We would like to introduce you to our fantastic Tai Chi instructor Sonya Robinson. Sonya has been teaching us all a thing or two about flexibility, and muscles we didn’t know existed, since she joined us in January this year.
We sat down with Sonya to find out more about her passion for health and fitness, and how Tai Chi can help us keep strong and supple as we get older.
Sonya has been a Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer since 2004, kick-starting her passion for professional fitness by learning the martial art of International Taekwon-do.
While working towards her first black belt – yes, first – Sonya realised that she wanted to make a career out of fitness, so she quit her travel agency job and began taking various group fitness classes including Zumba, Zumba Gold, cardio kick fit, low impact aerobics, stretch and strengthen sessions and aqua aerobics.
From mid-2007, Sonya began sharing her fitness knowledge at retirement villages.
Sonya believes that it’s really important that the elderly continue moving “as much as you can, for as long as you can and more importantly, you need to enjoy doing it as well” she says.
After sustaining an ACL injury in 2016, Sonya decided that she needed a change of intensity and discovered the Tai Chi for Health Program by Dr Paul Lam – a modernised, westernised form of Tai Chi which has been developed to make the health benefits of Tai Chi accessible to all.
Sonya describes Tai Chi as a more holistic approach to exercise as it can be performed while standing, sitting or lying down. This allows older people or those with limited movement to participate almost irrespective of their current physical condition.
The process of performing Tai Chi is simply to work within your own limits. Nothing is forced, and Sonya likens the exercise to a “moving meditation.” Tai Chi is well documented as improving strength, balance, flexibility, relaxation and a positive frame of mind.
Sonya has recently added a section of Functional Fitness to her exercise session for those that want more challenging activity, although this part can be done seated as well. This section of activity is focused on assisting your body for daily tasks, which is helpful for when you get a little bit older and can use some additional muscle and joint strength for lifting, carrying and general movement.
Sonya has already become a firm favourite among our staff and residents, and we look forward to seeing her every Friday for our fitness fill.