Fall/Winter Newsletter 2003

1- A ZEST FOR LIFE

My husband has a widowed cousin who is 97 years old. In spite of life's setbacks, disappointments and losses, she remains amazingly involved and cheerful. Until recently, when she got really angry because a family member took her car keys away from her. I have to laugh when I think of her. She was actually seen driving down the street when a patrol car began to ease onto the street she was driving on. She wasn't about to slow down - she simply blasted her horn at him until he went into reverse to get out of her way! But the point is, as her birthdays come and go she remains involved and activite. She has been a marvelous example to all who know her.

Then there is an acquaintance of ours who is also elderly, and is legally blind. She stays involved in her community and church, and also is a staunch follower of her favorite college football team. Although it takes several hours to travel to and from the games, she attends faithfully. When someone asked why she went to the game if she couldn't see, she let them know she can still hear…she takes her little transistor radio to get the play by play action. She is still a part of the cheering crowd, absorbing the joys of the day.

On the other hand, my husband and I volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels. There are several widows on our route that come to mind that hurt my heart so. They live alone, they keep the shades drawn and their homes are dark. They stay in their little housecoats, the TV being their constant companion. I will try to encourage them to step outside, or sit on their porches and rock…. get some sun on their faces, but there seems to be no desire there. These dear ladies are not ill, and they are not as old as our cousin, but it would appear they long ago gave up on living life.

No doubt, some individuals are blessed with a 'happy go lucky' attitude. They are very fortunate, indeed, as others tend to be of a more serious, introspective nature. Some of us have to work harder at being lighthearted and joyful. The very important thing to note, however, is that it ultimately comes down to a choice one makes. Regardless of age, we can either choose to fully partake of life, and to give of ourselves, or we can gradually let things go, one at a time, until there is nothing left but a TV for companionship. Let us all encourage each other to really get involved in living, in being active, in pursuing new interests throughout our lifetime. This starts with our little children, teaching them early on. You might be amazed how depression is lifted and becomes a stranger when you invite "LIVING AND GIVING OF SELF" into your life, whether you are a teenager or in your 90's. It is your choice.

"You can get old pretty young if you don't take care of yourself." Yogi Berra


2- STRENGTHEN YOUR BACK!

The Basic Cobra is one of the very finest exercises to strengthen the lower back. It is simple to do, and it's one of the poses where you can actually feel very specifically where the work is taking place. Our low backs take a beating from us through poor posture, improper lifting, and too many hours sitting at a desk, to name only a few causes. Here is how it works:

Lie on a padded floor, face down. Keep your feet together, and the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Bend your elbows, keeping your arms close to your sides, with your arms and palms flat on the floor. Inhale, slowly lifting your forehead, nose, and chin off the floor. Using your lower back muscles, pull your chest off the floor as high as possible, NOT USING YOUR ARMS OR HANDS. Make the back muscles do all the work. Hold several seconds, slowly lower, and repeat several times. You must keep your arms and hands on the floor, but be absolutely certain you are not "helping" your back by pushing your arms into the floor.

Think of the snake, the cobra, how it slithers on the grass, and then suddenly brings part of its body straight up into the upright position. That helps to emphasize the degree of arch you would like to achieve in your lower back.

3- YOGA FOR JOCKS

What a joy! A really terrific article appeared in the October 2003 issue of Smart Money magazine identifying Oakland A's pitcher, Barry Zito, tennis pros Robby Ginepri and Justin Gimelstob, Mets pitcher, Al Leiter, the Titans runningback, Eddie George, Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal, golf pros David Duval, Ty Tyron and J. L. Lewis, NY Giants wide receiver, Amani Toomer as yoga advocates. The article was actually excerpted from the book "Real Men do Yoga" by John Capouya. You might be able to pull the article up on the magazine's website which is: www.smartmoney.com

I loved the article because it describes the yoga that I practice and teach. No nonsense…no mysticism…just legitimate, solid, outstanding poses to lengthen and strengthen the body, de-stress the mind, rejuvenate the joints, increase range of motion throughout the body, increase concentration and balancing skills…and so much more! More and more men are getting into yoga, and well they should. The overall benefits are just simply short of phenomenal!

