by Penny Hammond
I joined River Flow Holistic at the end of last year, with classes being in person until March and then online/video classes since then. While I loved having classes in person, the Zoom classes have been excellent and I’ve been getting as much out of them as the in-person classes. We’ve got attendees from different parts of the country, and it’s much easier for me to join evening classes. Since I started, my balance, grounding, and strength have improved, both physically and mentally/emotionally. Last year I had severe back pain, with a bulging disk, and it was a very strong wake-up call that I had to treat and balance my body better. I had previously looked into Tai Chi, but hadn’t found anything locally that fit – there were some with bad reviews, some that only did it once a week, and many that assumed you were retired and could take classes in the middle of the work day – even some that said you had to be over 50 to join. When I found River Flow Holistic last year, I recognized that they specialized in these methods for all kinds of people and I was excited to have the introductory session. It was obvious from the start that Juyoung and River want you to become healthy and thrive in every way. I was introduced to qigong, energy training – tai chi is a subset of this, and we do both in class. The first focus for me was the feet, making sure I had a strong foundation to be able to do the movements and poses/stances (forms) in a way that would strengthen me and reduce my risk of injury. We get individual guidance regularly, and in class the teachers are looking to check how we’re doing and providing gentle direction if we’re not doing things in the most beneficial way. When my back was bad they would say “if you have a bad back, don’t do this / do this gently / modify this way” – in the classes I also hear advice for if you have shoulder pain, neck pain, knee pain, etc. – they know the issues of the class members and make sure that everybody is doing what’s best for their own body condition. We’re also advised on daily exercises to overcome individual issues and having an everyday focus on movement. It's such a pleasure to learn from true teachers and experts. With Juyoung, expect smiling, laughing, fun, and encouragement to love your body and treat it well, as well as amazing personal advice and attention. I don’t interact with River as much, but I recognize that he has wisdom and masteries that are beyond my current level and I look forward to learning more from him. I leave every class feeling better, having connected with friendly people and relaxed while energizing. I move differently now, finding myself flow smoothly while doing everyday things like yardwork and cooking. I look forward to continuing my journey and growing my energy.