Our new season begins in October 2022! Join us for Tai Chi and Qigong at the Regent Centre on Locke Street South.

Tai Chi and Qigong, August and September 2022

Dear All,

If you've been attending classes at the Regent Centre this summer, you probably already have this information, but I'm writing to let everyone in on the plan for classes in the coming months.

For August and September, I'll be taking my annual hiatus. I'm teaching my last two sessions on Friday, July 29th and Saturday, July 30th, and will return on Saturday, October 1st for what I'm sure will be an excellent year.

This is a time for me to recharge and work on my own training so I can come back to class with fresh insights in October. In the past, classes have been on hold during my break, but this year, several people from the advanced group have agreed to manage classes while I'm away.

Saturday Beginner's classes (1-2pm) will continue from where they are right now (at Carry Tiger to Mountain), with Sam Rush and Gillianne Shaver instructing. Between them, Sam and Gillianne have taught Beginner's Tai Chi many times over, so you'll be in good hands if you choose to attend! (If you're looking to start from the very beginning, please get in touch so I can advise you.)

The other classes will be offered as practice sessions. Advanced people have agreed to keep things on track so that everyone gets a good workout. The schedule will remain the same—see the end of this message.

Holidays:

There will be no classes on Monday, August 1st, and no classes on Friday, September 2nd, Saturday, September 3rd, or Monday, September 5th. All other classes will run according to the schedule. If you can sign up for a class via the Regent Centre site, you can attend it.

For news and announcements about plans for October, watch this space! The schedule will remain mostly the same.

While I'm away, if you need to book or cancel a last-minute class, pay for classes, or have any questions about bookings, please ask at the front desk or contact the Centre by phone during business hours: (905) 523-4999.

Gillianne has agreed to communicate with the group about any changes to the schedule, and any concerns around Covid transmission. If you develop symptoms or test positive after attending a class, please let her know: dgillianne@gmail.com. (She can't help you with your class bookings, though, so please contact the Centre front desk about any issues with bookings or payment!)

If you have any questions, please let me know! I'm very grateful to be part of such an enthusiastic community, and looking forward to offering more teachings this fall. If you'd like to stop receiving these messages, please ask to be removed from the list.

Cheers,
Melissa.

SCHEDULE FOR CLASSES AT THE REGENT CENTRE

MONDAY
Qigong 1-2 pm (beginners welcome!)
Break: 2-2:15
Advanced Tai Chi 2:15-3:15 pm

WEDNESDAY
Advanced Review noon-1:30 pm

FRIDAY
Advanced Tai Chi 1-2 pm
Break: 2-2:15
Lok Hup Ba Fa 2:15-3:15 pm

SATURDAY
Beginners Tai Chi 1-2 pm
Break: 2-2:15
Advanced Review 2:15-3:45 pm (Bring your weapons!)

Classes at the Regent Health Centre, New Start Date: May 13, 2022

Dear All,

I hope the impending arrival of spring is giving you all something to look forward to and enjoy. Like many of you, I've been spending more time than I would have thought possible working in the garden and enjoying the little signs that the season is progressing nicely.

I've been keeping an eye on the Covid situation throughout April. I had hoped to see more improvement by now in the wastewater signal, which I'm currently using as the key indicator of where things are at. I'm sure you're aware that hospitalizations are also up this week. Although wastewater indicators suggest that the current wave has finally started to come down in Ontario as a whole, our local signal is still on the rise. (If you scroll down a bit at the link above, our graph is Central West, excluding the GTA.) At this point I think most of us know someone who has picked up a Covid infection despite taking reasonable precautions.

So, I'm pushing back the start date at the Regent Centre to mid-May, with the hope that we'll see the substantial improvement we need to see by early May. I'll be in touch by May 5th to confirm the new start date.

If all goes well:

CLASSES WILL RESUME ON FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2022
(maybe this will be our lucky day!)

CLASS SIGNUPS WILL OPEN TEN DAYS AHEAD OF TIME, AFTER THE ANNOUNCEMENT CONFIRMING CLASSES ARE GOING AHEAD

I didn't get into this in my previous message, but we will still be using the online class signup system, since this is how the Centre determines billing. As before, you'll pay the Regent Centre directly for all your classes. You can pay one class at a time ($15 + HST) or the monthly fee ($60 + HST). I am expanding the class capacities so there should be room for everyone. I'll send complete instructions when it's time to sign up, but essentially, it works just like making an appointment. Please don't worry about signing up until May 5th.