4- I'M ON THE TRAIN…and I'm NOT getting off!

This is just an expression I came up with while teaching a class recently. Essentially, it puts into a nutshell my way of looking at fitness. If you're OUT of shape, it takes a lot of determination, discipline and effort to get back IN shape. If you are already IN shape, it requires the same attributes, but to a much lesser degree. It is much easier to STAY in shape than it is to GET in shape. I will forever be grateful that I got into yoga 30 years ago, and stayed with it. My desire is to infect everyone I can with enthusiasm for this gentle, age old incredibly effective means of gentle, therapeutic exercise. The only time it is too late to start is when you stop breathing. It is really unsettling for me to see people get started, and they get excited about their progress, and then slowly begin to slack off, a little here, a little there, and then they quit altogether. They will have to climb the mountain starting from scratch again, and for many, it is a defeating thought. For those who don't want to make the effort, and give up on proper diet and exercise, there is a great loss in quality of life and health. That's why I'm on the train, and I'm NOT getting off! Won't you join me?

5- THERAPEUTIC YOGA FOR PREGNANCY

Yoga and pregnancy are a very wonderful and natural fit. Even though yoga can be very gentle, there are some things you need to be particularly aware of. Here are some suggestions:

DO NOT EXERCISE FLAT ON YOUR BACK after the 4th month. As the baby grows, there is more pressure placed on the your major blood vessels. As pressure is put on these blood vessels, particularly the Vena Cava (a vein that brings blood back to the heart from the legs and pelvis) the flow of blood can be restricted to the your brain and to the placenta. This can cause light-headedness and dizziness. Some mothers don't experience any of the above, and are able to continue their practice normally.

Avoid exercises that pull or strain the abdomen. Avoid inverted poses and any poses that feel uncomfortable. Be careful to not contract the abdominal muscles, particularly in forward stretching. Be sure to bend from the hip joints and not the waistline. DO NOT OVER-STRETCH during pregnancy! During this time, a hormone called relaxin is secreted and has a loosening and softening effect on ligaments. Overstretching ligaments may cause unstable joints.

STRETCH HAMSTRINGS AND INNER THIGH MUSCLES slowly and consistently after lengthy periods of sitting. This will stimulate the circulation and release muscular tension. Something as simple as standing upright, then slowly folding forward at the hip joints, not the waist. . Keep your spine, neck and head in a straight line, making a "tabletop" with your back. Place your hands on your knees, lengthen your lumbar back muscles as well as your hamstrings. Breathe softly, hold for a few seconds, enjoying the depth of the gentle stretch, and come back upright.

For stretching the inner thighs, try separating your feet a good distance apart, folding forward at your hipjoints, putting your knuckles on the floor in the center, between your feet . Be certain to have a good foothold so you don't slip. Bend one knee, stretching the opposite inner thigh, hold briefly, then straighten and bend the other knee. Alternate several times, and your legs will surely feel lengthened and refreshed. Our pregnancy video should be a wonderful addition to your exercise library!


6- A LITTLE CARB IS OK

I try to limit my carbohydrate daily intake, but I've always been fond of baked potatoes. I have found a very tasty and satisfying way to greatly reduce the carbs and calories by using the small potatoes, known as "new", or the little red potatoes. These should not be any larger than a golf ball. Wash the potatoes well and pierce them with a fork. Put them in the microwave a little above mid power for a short period of time - all microwaves work differently, so just check to see when they are getting a bit soft. Don't overcook! Here are some suggestions:

  • Quarter the potatoes, or cut into even smaller sections, spray with fat free Pam, sprinkle with powdered seasoning of your choice, and put under the broiler to get crisp.
  • Spray the whole potato with butter flavored Pam and put under the broiler to get crisp.
  • Sprinkle with lemon herb powdered seasoning before putting under broiler.
  • Split open and fill with your choice of low cal, low fat, low carb, cholesterol free…whatever discipline you are using in your diet.

A serving of two potatoes is very sufficient, and fills that carb craving, but doesn't have the down side of overdoing a good thing.

   
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Yoga is very scientific exersise and Priscilla is an excellent teacher - the class 


My wife and I don\'t really know how many years we have been participants