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Frequently Asked Questions

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Retreats

How will I know if this retreat is right for me?

If you are seeking to learn enjoyable, nurturing self-healing practices for internal strength, relaxation and rejuvenation, set in a stunning natural environment and taught by an expert Tai Chi and Qigong teacher, then this retreat is right for you. Please read the Qigong page for more information about the body-mind health benefits of this healing exercise art. Please read the About page for more information about the qualifications and teaching experience of Shirsha Marie, or contact Shirsha with any questions  here.

What if I have injuries?

Please advise of any injuries, illness or physical limitations you have which you think may affect your ability to participate fully in the retreat. Classes are tailored to take account of injuries to the best of our ability. All retreats are relaxing and energising however some exercises may not be suitable for you. During the retreat you are asked to practice at your own pace, rhythm and level of comfort to best suit your needs. The teacher is not a qualified medical practitioner so all activities are at your own risk.

How many Qigong classes are there during the retreat?

Early morning classes are energising and wake up the whole system. These are followed by silent walking meditation or sitting meditations. The optional pre-lunch session provides a dynamic workout. Afternoon Qigong classes are deeply relaxing and restorative. These are followed by Qigong self-healing meditations. The evening meditation is a guided relaxation or heart meditation. You can read a daily schedule on each retreat page.

Do I have to attend all the classes and sessions?

No, attend as many or as few of the sessions as you like. The retreat is your time to enjoy at your own level of participation. However most people attend most of the available sessions as they are very energising and nurturing. There are also plenty of quiet times during the day to rest or book an extra massage or treatment.

Is there free time during the retreat?

Yes, each afternoon there is a long rest period during which you might like to read a book by the pool, swim, have a massage or simply relax. Your attendance to the retreat activities is flexible so you can rest or have an extra session at other times throughout the day.

What about special dietary requirements?

You will be asked on the booking form to state your dietary requirements. We offer vegetarian or vegan meals using organic or spray free produce. We cater for those requiring a gluten free or lactose free diet.

Do you use spray-free produce?

Our meals use garden fresh spray-free produce, mainly sourced from local farms. Meals are nutritious, abundant and healthy.

Is smoking allowed?

Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the retreat.

Is there an ATM machine nearby?

Yes, there are many ATM’s in downtown Byron Bay, just 5 mins drive from the retreat. In Thailand there are ATM’s 10 minutes walk from Tao Garden .

How much do retreats cost and what is included?

Costs are on each retreat page, along with the inclusions and exclusions. All retreat prices include lovely accommodation, 3 delicious meals per day, a variety of indoor and outdoor Qigong classes comprised of moving exercises or sitting meditations, and one complimentary massage session. Extra massages and treatments can be booked onsite for an extra fee.

Do you need prior experience in any particular modality for your retreats?

No previous experience of Qigong is necessary to attend. You will be guided into the exercises in a sensitive and comprehensive way. As with all body-mind arts, your understanding and experience is developed with sustained practice. By the end of the retreat you will have gained a good working knowledge of the primary exercises to enable your ongoing practice at home.

Do you offer Qigong videos for ongoing practice at home?

Yes, Shirsha Marie has an excellent range of Qigong videos you can purchase here which include the principle exercises taught at the retreat.

Can I book an extra night of accommodation before or after the retreat?

Yes, depending on availability. Please ask upon booking if this is possible as availability varies depending on each venue’s other bookings.

What do you send prior to the retreat?

We send a Letter of Retreat Information upon registration and payment of your deposit. We send pre-arrival notes approximately 2 weeks before the retreat, suggesting what to bring, travelling information etc.

How do I secure a place at the retreat?

A $500 AUD deposit is payable upon application and fully refunded immediately if the retreat is full.

When will I find out if I have been accepted into the retreat?

Upon booking you will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive this within 24 hours, please email: info@shirshamarie.com.

Do you arrange airport transfers?

Please arrange your own airport transfers.

What is the typical age profile of participants?

Ages range between 25 and 65, and are about 80% women.

What do I need to bring to a retreat?

We recommend you bring a mixture of lightweight and warm, comfortable exercise clothing. Layers are best. Also bring soft-soled indoor shoes for training if bare feet present any discomfort, slip-on shoes for leisure, and runners or walking shoes. Bring swimwear, a sunhat, beach towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, toiletries, shampoo and conditioner, a first aid kit, insect repellent, a torch, a journal and/or notebook, water bottle, light raincoat, umbrella and daypack. All linen, bath towels and body soap are provided.

Is it possible to book additional massages and treatments?

Yes, upon arrival and during first couple of days of the retreat. All additional massages and treatments are to be paid for in advance at the retreat.

Do I need to follow any ethical guidelines?

Some simple guidelines ensure a harmonious environment. Participants are expected to be vegetarian and cigarette, alcohol and drug-free at the retreat.

I would like to offer a special gift to somebody. Do you offer gift vouchers?

Yes we do. Please contact us for more details.

