Member Lindsey Betteridge reflects on her past couple of weeks at The Joy Club with her honest review of this month’s events, articles and recordings…
Ahh, these longer days are lovely and I’m really enjoying the April sunshine streaming into the house – even if it does keep reminding me that the windows need cleaning and is actually only appearing between gaps in the April showers! Nevertheless it’s great to be able to pull the blinds down and turn the lights on so much later in the evening.
I’ve had a busy few weeks during April and, with the Easter break coming a week after my birthday (just missed being an April Fool by around 3 hours, although some would say I didn’t…), I unashamedly overindulged in afternoon teas and Easter eggs. Mother’s Day had also been only a couple of weeks beforehand, so this resulted in a delightful abundance of cards on my mantelpiece, filled with loving and humorous messages – the most special of which were from my grandchildren telling me what a super Grandma I am and how they love our interactions and staying with me. Simple pleasures; this is the sort of thing that makes my life perfect.
So it was just as well that the theme for April was wellbeing as all that overindulgence had to be confronted and thank goodness that, after Easter, all my favourite Joy Club classes were waiting for me. Even after more than a year, I still find the Tai Chi and Qigong class really enjoyable yet challenging and still feel I’m learning something new each week. Jerry varies how he instructs us which keeps it fresh and I can now almost identify each separate movement – and who wouldn’t want to with names like ‘reeling forearms’, ‘brush knee’, ‘parting the wild horse’s mane’, ‘wave hands like clouds’ and ‘grasp the sparrow’s tail’. Recently he’s been taking us through all the arm movements first, clearly instructing us on each move. We then go through the leg movements, then both together. We then go through the entire 10 Step Form several times with him visually and verbally reminding us of the movements before he falls totally silent and we go through it on our own. I have to say this is one of the most relaxing things I think I’ve ever experienced and leaves me feeling refreshed and de-stressed.
I really enjoy Jill’s ‘Cardio and gentle circuits’, which is suitable for all levels of fitness and I always end up feeling like I’ve achieved a little more than I expected to. This is an excellent class to get your heart rate up and build muscle. Erin’s ‘Low impact dance‘ class is also a cardio workout and it’s lots of fun and possibly my current favourite, maybe because it’s on a Monday mid afternoon, often right when I’m feeling in dire need of a lift!
Although I really like Margarita’s ‘Yogalates‘ class, especially the knee and standing exercises, I just couldn’t continue with the floor sitting exercises, despite my determination, as my legs ached for days afterwards. So I spoke to Margarita and she suggested I use a dining chair instead of sitting on the floor and it’s made all the difference. I can now really enjoy the class and definitely feel a huge benefit from it, just without the post class pain. It’s so encouraging that all the instructors take the needs of all participants into account in this way.
It’s clear the team at The Joy Club are always working hard to improve the experience of members, from looking for new events to keep what must be a very diverse range of people from all walks of life – with different interests and different levels of involvement – engaged to regularly updating the way the website works to make navigating it easier. A new addition is the introduction of ‘Listen and learn anywhere’ audio recordings for when we’re literally on-the-go or are unable to read an article or watch a video.
There are three episodes currently available and, although I haven’t yet attended any of her classes, I woke one night unable to fall back to sleep and so I pulled up the audio on my phone and listened to the recording of ‘Guided meditation with Lily Gauri‘ and was feeling relaxed and content within a short time. The audio stops itself, just as a podcast does so it doesn’t matter if you just fall asleep while it’s on. This is a great idea and I hope more audio recordings are available soon.
Another new innovation is the ‘Meet the experts’ contributor profiles, which have started to appear and this added information gives us a little more insight into the lives of some of the instructors and members who write articles. Such a nice way to learn a little more about these lovely people!
Anna Treasure gave us all some great advice in her blog entitled ‘How to build your own ‘self care’ toolkit‘. Stress will always take its toll on us (no matter how strong we may believe we are), so Anna’s ideas on what we may like to include in our own toolkit and why were very helpful. She advised that we should try to identify our own self-care tools to make it easier to realise why we may not be feeling our best and to dip into when necessary.
The Joy Club events help tremendously here if I’m feeling stressed or troubled as my own self care toolkit includes joining live or playing a recording of Margarita’s ‘Gentle Hatha yoga‘ to help me relax and control my breathing, while burning a relaxing scented candle, or I may prepare a favourite super healthy meal filled with a rainbow of colours, as advised by Valentina in her nutritional talks.
Aside from The Joy Club there’s Wordle, which my eldest granddaughter and I compete at every morning before we even get out of bed, texting each other hints as necessary! Or I enjoy a walk in nature just taking in the delights of a little wood and the birdsong. The latest self care tool in my armoury is tying together all my lovely Mother’s Day and birthday cards using a hole punch and some ribbon, so I can easily read and re-read all the kind words my beautiful family, grandchildren and friends had to say to me. Now, that’s magic self-care for me and simply the best way of cheering myself up when it’s necessary.
Finally, we were offered another brilliant talk from Colin Stuart called ‘Introduction to stargazing‘. This was so interesting and very educational and, like all of Colin’s tutorials, delivered in a non-science-jargon-y way. He gave us details of the Stellarium app to download from which you can view the entire night sky in extraordinary detail and I learned loads of things such as the fact that you can actually see five other planets with the naked eye. Plus, who knew that the International Space Station, as we watch it on Christmas Eve with the younger grandchildren still believing it’s Santa on his trial run, is actually travelling at 17,500 mph! I was enthralled and afterwards dug out my dad’s old binoculars (he’d have been delighted), downloaded the Stellarium app and I’m ready! I happened to mention this class to my 11 year old grandson, who promptly flew upstairs and came back five minutes later with a telescope, which I had no idea he owned! He downloaded the app and got very into it all too. I had to leave before it was dark, so I don’t know what happened later, but I like to think that Colin and I may have just sparked some interest in space and astronomy in him!
Want to see what’s coming up next month? See our full events calendar here.