SCHEDULE FOR CLASSES AT THE REGENT CENTRE
When we resume, the schedule will be as follows. I'll be teaching all classes personally at first. My plan is to add more beginner's classes and Qigong into the schedule in the fall.

MONDAY
Qigong 1-2 pm
Advanced Tai Chi 2:15-3:15 pm

FRIDAY
Advanced Tai Chi 1-2 pm
Lok Hup Ba Fa 2:15-3:15 pm

SATURDAY
Beginners Tai Chi 1-2 pm
Advanced Review 2:15-3:45 pm

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, or if you'd like more information about classes. Contact me at (905) 521-0043 or smithmk2@gmail.com.

Cheers,
Melissa Smith
Lead Tai Chi Instructor @ Regent Health Centre

Tai Chi and Qigong Update, March 2022

Dear All,

I hope you're doing well. For those of you who haven't been at online classes, I wanted to give you a quick update on the state of in-person classes. Basically, the theme of the moment is: not yet, but maybe soon?

I'm sure we're all eager for things to return to some semblance of normalcy. With the province lifting safety measures, things are going to be in a state of flux. The main challenge to reopening right now is that, while key stats have been improving, I don't have confidence they will continue to move in the right direction throughout March, or improve as much as they need to in order for us to meet and work out together safely.

So, we need to wait and see, and be patient for a while longer. I'm optimistic that if we time this wisely, we can reconvene without disruptions. My other aim is to reopen at a time when we don't need to restrict numbers as much as we did in November and December. This will ease pressure on all of us, so we can come together without worrying about whether there will be space for everyone in class.

I'm looking at a possible reopening in April, if hospitalisations, deaths, positivity rates, and wastewater measures fall sufficiently throughout March. Otherwise (and more likely) it'll be May. With warmer weather, I'm hopeful that numbers will naturally improve. Worst case scenario, we could meet for outdoor classes in May and throughout the summer.

I will be making a decision about April by March 21st. If you don't hear from me by then, look for an announcement about May. That will come by April 21st.

Thank you all so much for continuing to be patient. If you have any questions or concerns, or feedback about any of the above, I'm happy to hear it. My main concern is that you are all well and safe, and that we can enjoy ourselves when it's time to meet in person again.

Cheers,
Melissa.
p.s. as you know if you've been attending online, I've been tweaking the schedule. The current online schedule is below.


The Online Schedule
Monday
Qigong 1-2 pm
Tai Chi and Lok Hup Ba Fa 2-3 pm

Thursday
Qigong 6:30-8pm
***First Thursday of the month: sitting meditation instruction and practice included in class***

Saturday
Tai Chi Beginners 1-2 pm
Other Forms Review 2-3 pm

TO ATTEND
Contact me at smithmk2@gmail.com for the Zoom link. If you've attended in the past, it's the same link I've used before.

FEES
$60 / month or $15 / class, payable by etransfer to smithmk2@gmail.com. I'm waiving HST while classes are online. Please pay me directly until we're back to in-person classes again.

Tai Chi and Qigong During Omicron, plus Guided Meditation Sessions, Winter 2022

Dear All,

I hope this finds you well and holding steady despite the emergence of Pandemic 2.0: Just in Time for Christmas. I'm sending this to my complete list in case you've been thinking about returning to / starting classes, or wondering if I'm going to be running any guided meditations this winter. If I haven't chatted with you in a while, hello! This is a bit of a long note but there is, well, a lot to discuss.


In this post:
(1) Tai Chi and Qigong classes are moving to online-only for January and possibly (probably) beyond, schedule below
(2) You're all invited to join me in a guided meditation session to celebrate solstice (and the fact that we're still here), Thursday, December 23rd, 6-8pm. (Scroll down to the bottom of this message for more info.)


Tai Chi and Qigong Moving Online, starting Monday, December 20th

Sam, Gillianne, and I have had a chance to discuss how we're feeling in light of the current situation with the Omicron variant. We agreed that doing in-person class safely depends on two things: (1) a vaccine that provides sufficient protection and (2) sufficiently low numbers in the general population. With the new variant, we've lost both of those necessary conditions, so we are shutting down in-person classes starting now. It simply doesn't make sense to run a class for health and wellbeing when doing so poses a potential threat to health and wellbeing.

I will continue to offer classes through Zoom until it's safe to go back to in-person. I will be re-evaluating this decision on a month by month basis, so January will definitely be online only. If it looks like February will be clear enough, we'll return. If there's any question, we'll be online until March, etc., etc. You will have tons of heads up before we return to in-person classes. I will notify you all by email.

