More on Gateway Taiji, Qigong & Yoga

Partnering with Ocean Spirit Yoga

Ocean Spirit Yoga, founded by Lily Sibley, has deep roots in the Seacoast. For over 10 years, Sibley and her instructors have attracted a loyal group of yoga practitioners to the Ocean Spirit style of gentle, mindful yoga and meditation. Buckley is thrilled to have Ocean Spirit as the yoga “anchor” at Gateway, and has welcomed Sibley’s input into the studio design and décor.

Transforming the Button Factory Oven Building

The 5000+ square foot 875 Islington Street building, which extends like a nose from the main Button Street factory building, was built in the 19th century as an oven house for baking ceramic buttons. The “clearstory” second floor was used to vent the heat from the ovens. Buckley has opened up the clearstory to flood the floor below with natural light. The two studios – one designed for Taiji with mirrors, shoji screens, instructional centers and a large open space, the other designed as a calm, intimate space for yoga and meditation – are divided by a soundproof, moveable wall.

Going Green

A major focus of the extensive building renovation has been to improve energy efficiency. Buckley removed the original roof concrete and asphalt roof and replaced it with a light-weight foam and rubber solution with an impressive insulation factor of R40. The exterior walls have been filled with the same foam. These improvements are expected to substantially lower the building’s heating costs. The lights in the new studio are all LED, further reducing the energy footprint of the building.

Going Solar

Replacing 26,000 pounds of roofing with an 8,000 pound new roof leaves plenty of weight-bearing potential for the solar panels Buckley plans to install. Plans for the solar project are in the grant-writing stage, with installation planned before the end of the year. The new solar system is expected to generate over 50% of the building’s electricity needs.

From Corporate America to Spiritual Energy Work

When Bill Buckley was attending college in the 1970s, two passions occupied his time more than any other: martial arts – he was captain of his school’s team his senior year – and computers. Shortly after graduating, Buckley took a position with Hewlett Packard, which by that time had risen to the forefront of the fast-growing world of computers. And while his newfound profession was certainly exciting, the constant travel, sales, and client meetings meant he couldn’t risk showing up to work with the kinds of black eyes or bruises he’d come to expect in the karate ring.

Despite having to put it on the backburner, Buckley’s love of martial arts never waned. So in 1991, he decided to get back in the ring with the less bruising martial art of Taiji. It didn’t take long for World Master Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, founder of YMAA International, to inspire Bill back into the martial arts fold.

After spending the better part of two decades learning from Dr. Yang, and with an opportunity to retire from HP on the table, Buckley – who’d taken to teaching his own classes around Seacoast Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine – decided it was time to strike out on his own. Rejuvenated by the opportunity to make good on his other college dream, Buckley eventually came across the prefect venue in which to launch Gateway Taiji, Qigong and Yoga – the 19th century mill building at 875 Islington Street in Portsmouth.

Buckley envisions Gateway as a fitness center, an educational center, a community center for people who want to develop their body-mind connection while improving their balance, circulation and strength. “With Taiji, Qigong and Yoga, there are many paths to go down, each involving its own practices and spiritual journeys, all gateways to the soul,” believes Buckley. “There’s really a kaleidoscope of applications to be pursued, which is something that’s always kept me interested and fascinated. The deeper you go, the deeper it gets. And I hope to cultivate that same sense of discovery within my students.”