How to get there

For Byron Bay Retreats

If travelling by plane there are shuttle bus services direct to Sangsurya Retreat from Ballina Domestic Airport (25 min) and Coolangatta International Airport (45 min). If flying into Brisbane International Airport (2 hours) the shuttle bus arrives into Byron Bay where you can get a taxi to the retreat (5 min). More ‘getting here’ details are in the Letter of Retreat Information emailed to you upon retreat registration, or contact us for more information.

Alternately, when arriving at Ballina or Gold Coast airport please go to the transport counter and they will direct you to the next shuttle bus to Byron. Ask the driver to drop you at Sangsurya Retreat Centre, 95 Old Bangalow Road, Byron Bay.

For Chiang Mai Retreats

Taxis are readily available from Chiang Mai airport. Tao Garden is a 30 minute drive and costs around $20. Tao Garden also provide a shuttle bus service. More information will be provided upon booking.

Payments & Cancellations

How can I pay for the retreat?

A $500 AUD deposit is required to secure your place in the retreat. The remainder is required 6 weeks prior to arrival. You can pay online by PAYPAL or a direct deposit. You can access online payment via the website, by the link in your confirmation email, or by calling Shirsha Marie.

Payments for any extra treatments are paid at the retreat by Visa or Mastercard.

When is full payment due?

Full retreat payment is due 6 weeks before the retreat begins. Guests agree to pay the balance no later than this date.

What kind of credit cards are accepted?

Visa and Mastercard.

Cancellations?

  1. If you withdraw from a booked retreat:
  2. If you withdraw 49 days or more from retreat commencement any funds paid are refunded, less the $500 deposit which is put in ‘Deposits Holding’ to be used toward a future retreat (minus a $100 admin fee).
  3. If you withdraw from your retreat 1-48 days from retreat commencement, we can only refund your payment if someone else books to fill your place. This refund is minus the $500 deposit of which $100 is an admin fee, and the remainder kept in ‘Deposits Holding’ for you to use toward a future retreat.
  4. In the unlikely event that we need to cancel a retreat, your payment in full will be refunded to you.
  5. We strongly advise you take out travel insurance when booking into a retreat to cover your expenses if you need to withdraw due to illness, etc and to cover your travel expenses.

Classes

Do I need any prior experience in Tai Chi, Qigong or martial arts to attend a class?

Do I need any prior experience in Tai Chi, Qigong or martial arts to attend a class?
No previous experience in these arts is required to attend. Classes are taught to address all levels of experience. New students are guided through the exercises in a sensitive and comprehensive way. The more experienced students receive more advanced guidance. They also hold the energy container of the space which helps the new students best absorb the exercises.

When will I start to feel more energised?

Tai Chi, Qigong and Qi Power give powerful healing for the body-mind system. Although they are working right from the first class, it can take a few weeks to really feel the effects. From then on, with regular sustained practise, these systems steadily accelerate into a dynamic internal energy workout. Over time you can expect your practise to undergo profound transformations. As with all true arts, patience and commitment are required to gain the most benefit from Tai Chi, Qigong and Qi Power.

How long will it take before I can practice on my own at home?

As with all body-mind arts, your understanding and experience is developed with sustained practice. With time and patience, you will gain a good working knowledge of the primary exercises to enable your ongoing practice at home.

To confidently remember a Qigong set of exercises or a Qi Power routine, usually takes around 2 terms (20 classes). To confidently learn the Tai Chi Form takes approximately one year. However, these arts never stop deepening and you may find you gain continual inspiration by coming to classes and workshops over a long period of time. The group energy field supports the work as well, providing focus and motivation.

To assist with your home practice there are a series of Qigong videos available to buy on the website here or directly from Shirsha at a class or workshop.

Can practicing Tai Chi, Qigong or Qi Power replace my usual medical treatments?

While training in Tai Chi, Qigong or Qi Power will enhance your general health and well-being, the techniques taught in these arts do not provide replacement for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of pathological conditions. If you have an acute or chronic illness or disease, please seek medical attention from a qualified doctor.

Some Tai Chi, Qigong and Qi Power exercises may not be suitable for everyone. If you are unsure about any of the exercises in these Programmes, or if you have any injuries or medical conditions that you think may affect your ability to participate, please consult your medical practitioner first.

What if I have previous injuries or illness?

The exercises are always performed within a comfortable range of movement. However, please advise of any injuries, illness or physical limitations you have which you think may affect your ability to participate fully. You will need to fill your health details in on our registration form here or at your first class.

Classes are tailored to take account of injuries to the best of our ability. All of the techniques are relaxing and energising however some exercises may not be suitable for you. If in doubt, you must consult with your medical practitioner to unsure if an exercise is suitable for your condition. During the classes you are asked to practice at your own pace, rhythm and level of comfort to best suit your needs.

Should I come to the class if I’m not feeling well?

It is best not to attend a class when you are unwell, for your best care and recovery. If you are unsure of your condition or have specific health-related questions, please seek advice from your medical practitioner or other health care provider. If you have a flu, please do not attend classes until you have recovered, to ensure it does not spread to other participants. Your understanding is appreciated.