Online classes are (obviously) different from in-person, but I promise I can offer you a positive, uplifting experience that's absolutely as much of a good workout as you would get at the Centre.

Yes, you will most likely have to learn how to work out in a smaller space. Yes, you will be dealing with your at-home distractions (and my barky dog, probably). Yes, you will get to know at least one of my cats pretty well.

I can say, however, that the classes I taught online over the past couple of years were some of the best I've ever run. This is a great opportunity to teach you how to get in touch with what you're actually doing (versus what you should be doing) and to correct your technique. You'll learn how to transform common household items (mostly, chairs, doorways, and your kitchen sink) into helpful props for retraining your muscles and releasing the bodily habits that create aches and pains. Class is a wonderful thing, but your Tai Chi and Qigong practice really only becomes yours when you work out in your own space. Let's do that together.

The schedule will be similar to the in-person schedule. I'm preserving the breaks between classes as an opportunity for you to chat and touch base with each other without cutting into class time.

For beginners: Sam and Gillianne have thoroughly enjoyed teaching you this fall, but are unable to teach via Zoom, so Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon classes are on hold for now. I am opening the Saturday class from 1-2 pm just for you. (This includes those of you who are brand new and those who've been attending beginners for review purposes.) I've planned to use this time to help you make sure you don't lose the excellent progress you've made so far this year, and to carry on with learning the set at a slow, steady pace. I'm really looking forward to working on this with you. Beginners are as always also very welcome at Qigong.

For people who've been wanting to do more meditation, guided and otherwise: Thursday evening Qigong classes (6:30-8pm) will now include a sitting meditation session on the first Thursday of the month, and will be replaced with a guided meditation session on the third Thursday of the month. Guided meditation sessions will start at 6pm to allow us an opportunity to check in before we meditate. More info at the end of this message.***


The Online Schedule
Monday
Tai Chi Ongoing 1-2 pm
Lok Hup Ba Fa 2:15-3:15 pm
Qigong 3:30-4:30 pm

Thursday
Qigong 6:30-8pm
***First Thursday of the month: sitting meditation instruction and practice included in class***
***Third Thursday of the month: guided meditation 6pm-8pm***

Saturday
Tai Chi Beginners 1-2 pm
Other Forms Review 2:15-3:45 pm


TO ATTEND

To attend, EMAIL ME at smithmk2@gmail.com for the Zoom link. 

If you encounter any difficulty, text me at 905 521-0043. I keep my phone nearby at the beginning of class, but I will not be checking email immediately before or during class.

THERE IS NO NEED TO SIGN UP AHEAD OF TIME OR LIMIT YOURSELF TO YOUR CLASS SIGNUP DATES YOU CHOSE EARLIER. THERE IS NO CLASS CAPACITY LIMIT ON ZOOM. PLEASE JUST COME. If you've attended online classes before, it's the same Zoom room we've always used.


FEES
$60 / month or $15 / class, payable by etransfer. I'm waving HST while classes are online. Please pay me directly until we're back to in-person classes again.

If you don't wish to attend online and/or if I owe you fees back because of the way December played out, please just contact me and ask. It's not a problem at all. I'm happy to refund whatever part of your fees you didn't get to use. I'll send you the money via etransfer.


GUIDED MEDITATION, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23rd, 6-8pm

*Please pop me an email at smithmk2@gmail.com to let me know you'd like to attend*

Sometimes what we really need is to take a break, reflect, and regroup. I've been leading guided meditations for a few years now, and have found it's a wonderful way to come back to earth when events strive to unmoor us.

It may seem odd to do a meditation session remotely via the internet, but those who participated in meditations over the past year or two found it's actually a lovely excuse to cosy up under a blanket, lie back, and enjoy a deep, soothing, and relaxing experience. (Plus there's no commute home afterward!) If you've never done guided meditation before, it's a form of energy healing that involves listening to my voice as I take you on a fun adventure via images that I describe.

Everyone is welcome. There's no charge for this session. It's my gift to those of you who would like to attend.

FUTURE GUIDED MEDITATIONS WILL TAKE PLACE ON Thursday, January 20th and Thursday, February 17, also from 6-8pm. Mark your calendars, and please let me know if you'd like to come! These sessions will be included as part of your monthly Tai Chi fees, or are $15 each.


Please let me know if you have any questions at all (again: smithmk2@gmail.com or (905) 521-0043). I hope you stay safe and if I don't see you beforehand, have an excellent and joyous holiday season.


