What People Are Saying:
Way of Joy Workshops
Vicki Dello Joio is truly an amazing teacher with a generous spirit & wise soul. In just a short time, her work has already influenced my spiritual practice so deeply that she is quickly becoming one of the most important teachers I have ever had. And Vicki is not only teaching me about Qigong. The more time I spend with her and her writing, I am learning essential lessons about how to be with people and make a difference in the world. Vicki is someone who everyone wants to be around, even if they don’t know yet.
—Lynn Johnson, Theater Artist & Entrepreneur
What a Way of Joy it was to experience the Transition qigong pattern w/ you. After months of sleeping all or most of the night sitting in a chair - due to pain in leg/knee - the night after your class I slept the whole night in my new bed. Yippee! I am most grateful to you and the chi you drew out of each of us to share.
—Martha Ward. Texas Refugee Program Contract Manager (Austin)
I was deeply moved by the workshop. Having experienced trauma recently, it was important to me that I be in a sacred space that felt gentle, supportive and allowed me to access my own inner wisdom. Vicki created such a space. Quickly, I began to feel the benefits of so many of us working together to move chi and welcome our intentions for the new year. My body and heart responded immediately, and I felt every cell in my being claim wholeness.
I have used the tools Vicki offered each day in my personal practice and continue feeling the positive effects- visions of heaven and earth are coming to me in meditation, for example. Vicki helped me open up a whole new path to healing that I had not experienced before. It is such an honor to work with a teacher whose incredible wisdom, humor, playfulness, integrity and generosity touch the hearts of every person she works with.
—Anonymous: Actor, Small Business Owner, Ministry Leader
I had a wonderful time at the workshop last Sunday. I think you are absolutely the best teacher I have ever had for this type of class. You do make things seem so effortless — it truly is a way of joy! Thank you for all the many years you have put into this experience and for being willing to share your wisdom and story.
—Patricia Morrison, Reiki practitioner (Trinity County)
Even though I signed up for your workshop at the last minute, and didn't know what to expect, I was somewhat blown away. I have taken some tai chi classes, and your chi kung is totally different, and I enjoyed learning these new forms. I felt calm, present and lighter while I was doing these forms and appreciated your teaching and sharing your practice with us. Thank you for a very meaningful afternoon.
A few days prior to the workshop I had picked up the feeling, Vicki was totally body and soul one highly dedicated entity..... so I was in full anticipation of what was to come; since it dealt with the spiritual through the physical.
Like in many things one's experience has to do with one's personal relation to that particular subject matter or one's state of mind or what is foremost in one's mind.
As for myself my awakening to the power of Qi-kung came while doing these simple but deep meaningful movements over a decade ago. Unfortunately, I had not been consistent; yet knowing the truth, the beauty, the power etc. given, for at times I had let my shadow creep in.
My three and three quarters hour spent at the workshop yesterday had strengthened my mind and will to wish to continue the quest again thru Qi-kung. Also, I have a few anecdotes to share related to Vicki's presentation later on.
Thank you Vicki. Among other things my four day dizziness had gone away after your class.
—Anonymous, Retired Teacher from Berkeley High, Senior Citizen, Spiritual Seeker
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National Qigong Assn. (NQA) Presentation
National Qigong Association Conference
I want you to know what a treasured and memorable experience I had in meeting you and attending your workshop at the NQA conference at Asilomar. Your workshop was outstanding and one of the best I have ever attended. BRAVO!! Your loving energy, your power, your enthusiasm, your warmth, your comfort and ease, your spirit, and your joy are unforgettable.
—Dennis Furuike, Integral Qigong and Tai Chi teacher
Excerpts from NQA Student Evaluations
Great presentation… makes Qigong more than just health exercises… Absolutely delightful, educational and professional… Vicki is an amazingly giving and joyful person. Her knowledge is deep on all levels of existence…Helpful, energetic, joyful, empowering…reminder of the potential within us all,…inspiring, practical, expansive . . . beautiful, simple, helps clients/students empower themselves…,So fun and full of great energy! I look forward to studying with you again. . .great interaction with students…Perfect!
Thank you for this beautiful workshop that you did for us at NQA. I do feel that you are a very giving and very talented teacher and a Qi Gong practitioner and I admire that. I wish you lots of luck, success and lots of love in your path.
I am so happy to have taken your class and to have met you at the conference. I would love to talk with you further about the idea of coming to Present Moment in Mexico as a guest teacher or hosting a workshop or retreat. ..I felt like it was such a gift to meet you and I look forward to the possibility of collaborating in some capacity...
