink tea or wine, listen to music and chat as people have always done in their homes with their friends and family. Pauline and Helen act as our kindly fairy godmothers keeping us content with offers of food and assistance throughout our stay.
The JinLi Annual Retreat is an opportunity to extend your Tai Chi practice, relax with friends and increase your wellbeing for the upcoming Winter months. Mark it in your calendar for next year. 
If only I could harness my Qi to gain super powers, I’d live the country life at Taradale every weekend.

Tai Chi and Qigong classes are held at JinLi Wushu-Tai Chi throughout the week. Shibashi Taiji Qigong Set 1 is taught every Wednesday in Elwood and Northcote. For more information go to the Class Timetable.

- Dr Lisa Pizaro 2017