Vicki Dello Joio

Vicki Dello Joio, the author of The Way of Joy, is a master teacher of Qigong, one of the foundational martial arts. Vicki has over 40 years of experience as a martial arts practitioner and serves on the board of the National Qigong Association. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she is an adjunct faculty member at John F. Kennedy University. In 1993, she founded the Way of Joy Center in Oakland, CA where she offers workshops and classes for the public.

Vicki is also a seasoned theater performer and director, conference speaker, workshop facilitator and consultant. Vicki’s presentations include interactive dialogue, theater games, and martial arts as teaching methods. She also has more than 1,000 hours of training in Powerful Non-Defensive Communication and co-facilitates training programs with Sharon Strand Ellison.

Two core strands are central to Vicki's work. First, she teaches an integrated form of Qigong, an embodied Taoist healing art that facilitates the use of “power within” as opposed to a kind of power that depends on manipulating or dominating others. This translates into a kind of personal authority that enhances wisdom, creativity, and meaningful relationships. Second, inspired by Taoist philosophy, Vicki has developed a set of nine "laws, principles, and practices" that provide people in Western culture with greater understanding of how to work with their own fluctuating cycles of energy. With this dual focus, people can more easily maintain the clarity needed for high-level creative problem-solving.

As Vicki guides people to shift energetically from defensive to non-defensive postures, they bring forth their own stories and issues, learn to listen more deeply to each other's diverse experiences and speak with integrity, clarity, and compassion. On a personal level, individuals gain self-esteem and stronger intimate relationships. On a professional level, people enhance their performance as well as their ability to work well in teams. Vicki's exceptional range of skills is invaluable in professional environments, such as corporate, government, education, and nonprofit, as well as in community settings. In addition to working with groups, Vicki also offers personal coaching for people who want to enhance their professional performance, personal growth, and/or relationship skills.

Vicki's has a rich background of experience, including extensive training with master teachers Tai Chi Master Franklin Kwong, Ed Young from Master Cheng Man-Ch’ing’s school in New York, international Qigong teacher Daisy Lee and Qigong Master Khaleghl Quinn in California. Vicki studied theater arts at Carnegie-Mellon University and at Hagen-Berghoff Studio with Herbert Berghoff. She learned the Feldenkreis Method from Katya Delakova, an early student of Moshe Feldenkreis. She studied mime in Paris with Etienne Decroux, teacher of Marcel Marceau, and physical theater with Jacques Lecoq, founder of the L’Ecole Internationale de Theater Jacques Lecoq.

A co-founder of the Women's Qigong Alliance, Vicki co-sponsored three consequtive World Tai Chi Quigong Days in the San Francisco Bay Area. She co-founded, directed and performed with Common Threads Theatre Company, which toured in the US and Europe, and has appeared in a critically acclaimed one-woman show, A Mime’s Eye View. Vicki also choreographed Synergy, a commissioned work which was performed at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Currently a member of Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble, an improvisational theater group, Vicki has participated in conflict resolution work of historic proportions, bringing together polarized groups such as survivors of the Holocaust and descendents of Nazis; African-Americans and European-Americans; and Palestinians and Israelis to transform the pain of shared historical legacies into constructive action. The Playback Theater ensemble has also worked with violent offenders in jail and with programs to eliminate bullying in schools. Because she is an extremely versatile presenter in any setting, Vicki's speeches and workshops have proven highly effective for leadership development, conflict resolution, and communication across differences in culture and experience.

Partial Client List: Vicki has been a presenter at many conferences and organizations. She was the featured speaker for World Tai Chi Qigong Day, Dallas, TX and has been a speaker and workshop presenter at the National Qigong Association Conference as well as in martial arts and yoga schools across the country. Her clients include the Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin, the Trinity Alliance for Healing Arts, CA; Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, ID; the Oakland Museum, CA; the Marin Cancer Institute, CA; Wisconsin Inter-Professional Committee on Divorce, including attorneys, judges, and therapists; the National Drama Therapy Conference, San Francisco, and Albuquerque; Alameda County Nurses Association, CA; International Story Telling Center, TN; and the Manitoba Government Human Resources Leadership Program, Winnipeg, Canada.


Book: The Way of Joy, An Evolutionary Process to Awaken Inspiration, Focus Intention, & Manifest Fulfillment

CD: The Way of Joy: Short Meditations for a Busy Life: Six meditations that take less than 10 minutes each

Comments about Vicki:

Most Westerners believe that fitness equals good body mechanics: hard muscles, flexible joints, strong lungs, a slow heart rate and low blood pressure. Eastern traditions of self-cultivation, such as Qigong, emphasize a different goal: a moving synchrony of body, breath and mind that generates an experience of complete integration. What emerges from such a feeling of natural power is, simply, joy . . . Vicki Dello Joio builds a bridge for us to cross, from East to West, and a way for us to weave together again what has come unraveled—our selves.

—Efrem Korngold, OMD, LAc, co-author of Between Heaven and Earth, A Guide to Chinese Medicine

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

Vicki and I were both founding members of the Women’s Qigong Alliance, an organization dedicated to exploring the challenges of applying ancient Eastern systems in contemporary Western culture, and of doing so as women. Over more than ten years as a student of the The Way of Joy, I’ve found this integrated system to provide a framework for deep inquiry as well as a support for healing.

I’ve been privileged to witness Vicki’s embodied masterhood and I’m in awe of how she has integrated her philosophy and practice . . . Vicki teaches through her own example, through clear and respectful communication, through beautiful images and stories, and always, always through allowing the wisdom of the practice to illuminate. It’s inspiring to see this work rippling out to a wider audience.

—Michele Chase, Chair, Holistic Health Education Graduate Program, John F. Kennedy University

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

Comments from Vicki's Students in Her Way of Joy Classes & Workshops:

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.

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 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 Universit

This course has provided me with a new framework in which to view myself, my life and the world around me.

—Natasha Markovich

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 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

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 c 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 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 of three Bed & Breakfast establishments, San Francisco, CA

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 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.

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 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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