I so enjoyed your class. So fun and full of great energy! I look forward to studying with you again.
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John F. Kennedy Graduate Class in Embodying Spirit
Excellent class and instructor! Vicki has an enthusiasm and joy for the subject matter of the course. And through class discussions and her instruction, it’s clear she lives al that she teaches. Her expertise, authenticity, enthusiasm, and openness to people and the process of development make this class growthful and extremely valuable
—Nancy Ferracci, JFKU Graduate Student in Holistic Health Education
Recent comments from JFK student evaluations of Embodying Spirit:
• This has been my favorite class so far at JFK. The instructor was extremely knowledgeable in this area and I truly embodied spirit as a result of her teaching and expression of the ideas covered. The class was extraordinary. I learned tools that I will use for the rest of my life to cultivate balance and harmony. It was life changing and inspirational. I was blessed to take this class.
• Vicki was open, warm, direct, and honest. I always appreciated her feedback. She was always encouraging participation but supportive of people. She pushed me to new limits. Her wisdom is inspirational and her passion for teaching is apparent. I loved this class.
• I was able to open myself and see a side of myself I had always known but never accepted or embraced ‘til now. I feel the course was perfect in every way. From this class, I am taking both knowledge and experience. I have been really touched and moved.
• Vicki is an amazing, incredible teacher. She has been able to inspire me to do the qigong exercises at home and realize that we all embody spirit in our own unique ways.
•The exercises were amazing in developing/encouraging the evolution of spirit.
• Thank you for facilitating a truly transformative experience…
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WOJ Class Series
—Monza Naff, Ph.D. — Executive Director, Inner Growth Services, Oakland, CA; author of "Healing the Womanheart and Exultation: A Poem Cycle in Celebration of the Seasons"
|I consider The Way of Joy Chi Kung central to my spiritual practice, and Vicki Dello Joio a brilliant master teacher, spiritual companion, and friend. She is the embodiment of the Tao in her teaching, and she radiates the very soul of what she teaches. Besides all that, she has a fantastic sense of humor! The five years I have studied with her have brought me sustained inner growth, satisfaction, and increasing health of body, mind, and spirit.
Vicki treats every student as the divine being she/he is, and her knowledge and wisdom are vast. She combines theory and practice in a completely unique way, making each class a gestalt experience.
Vicki's skill is unrivaled. But, for a "terminal clutz", her compassion, creativity and humor are even more important. Her classes have helped me to pray with my body and inhabit it more deeply while giving me tools for living through painful challenges with greater grace and ease.
—Marcia Lovelace, Librarian, Social Activist
Vicki, I have yet to find the words to say what your presence in my life has meant/means to me. Trust, healing, faith and my body are all things I have approached timidly, almost grudgingly. You, with your integrity and generosity and wisdom and humor, have known how to guide me into a much more loving realm. Thank you thank you thank you!
—Lisa Berndt, Marriage and Family Therapist
Vicki is a master teacher in the truest sense of the words- creating a safe container for everyone to feel competent, even if we are not doing our moves "perfectly" she nods her head, giving encouragement and letting each student find their way to become more at home in their bodies, at ease with the poses, all of this with her gentle guidance. sweet humor, and profoundly compassionate presence.
I have taken classes from Vicki for over 8 years, and have benefited greatly over those years, I came to take classes because I was in severe back and sciatica pain, and wanted to do something where I could "move" even just a little.
Vicki's classes not only helped me in being more aware so that I could manage the pain easier, but she also provided me with an "opening" to Taoist teaching, and to the most wonderful and informative qigong forms. Vicki listens with great wisdom, she responds with helpful and insightful ideas, and patiently allows each student to learn in their own timing. I continue to grow through her teaching in a way that is like no other teacher.
—Karin Kelly Givens, National Project Manager, Kaiser Permanente, Recipient, National President’s Award, Chevron, 2000
Vicki provides a safe, nurturing environment where one can not only learn the intricacies and beauty of an ancient martial art but also develop aspects of the inner self. For me, the two hours a week in class are a haven from my daily life, a time for inner searching and growth, a place where I learn not only forms but also a different concept of life, and from those two hours I emerge feeling centered and re-energized.
—Carol Maes, Property Management and Thrift Shop Manager
Taking Chi Kung from Vicki Dello Joio is one of the most empowering experiences I have in my life. Vicki has decades of training from masters in various forms of martial arts and an exceptional understanding of the mechanics of movement. I am in awe of her knowledge and intuitive awareness of how "chi" (the flow of energy in the body) affects our lives and our health.
