The longstanding West Point Grey CC patron shares some local yoga history and tells us how she’s using her contest winnings

The Oak Room is packed with people on mats doing something rather novel at the time, and among them is an avid student, Joanne Tait. Now in her 60s, Joanne began frequenting West Point Grey Community Centre back in the 1980s for yoga classes led by the vanguard yoga instructor, Sandra Sammartino.

“Back then, people thought we were practicing a new religion, because not many knew about yoga,” remarks Joanne.

“We were a pretty noisy group. Classmates would be groaning while stretching, and then Sandra would come over and help them stretch deeper and they would groan some more. The classes were very popular. She would have 35 students on average in the Oak Room.”

Joanne continued to practice yoga at West Point Grey CC after that with instructor Natalia Nemetz, who was a student of Sandra’s.

“Aberthau has a unique energy,” she says. “The Oak Room is very conducive to yoga because it is warm, cozy, architecturally interesting and has lots of windows. It’s also close to my home!”

Raising a family in West Point Grey

Originally from North Vancouver, Joanne moved to the West Point Grey neighbourhood in her 40s, where she and her husband later raised their two children.

“My husband and I took the kids to dance and art classes. My son, who is now in his late 20s, still uses the gym” at West Point Grey CC, notes Joanne.

A former docent/ teacher at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Joanne recently took the Art for Wellness Program at West Point Grey CC with instructors Colleen Sheridan and Amber Murray.

“I thought Art for Wellness was an extremely good program,” says Joanne. “They gave us lots of material and art supplies to work with, and guided us through new mediums and ideas. It reopened my creative process.”

When Joanne is not working part-time as a personal assistant, she likes to walk her Lhasa Apso dog named Cody, who is now 12 years old, and meet with friends and neighbours. She also belongs to a very active book club. “I’m hosting the next book club meeting, so there is a lot of preparation work to be done,” she says. “We’re pretty thorough when it comes to our discussions, and the host needs to prepare questions to ask the group.”

How Joanne is using her contest winnings

Joanne is the winner of the West Point Grey CC December 2018 e-newsletter contest for a $50 gift card towards a winter program of her choice. The contest is offered periodically in the e-newsletter as a way to say thank you to patrons for supporting our community centre.

“I was so happy to win,” exclaims Joanne. “I haven’t won anything in a really long time. Plus, it has motivated me to try something new!”

With her contest winnings, Joanne registered for the Pottery and Wine Night event on March 1 with instructor Cheryl Stapleton. Despite going to many of the West Point Grey CC semi-annual Pottery Sales, this will be Joanne’s first pottery class. “I am expanding my creative repertoire,” she says with a smile.

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