“Aging with Joy & Grace”

As soon as we are born, we are all aging but how do we age with “joy” and even “grace” ? Can we site some examples ? How does YOGA come into play ? Here we are gathering around to hear a well  articulated presentation by Will Meecham MD.  Will is a yogi and a doctor, a yoga teacher trained at Niroga who was our anatomy and physiology teacher for our year one curriculum.  Google him to find his MindfulBiology.org,  a beautiful blog site he created worth checking out for anyone interested in a different perspective as we relate to our body and …life.

I recommend reading up his articles under the system, HEART & CIRCULATION, this month being a heart health month.  He is insightful coming from a perspective of someone who did the typical and grueling med-school and practicing doctor stint and now sharing his wisdom.Aging with Joy & Grace was the title to last weekend’s yoga therapist training. Among some 50? attendees finding mat space on the labyrinth at Oakland Peace Center. Making up this module missed last year while in Japan for my mothers birthday. Reminded how my mother would make a great guest to teach this particular module as she would make a role model for many of us. There’s gratitude always felt because it’s only because of her support system of kind social services provided to seniors in Japan. Gratitude to tradition and culture where seniors are respected for their wisdom and the frail cared for as there’s a clear acceptance that we are all aging as long as we are living. There’s no exclusion and denial of this natural stages of our lifeline. It’s okay to accept it and go with the flow while doing everything you can to tend to the temple of body, mind & spirit.

Sad to not be there this year but need this for my yoga therapist certification … long and fruitful journey I know she supports. My feelings of guilt vanished as I listened to a voice message she left on the phone unanswered (looks like she called 2 am US time, hahaha)  “you don’t have to get me any gifts as the best gift for me is to know you are happy and healthy. Be sure to take care of yourself.”

Happy Birthday Mama!

International Smorgasbord

That’s Tokyo. The city seems to be getting ready to host the 2020 summer Olympics and one thing that’s for sure is that no athletes or staff or spectators are going to go hungry. Or not have enough culinary options – here I cite typical ramen, Indian, Egyptian, and of course, American…Shake Shack!? Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, omnivore … it’s all available from all regions of the world.  It is truly an international city with the Old & the New; East and West fusion all around.

Yoga for athletes? What would that look like?

That would depend on the sports but would be interesting to explore … as a good warm up or conditioning or as much needed resilience to not break under pressure. That last skill is something we can all use –  A world-class athlete or not, to have that skill to better manage stress; to use stress for its positive effects rather than stew in its negative effects.

Doga = Yoga with a Dog

Smiling dogs everywhere !  Sometimes they even laugh as they play on this surf … They are very expressive beings.

Down dog with a dog 🐕 in the waves feels good 🙂 The above are photos from last Sunday walk with other paws friends. Time spent with our canine BFF got me thinking about how to better teach a dog.

Having been going mostly to teachers’ classes where one is always humbled by some other superhuman yogi flying through the air and striking a side-crow, it’s a reality check. It’s a reality to check to teach yoga to regular you and me who do yoga after work or on weekends, that is,  after caring for family members, after that snarly commute, after feeding the hungry … after that long day 9- 5 and more work, in all the roles you play and different hats you wear, to show up –  as part of the overall fitness program.  It’s not the ashram in India or a monk life in the temple in Japan shutting out the world here – to take time out for self-care to find insights from this ancient but modern practice for self- care.  It’s real and so needed so we can be fully engaged and awake and embracing of this life.  It’s a surprising reality that some people find even a Child’s pose a challenge.  But not down dog.  It’s all about which body part is in need of some TLC and recovery.

t’s actually challenging to teach in an all levels class because you have to be mindful of everyone and noticing who is not following the cues. Often the “flow” is interrupted by those who are fumbling … or worse, giving up. Looked over the divine faces attending my class for “normal folks” and in that initial exchange realized I have someone in his 20’s – a runner and in contrast a senior in her early 70’s completely new to Yoga and … all in between with various issues attending the same class ! If that’s not scary or even terrorizing, I don’t know what is – just kidding – really enjoy the mix of abilities, levels, and conditions – and seeing how to make all poses accessible to every single practitioner. My intention is earnestly just that.  I am not trying to dumb it down nor am I trying to turn off anyone – I just want everyone to get hooked the way I was …and that may mean referring to another teacher or suggesting another style more in tune with their uncovered needs.

Down dog tutorial can be helpful for those who don’t feel the joy in this pose. Often the beginners are just imitating the outward shape (and actually, down-dog is not a beginner pose …).  In a self-critiquing, or feeling rushed, they forgo accessing their own proprioception to get the best out of the pose.  If just copying the appearance of a pose, and without upper body strength, then unfortunately their wrists or their lower back and shoulders may suffer.  And breath?  What do you mean? Right.

Let’s deconstruct this pose to find more ease and freedom ❤️🐾  Your dog may not look like the dog images you see on yoga magazine covers. Your imprint may be different. But you are going to feel so much better.