What is the difference between Tai Chi and Qigong?

Both these arts share many similar principles and forms along with offering the same health benefits for body, mind and energy. Generally speaking though, Tai Chi is a soft-style martial art with very precise forms, while Qigong has more free-form movements and breathwork for wellness. In Qigong practice, most of the exercises are performed in a basic standing posture, and repeated many times over. So they are easier to learn and co-ordinate with deep breathing and open awareness. Tai Chi involves a particular series of many stepping moves which are generally varied and complex and require a more focused awareness. Tai Chi can therefore take longer to master.

What is the Qi Power class?

This class has been designed by Shirsha Marie as an outcome of over 35 years of experience in personal development modalities along with teaching a broad range of martial arts techniques and meditation. It combines Tai Chi, Qigong, martial arts and Body Psychotherapy moves, which forms a dynamic system of body-mind-energy development. All techniques are taught safely, with careful attention to detail and in harmony with the body’s natural movement. This therapeutic class is fun and empowering.

When are Tai Chi and Qigong classes taught?

The class schedule is shown on the Classes page. Tai Chi and Qigong overlap in their foundational principles and training methods, so in some of the classes both these arts are available. Class opens with Qigong for 1.5 hours, followed by the option to continue into Tai Chi training afterward.

All students arrive at the beginning of the class for Qigong. The Qigong students leave after 1.5 hours and Tai Chi students stay on for another 45 mins to learn the traditional Yang Form. In Tai Chi training, the Qigong section functions as an excellent warmup of postural alignment, relaxation methods, circular movement and deep breathing. However, the Qigong section is a complete and powerful training on its own and provides adequate energy-work for most people.

Can I join into the classes mid-term or do I have to wait until the beginning of the next term?

You are welcome to join into a term at any time. Please come along when the motivation arises as this is often the best time to make new life-style choices and embark on a fresh training venture. If unwell, then you are welcome to come along and watch a class, to see if it will suit you for when you are ready to exercise.

Can I attend classes on a casual basis?

Yes, Qigong and Qi Power classes are open to attend whenever suits your schedule. However regular attendance provides a steady physical and mental conditioning and ensures progress in the arts. The art of Tai Chi is a more advanced training and is available by term enrolment only.

Can I move around among the weekly classes to suit my schedule?

Yes, you are welcome to plan your class attendance to suit your schedule. Qigong students can attend any of the weekly Qigong or Qi Power classes. Tai Chi students can attend any Tai Chi, Qigong or Qi Power class on the schedule.

What should I wear to a class or workshop?

Wear loose, comfortable exercise clothing – stretchy is best. The halls in which weekly classes are taught are not specifically shoe-free, so you are welcome to wear soft-soled footwear that gives you support, or otherwise enjoy bare feet, socks or slippers. Occasionally we train outdoors so bring your most comfortable walking or running shoes.

Do you offer any discount on class fees?

You are welcome to pay the casual Qigong or Qi Power class fee of $20. Or pay by the term which gives you 10 classes to be used during that term. There is a further discount for attending 2 or more classes per week, when these are paid for by the term. Tai Chi is enrolled into by a Term Fee only.

These same class fees apply equally to all and no further discounts are given. You will find these fees represent excellent value as the high quality of instruction provides a very deep training of body-mind regeneration which you will be able to readily incorporate into your daily lifestyle with home or outdoor practice.

Do you give refunds on class fees paid?

No, but credit is given for future classes. The amount of credit is calculated by subtracting the number of classes attended at the casual class rate, from the term fee paid. The balance is then retained as a deposit for future classes.

Workshops

Do I have to participate in the entire workshop?

You can participate as much or as little as suits your condition on the day. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and rest or sit and meditate whenever you need to. However enrolment into the whole day is a requirement and the full workshop price applies.

Will training for a whole day or weekend be too strong for me?

Not likely as Shirsha delivers these flowing systems with great sensitivity and incorporates many mindful still moments within the exercises. You are also welcome to take extra rests whenever you need throughout each day.

What should I wear to a workshop?

Wear loose, comfortable exercise clothing – stretchy is best. The halls in which workshops take place are mostly shoe-free venues so we train in bare feet, socks or indoor slippers. In some workshops we will train outdoors so bring your soft-soled running or walking shoes and a sunhat. Also, bring plenty of drinking water.

How do I secure my place in a workshop?

50% of the workshop fee is payable upon application, which will secure your place in the workshop. The remainder is payable 2 weeks in advance. You can pay online by PAYPAL or by direct deposit. You can access online payment via the website, by the link in your confirmation email, or by calling Shirsha Marie.

Do you give refunds on a workshop fee paid?

If you withdraw from a booked workshop:

  1. If you withdraw 22 days or more prior to the workshop any funds paid are refunded less the 50% deposit which is put in Deposits Holding to be used toward a future workshop.
  2. If you withdraw from the workshop 1-21 days prior to the workshop we can only refund your payment if someone else books to fill your place. This refund is minus the 50% deposit which is kept in ‘Deposits Holding’ to be used toward a future workshop.
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