By VINCE REMBULAT
STOCKTON – Rains and heavy winds pelted the Central Valley on Friday morning. But for a few folks inside the Weberstown Mall, it was business as usual.
They’re part of the Stockton Mall Walk, which happens to be more than just that.
Inside this climate-controlled indoor facility consisting of 855,800 square feet of retail space is a flurry fun and free activities to kick off the day, from line dancing to Tai Chi.
The mall opens daily at 6:45 a.m.
Many use walking as their daily exercise. They’ll window shop or grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks inside the Barnes & Noble book store, which happens to be the only place open at this time.
Weberstown Mall, which opened in 1966, is anchored by J.C. Penney, Sears and Dillard’s.
These stores along with Old Navy, Forever 21, See’s Candies, Spencer’s Gift, and Hot Topics, to name a few, usually opens for business at 10 a.m.
But before that, the mall has been used for years for morning walkers.
In recent years, yoga was added.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, classes are offered here.
“All are welcome to practice with us, taking care to treat yourself gently,” according to the Stockton Mall Walk program. “Those without much experience will learn some great stretches and how to adjust complex poses into safe beginning positions as you increase your flexibility.”
Walkers of all ages will do laps inside the mall, passing various classes in sessions.
I joined some of the walkers on this day, following the outlying path inside the mall.
Many did so alone while others were joined by friends or family, sharing this time to engage in conversation.
As for classes, Tai Chi is one of the more popular ones.
Sessions are held in front of Penney’s, with those involved using rhythmic and meditative body movements designed to enhance relaxation, inner calm and peace.
Tai Chi is a Chinese discipline that’s centuries old with many health benefits.
On the north end of the mall, in front of Sears, is a line dancing classes.
Like Tai Chi, line dancing has its share of health benefits, including improved balance, foot work, rhythm, and, in some cases, confidence.
“Fun, Friends, and Fitness for all” – that’s the slogan of the Weberstown walkers.