Cheers,
Melissa.
Dear All,

As you probably know, classes at The Regent Centre resumed at the beginning of the month. It's been really good to work with some of you live and in person, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of you in the near future.

With limits in place on class capacity, November classes filled up pretty quickly. Sign-up for December classes is coming soon (November 10th-ish). Look for instructions on how and when to sign up in your email inbox before then. (Psst: you have to fill out a registration form in order to be included on mailings about classes at the Centre.)

If you don't have immediate plans to come to the Centre, but you want to study with me, or if you're part of classes and you want to do more, Qigong sessions on Zoom are starting tonight, and running every Thursday from 6:30-8pm. Thursday Qigong is always included in your fee at the Regent Centre, but this month, I'm offering the classes for free to anyone who wishes to join. Qigong is always open to new beginners. You can join anytime and attend as many or as few classes as you wish. (If you want to continue online only in December, please contact me for payment details.)

There is something wonderful about practicing in your own space, and learning how to balance the rest of your life with a meditative focus. You improve the quality of your own emotional and physical being when you do Qigong, since the practice brings you into alignment with natural energies. In turn, this transforms the quality of the space around you. Practicing with us online is an excellent way to bridge the gap between class and the rest of your life, since the subtle energy shifts that you bring to your own home last far longer than the duration of the class, and will help you feel supported and uplifted for days to come.

Qigong is ideal for even small spaces. You only need an area about the size of a yoga mat to do it. If you come, wear clothes you can stretch and bend in, and place a hard-backed chair, like a kitchen or dining room chair, nearby.

To join class, use the link below and follow the instructions. If you've joined my Zoom classes before, this is the same link we've always used. If you haven't joined before or you need me to send you the link, email me at smithmk2@gmail.com.

Even if you're not able to make class, I wanted to point you to a documentary I discovered recently, which is an amazing example of the transformative effects of working with natural energies. Over the course of my break, I had some experiences up north that led me to investigating animal communication and tracking. When I came back, I learned about Anna Breytenbach, who works in South Africa to help humans understand animals and their needs. She consults with sanctuaries and rescue organisations to help their resident animals in a way that is quite remarkable. The heart of her practice is simply going into nature and being quiet there. For those of us who were raised to be skeptics and doubt the presence or effectiveness of energy, it's deeply instructive to see the tangible effects of being so clear and present, she can hang out with wild baboons and broker a better relationship between a black leopard and his keeper.

In my practice, I find it very helpful to look at other peoples' experience and expand my concepts of what this world is all about, and where our talents and abilities truly lie. A fundamental truth that I repeatedly encounter is that we're capable of so much more than we think. I find it inspiring and mind-opening to see what other people have discovered (and re-discovered) about what we can do. I hope you find it inspiring too!

Trigger Warning: there are some images of injured baboons between 4 minutes into the documentary and 6 minutes 30 seconds. Nothing gory at all, but you might want to skip those minutes if that type of content is hard for you to watch.

Click here to view the documentary on YouTube.

Have a wonderful day, and if you have any questions or concerns, as always, email me at smithmk2@gmail.com or call (905) 521-0043.

Cheers,
Melissa.
























In-Person Classes Begin Again on 1st November, 2021

Dear All,

After much coordination with the good folks at The Regent Health Centre, I'm cautiously anticipating a return to in-person classes this fall. If it's safe for us to run classes, we will.

Where: The (gloriously revamped!) Studio at The Regent Centre, 150 Locke St. South.

When: Classes will begin on Friday, November 1st, 2021

***NOTE: this start date is different from what was previously announced***

Matt and Mel have done an incredible job updating the Centre with beautiful new paint and clearing the Studio of excess stuff. It's going to be such a nice space for us to work out in together.

Our group's needs have evolved since I last designed the schedule. I've shifted class content to better represent where people's interests lie. You can view the complete shiny and new schedule at the end of this message, or go to the schedule and fees page to look at it now. It includes some more detailed information about each class.

I understand that safety concerns are going to be ongoing. We will almost certainly be required to be flexible this year. Matt and Mel and I have worked out a safety plan that I hope will help us all feel more comfortable. You can view the health and safety plan here

Please bear in mind that we may have to put in-person classes on hold again, depending on what the Province and our own wisdom tells us. Should we need to shut down, I'll be running the complete new schedule via Zoom, with some minor adjustments. If that doesn't suit you, but you do want to attend in-person classes, please feel free to pay per class rather than monthly, in case we have to pivot.

