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Every month, Juliana, or “J” as she likes to be called, volunteers her time to teach tai chi at Hospice House. Tai chi is one of several Hospice group sessions aimed at enhancing movement, mobility and wellbeing. Tai chi with J has proved very popular with patients and their whānau, and carers often attend in support too.

At Hospice, J’s tai chi classes consist of seated routines that incorporate movement from head to toe. She tailors each session to the patients’ abilities, ensuring that they feel strengthened, centred and energized. She says, “I always make sure that my routines are not going to be too much or too long. It’s lovely seeing everyone become more relaxed and confident during each session.”

J is a board-certified and premier instructor for the Tai Chi for Health Institute. She is bubbly, dynamic and brimming with positive energy – a walking advertisement for the benefits that tai chi can provide to people of all ages and abilities.

She began training in tai chi eight years ago and says she was captivated from her very first lesson. As well as working fulltime, she offers sessions at the Te Atatū Peninsula Community Centre every week ( and participates in different cultural events. She has also provided sessions at Waitakere Hospital to demonstrate how this ancient, Chinese martial art can improve mobility and prevent injury.

Tai Chi at Hospice

“I love engaging with anyone who can really benefit from tai chi but can’t make it to the gym,” says J. “I love working with everyone at Hospice and also in my community classes. Tai chi can have such a positive impact on people’s lives and health.”

Tai chi can benefit people of all ages and in many different circumstances. J’s mother, for example, began practicing the art following a dementia diagnosis. J believed this helped significantly because it involved cognitive thinking while moving.

“Tai chi helps you to create a better connection between your mind and body through lovely, flowing movements that are slow and deliberate. Along with deep breathing, these movements help you to feel calm and in control,” explains J. “I tell everyone in my classes that they can do this at any point with tai chi. They can relieve stress and anxiety, and reduce tension in their bodies, all of which can help them to better manage any pain they might have and to sleep better.  Being able to do this through tai chi is quite profound.”

Empowering more people through tai chi is J’s goal. “Tai chi gives you the confidence to do things for yourself. My number one key aim is to help people make the most of their time and energy.” She peppers her classes with personal stories, affirmations and advice. Through her own experiences and positive attitude, she inspires her students to use visualisation to achieve those things they once believed were unattainable.

Personal connections feature strongly in J’s teachings. She recalls one lady in her mid-80’s, who unfortunately had a serious illness needing hospitalisation. One day, she disappeared from her hospital bed and her family eventually found her in the bathroom practicing tai chi. She had previously attended J’s community classes for many years. Although very sick, she insisted on doing the tai chi routines and breathing exercises that J had taught her, as they were soothing and calming. J smiles as she remembers that lady’s avid participation in her classes, “She got so much more out of life through tai chi. I was part of her journey, as I am with others on similar journeys.”

At Hospice House, J’s tai chi classes are on the 4th Tuesday of the month. Beginners are welcome and bookings are recommended – please contact our friendly programmes team at or phone (09) 834 9758.