In addition, the "Way of Joy" principles Vicki has developed and incorporates into her classes contain a kind of wisdom that I believe is both unique and rare. I am constantly surprised by the combination of her gentle, unassuming presence, the brilliance of the principles she shares, and her adaptation of them in very practical ways to the needs of her various students. Vicki's classes are always inclusive, even for people with physical disabilities.
I have learned to alter my own chi (energy flow) with dramatic results in both my personal and professional life. The power of the process is exponential. I can now do a few moments of Chi Kung (either using physical movement or mental envisioning) and enhance my confidence, clarity, and compassion, even in the face of difficult situations. I have a deep respect for Vicki. Her skill in modeling and teaching Chi Kung is inspirational.
—Sharon Ellison — Consultant and author of "Taking the War Out of Our Words, The Art of Powerful Non-Defensive Communication"
—Rhoda Curtis — age 88, Consultant, English as a Second/Foreign Language, Teacher Training
In 1999-2000, I was able to walk only three minutes without pain in my lower legs. I had been enrolled in a special class at Alta Bates Hospital because of clogged arteries to my legs. I had been discouraged by lack of progress.
I enrolled in the Way of Joy in the Spring of 2000 and for twelve months have practiced this form every week for two hours and fifteen minutes before going to bed every night. I continued to walk on the treadmill at the Vascular Lab at Alta Bates. The only consistent change I made to my routine was The Way of Joy Chi Kung. Now I can walk for twenty minutes without pain, without a cane, and with a sense of joyous fulfillment.
The Quan Yin of martial arts, the Way of Joy offers me both keen insight and deep comfort. This practice of mindful movement cultivates compassion, which like the sword of Quan Yin cuts through illusion, preparing the way for clarity of intention and action. Vicki Dello Joio's Way of Joy Chi Kung teaches me to open myself to my own deepest wisdom, the whisper of my blood, click of my bones, rush and trickle of my own life force, or chi. I have learned to discern where my chi is stalled, where she flows, and how to sustain and nourish her. I listen closely for the lessons this body, in this time, in this place on the planet, is offering.
The Way of Joy is a community of people who love, nurture and nudge each other. We are independent, strong women and men who neither follow nor lead but stubbornly make our own anarchistic way through this conventional world. We laugh together often and loudly. We witness each other's brilliance: midwives to the unfolding of our own lives and work.
—Lucinda Ramberg — Intellectual and Activist at Large
Vicki taught us steadily and deliberately, slowly and serenely guiding us to work with with the chi/energy inside us and follow its movement, feeling the inner core of our being and learning, rather than hiding it, to express it like a flower expresses fragrance — naturally, without effort — connecting ourselves with the seasons and the universe.
Within 6 months I noticed that I was spraying for my asthma once a month at the most! I was amazed. There was a concrete and immediate relief. This is only one of the myriad benefits I have experienced. Vicki is not only a teacher, she is a Master, and I feel privileged to be studying with her.
—Carol Sachal — Owner, three bed & breakfast establishments in San Francisco, Ca.
I have been observing teaching for 35 years and Vicki's approach is the best I've seen in my experience.
She designs the lessons according to the needs of her students, mixes compassion and humor as she teaches and is flexible and easily admits to mistakes. She [gives feedback to] students with great gentleness and understanding, thus not making the them feel inadequate. She talks us through our movements with a kind of inspiring, poetic, yet concrete use of language that encourages her students to move in ways that transcend their belief in their own abilities.
—Kostas Bagakis — Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University
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Blossoming Joy Retreat in the Trinity Alps (Co-presented with Monza Naff)
The leaders were wonderful hostesses as well as teachers. The group members covered a number of interests and aims. We quickly became, it seems to me, a community, with a respect for, interest in our varied personalities. Never having even heard of it before, I fell in love with Chi-Gong, and am hoping for a beginners class in Oakland taught by Vicki before I am much older. The whole weekend was indeed a time of burgeoning joy.
—Roussel Sargent, Mills College English Professor (retired) age 90
As several people said during the retreat, words are not adequate to express the gratitude I feel for the experience. I salute you!
Permission to go deep
Honoring both joy and grief
The perfect combination of writing exercises, listening, group process, physical exercises and rest times created a structure wherein I could stay energized, participate in a variety of ways, and receive new insights that permeated body, mind, heart and spirit.
The myriad aspects of the retreat theme were presented within each session and deftly carried from one activity to the next so that it was easy for me to remain focused and explore deeply what blossoming joy means in my life.