For people who aren't ready to return to in-person classes yet, I'm planning to continue teaching Qigong online once a week, and I'll be running online Guided Meditation classes on Sunday evenings again this fall and winter. (More details on that to follow.)

I'm sure you'll have questions and may want some immediate answers, or just want to say hi before we reconvene. If you're concerned at all, please don't hesitate to contact me at smithmk2@gmail.com or (905) 521-0043.



IMPORTANT: Please Fill Out an Online Registration Form

This is to ensure that all my information for you is up-to-date and in one place. It doesn't commit you to anything, but I will use the list of people who register as a contact list for classes. To stay informed of what's going on at the Centre, you have to fill out a form.

Note: you must provide proof of full vaccination before you can attend a class. The Province of Ontario is requiring participants in gym and studio classes to provide proof of vaccination as of October 4th, 2021. There is a field for uploading a photo or screenshot of your vaccine receipt on the registration form, or you can simply bring proof of vaccination to class.

Click here to access the secure Registration Form.

If you have difficulty with the form, get in touch at smithmk2@gmail.com or (905) 521-0043 and I'll help you fill it out.


NEW: Signing Up for the Classes You Want to Attend

To help manage the limit on attendance, the Centre has implemented an online sign-up system so you will know if there's room for you at class before you come. You'll be required to sign up for every class you plan to attend. Each class listed on the schedule requires a separate sign-up. Even if you're attending two classes in a row on the same day, you'll need to put your name in for each one. You'll be able to sign up for more than one class at a time. If you can't attend a class you've signed up for, I'll ask that you take your name off the class for that day so someone else can attend.

I know this is going to be a big change, but it will assist us with contact tracing and will also help me know what to expect before I come to class, which will be a big help to me.

If you're unable to access the online portal to sign up for classes, you'll be able to contact the Regent Centre front desk so they can put your name in for you. I will also be able to sign you up for classes.

I'll be sending more detailed instructions on how class sign-up will work to everyone who fills out a Registration form. I should have this information by mid-September. Don't worry, though! I'm told most people find it very easy once they get the hang of it.



2021 Class Schedule

Now for the fun stuff! I've put a lot of thought into the new schedule. We'll still be doing plenty of Tai Chi, but there will be three Qigong sessions each week, as well as advanced content for those of you who've worked on the other internal martial arts. I'm dedicating two classes per week to Lok Hup Ba Fa / Liu He Ba Fa, an advanced art that is rarely taught, and extremely beneficial. (It's like Tai Chi Plus!) This will be a chance to go over the complete form from the beginning, and polish it well.

Beginner's classes will run courtesy of the astounding Sam Rush and the incredible Gillianne Shaver. I'll be teaching all other classes.

All classes are at The Regent Centre unless otherwise noted. Go to the schedule and fees page to read a more detailed description of each class.

Monday
Continuing Tai Chi: 1-2 pm
Lok Hup Ba Fa: 2:15-3:15 pm
Qigong: 3:30-4:30 pm

Tuesday
Beginner's Tai Chi: 5:30-7 pm

Wednesday
Beginner's Tai Chi: 1-2:30 pm

Thursday
Qigong: 6:30-8 pm (Online)

Friday
Continuing Tai Chi: 1-2 pm
Lok Hup Ba Fa: 2:15-3:15 pm

Saturday
Qigong: 1-2 pm
Tai Chi and Other Forms Review: 2:15-3:45 pm

Fall 2021 / Winter 2022 Fees

Monthly: $60 plus HST
Per-class: $15 plus HST

Schedule Change to Saturday Online Classes

Dear All,

I've already announced this at class, but in response to student interest, I'm making a change to the Saturday class schedule.

Beginning this coming Saturday, May 22, 2021, the Saturday online program will be as follows:

1-2:30 pm Qigong
2:30-4 pm Advanced Tai Chi

NOTE that Saturday classes will no longer start at noon. This will make the timing of classes the same as it is on Mondays and Wednesdays. There will be no other changes. Current beginners are absolutely welcome and encouraged to attend Intermediate Tai Chi in order to supplement their practice. 

The complete schedule is as follows: 

Monday
Qigong 1pm-2pm
Intermediate Tai Chi 2-3pm
Continuing Practice, focusing on Lok Hup Ba Fa 3-4 pm

Wednesday
Beginner's Tai Chi 1-2pm
Intermediate Tai Chi 2-3pm
Continuing Practice, focusing on Lok Hup Ba Fa 3-4pm

Saturday
Qigong 1:00-2:30 pm
Continuing Tai Chi 2:30-4 pm