Ahh July. Long days of sitting in the sunshine, sipping fruity drinks with a slice of orange and a sprig of
mint in them. That’s all very well but I need to keep moving! So my July Joy Club calendar’s downloaded
and all my booked events are ticked so that I don’t lose track. I have my more strenuous Zumba and
Cardio weekly sessions booked but I need to counter these with some more leisurely exercise classes
I have my Qigong and Tai Chi class booked for Wednesday. For anyone who hasn’t met the instructor
Jerry, well all I can say is that everyone loves him! He’s an extremely well-qualified instructor of various
forms of Tai Chi including the ’10 Step’ which he teaches us. We start with half an hour of Qigong, gentle
breathing combined with movement which helps relax the mind and mobilize the body’s energy to
improve and maintain health. After feeling tingling in my fingers about halfway through Qigong I was
delighted when Jerry told me this is the energy flowing and is a very good thing!
This is followed by half an hour of Tai Chi, a gentle and peaceful form of exercise that can help improve and maintain strength, flexibility and balance and can have a positive effect on your emotional well-being. I love the wonderful terminology used for the movements such as ‘parting the wild horse’s mane’, ‘wave hands like clouds’ and ‘grasping the sparrow’s tail’. It’s ideal even if you’re not in the best of shape (like me when I first started) or in the best of health. Personally, I think Jerry has just the right tone of voice, he sounds gentle and clear as he patiently explains and repeats the moves and to ensure inclusivity for members with injuries or disabilities he offers alternative movements and carefully demonstrates them. After 20 minutes or so of practice, the rest of the class consists of going through the entire 10 Step routine several times.
Over the last 7 months, Tai Chi has undoubtedly helped my hand-to-eye coordination and balance and I’m feeling very pleased that I’ve finally mastered the heel kicks without falling over! Although it’s a gentle class leaving you calm, relaxed and stress-free, I also feel energised and invigorated at the end. For
members invested enough to want to practice regularly there are videos available from different classes
on the Blog or in the Exercise and Fitness Interest Group plus Jerry now does an additional class every
other Saturday morning for extra live practice sessions.
Since joining the Joy Club and having tried out most of the exercise classes on offer I’ve come to realise
that I’m not good with floor exercise, aching for just too long afterwards, so Chair Yoga is the perfect
If you don’t know, it consists of yoga and stretching exercises while either sitting on, or standing using, a dining chair for support. Exercises include ‘Chair Downward Dog’ and ‘Chair Tree Pose’ which I’m happy to report I can now almost do without holding the back of the chair and who would have thought that after only a few lessons I could be sitting here with my leg up in my lap, gently lifting it while leaning forward!
Margarita is a super instructor, she’s enthusiastic, gives clear instructions in a positive and motivational way including options for those with less mobility and teaches us how to use the positive energy we’ve generated to warm a part of the body we feel needs help. So if you like the idea of yoga but don’t feel comfortable on the floor then this class is definitely worth a go, Don’t forget on any Zoom exercise classes you attend you can keep your camera turned off if you wish, but do ensure the instructor or the Joy Club community team member is aware if it’s your first session (there’s a class tomorrow if you’d like to try it out!).
Then after my Chair Yoga class, I had only a short time to wait for the delightful Expert talk entitled
‘Performance for the Gods? An exploration into Indian dance’. This was a very enjoyable hour with Ann
David, who gave us a super presentation explaining the different Indian dance styles and focussed on
two; one style involved each dancer telling a story by using their hand movements, facial expressions
and body language and then a second style which is more pure dance, using ankle bells etc. for
emphasis. Then we moved on to a tutorial where we learned how to use our hands and fingers to create
the symbolic versions of animals, bees, fish and flowers used by the dancers and were shown how to
make up our very own little stories to tell!
I especially liked this talk as where I live we have an annual 5 day Diwali festival where various Indian Dance troupes, some including children, put on fabulous displays on centre stage and it’s a truly joyous occasion! However, apart from watching and enjoying Indian Dance I knew absolutely nothing about its origins and feel I’ve learned a lot, so I would suggest that if you spot an Expert session that you know little about but it sparks some interest then please do explore it, after all, you have nothing to lose and only new knowledge to gain.
One final thing. I’ve noticed the Joy Club has added lots of different live sessions for members who may
be feeling lonely, isolated or disconnected, as well as for those who like to just chat with other members.
There have always been the weekly Coffee Breaks of course, which are usually a good laugh! but now
for those members who may want to make friends with others with similar interests there are Speed
For members who may wish to share difficult issues in a safe environment with specialists in pastoral care, there is the Listening Ear Support Group (today at 10am!) and for sharing their important and not-so-important life stories with others there is the Storytellers Club, where members are encouraged to share their own stories around a given theme.
What absolutely wonderful ideas for those members who may just be in need of a friendly (virtual) face and a kind word. Well done Joy Club.
Want to see what else is coming up in July and August? You can check out the full Events calendar here.