Vicki and Monza’s style of co-leadership demonstrated in each moment the essential flowing nature of qi we were exploring. Their thoughtful preparation of an inspiring array of activities, their attentiveness and skill in adapting the program to the participants and the process as it happened, the many wonderful gifts they each brought as individual teachers, and the combination of their integrity and responsiveness with each other and with each one of us, made Blossoming Joy the best retreat I have attended.
I look forward to the next one . . . and the next . . . and the next. I guess I'm an official Vicki & Monza groupie!
The weekend retreat was such a rich blend of the skills of two extremely competent teachers and facilitators, each in their own field. There was no time when I did not feel cared for and nutured, from the assignments and exercises, to the amazing food. I left knowing I had been given the tools to enable me to return and integrate my experience of the weekend into my "regular" life.
It was by far the most enjoyable and fruitful retreat I've ever experienced. The ways in which each of you invited us to share in your unique gifts and passions carried me safely to places in myself I have never before visited in a group setting.
I'm still having trouble coming up with adequate words to summarize my experience, but here are some of the gifts you gave us during the retreat....
Profound respect for each woman and her boundaries, coupled with genuine support and encouragement that allowed each of us to push our limits in a truly safe setting.
Qigong exercises to bring us gently home to the unity of our bodies and spirits, coupled with writing exercises encouraging us to discover and trust the fluency of our voices as writers -- no matter what our level of expertise in either arena.
Beautiful surroundings, bountiful and delicious meals, hammocks and hiking trails, coupled with time for being together, time for being alone, time for tears, time for laughter, time to listen, time to speak, and always time to learn.
The experience of feeling seen and heard as unique individuals coupled with the joy of being part of a circle of loving women speaking, listening, writing, moving, playing and deepening together.
The Blossoming Joy workshop I attended with Vicki Dello Joio and Monza Naff was like receiving a big, warm, extended sandwich hug! The writing exercises, mixed with the movement and meditation practices really deepened the experience of the material and allowed me to integrate my insights in a meaningful way. Even with the time for rest, and opportunities for sharing with other participants, the workshop never felt rushed or like anything was glossed over.
Deep and spacious; intense, yet playful. Each participant was treated with complete respect and we were invited to challenge ourselves while being held in a supportive and accepting environment. The weekend was a soothing balm for my mind, heart, body, and soul! I so look forward to the next chance to work with these gifted teachers, who courageously model in their own lives what they so generously share.
I attended the "Blossoming Joy" retreat Vicki and Monza co-facilitated with high expectations, knowing them both to be master teachers who create an environment where participants feel safe to express themselveopenly. It exceeded my expectations.
The writing exercises that Monza offered us were in perfect sync with the physical/energy exercises Vicki guided us in through Qigong and movement. Together, they created a series of deceptively simple steps that led me to one discovery after another. As someone who has done a great deal of self-examination, I found it profound to gain so many new insights in such a short time.
The retreat was also perfect timing, as I was/am seeking to alter my way of living to gain more
balance. While it seems to me that most of us are endlessly seeking balance, I came away from this weekend with tools I am now using every day. I wake up each morning since the retreat, knowing—with much greater clarity—the choices I have and want to make; and I've been able to make them to a degree that I do feel joy instead of stress. I can truly say I am genuinely happier, as I was when I was younger and had far less pressure in my life.
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Your talents as a teacher are many – a great depth of experience in many arts as well as in life, and the ability to draw upon these to synthesize exercises specific to my needs, methods of inquiry free from judgment, incisive intellectual and profound intuitive abilities, willingness to openly explore the path together with both wisdom and humility, lightning pliability in the midst of the work, compassionate presence, impeccable integrity, fierce advocacy along with tender support, and a strong and loving heart.
I’ve been thinking about you and all that I’ve learned from our work together. Actually, I think of this every day when I when notice how differently I feel and interact with the world. I attribute the greater awareness I now have in my daily life to our work together. Your teaching and support have brought me expanded consciousness, greater acceptance of my limitations, a deeper understanding of the cycles of expansion, contraction, and rest in myself and the world around me, more easefulness in my body, and the experience of joy as an unlimited resource that is accessible to me.
This has happened without “trying to change” anything, simply through the practice of the qi gong movements and the ways you have shown me to pay attention. Our work has not been effortful, but instead has been deeply enriching and energy-enhancing.
I honor you for your service as a teacher, and I thank you from my heart for the more authentic and engaged life I now enjoy as a result of our work. This gift is precious to me beyond words.
—Ruth Wilson, Writer and Herbalist
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