When I first tried yoga two decades ago, I was coming off a back injury. Well, not an injury per se. Just inexplicable, transient discomfort in my lower back. At work, sitting at my computer, I’d feel restless and just plain achy. My employer was very accommodating about ergonomics. My chair was well made and…… Continue reading Nagging Aches and Pains: An Introduction
In Berkeley in the late 1990s, I learned to balance in Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand) step by step. At first I didn’t even try to balance, but just kicked up to a wall, one leg at a time. Once up, I’d try moving my feet away from the wall. Wobbly at first, I eventually could…… Continue reading Fear of falling
In January I somehow pulled a muscle in my back while teaching. Exactly when and how I did it, I don’t know. Perhaps I twisted too deeply demonstrating Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose). I was teaching “cold,” from not warming up beforehand and from the freezing winter temperature outside. Toward the end of class…… Continue reading Are you in touch with your breath?
Inverted poses are important in Iyengar yoga. Senior practitioners often cite an inversion as their most essential pose. (Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) seems to be a favorite.) Can anyone do inversions? General contraindications include spinal disorders, hypertension, and glaucoma. Recently, however, I’ve met yoga students with glaucoma who do brief inversions with the approval of their ophthalmologists. Hmm… Around the same time, I…… Continue reading Should you go upside-down if you have glaucoma?
Several months ago, I acquired 100 grams of matcha from someone who sources it directly from a Kyoto farmer. Japanese green teas, such as sencha and gyokuro, are my favorites, but I’d rarely had matcha. I immediately did a Google search for “matcha preparation.” Among the many links appeared was a video by a young man named Kohei Yamamoto (no relation), “How to…… Continue reading Matcha: traditional versus trendy
On the third Sunday in April, I woke with a sore throat. By evening, I had laryngitis. Strange symptom chronology. And strange timing. Already spring! Sunny enough to go glove- and scarf-free. How incongruous to be sick. After a week of coughing so hard that I self-diagnosed myself with pertussis, I recovered enough to resume teaching yoga, and…… Continue reading My first time: nasal irrigation
In early 2014, I strained a left hamstring muscle near the origin. Or an external rotator in the left hip. Or something. It snuck up on me. There was no acute injury. I simply noticed less range of motion (ROM) in straight-legged, forward-bending poses, marked by a pulling sensation on the lateral side of the sitting bone. Initially I was sure that whatever…… Continue reading Case study: hamstring strain (or something)
Twice a week, I teach yoga in the evening. On Sundays, I can make it home by 8pm. On Tuesdays, I’m not back until 9pm. If I then eat dinner, it’s very late by the time I clean up, take a shower, and turn on my computer. So I began eating a late afternoon snack and skipping dinner. This…… Continue reading Coordinating yoga class and dinnertime
The next star in my Aging Well series would be a centenarian if she were human. In dog years, she’s 15. Meet, Momo, a Labrador Retriever with high energy, strong will, sleek physique, and unbridled enthusiasm. When we adopted her almost five years ago, she acted like a dog half her age. She’d roam Kits beach, chasing herons, swimming, ignoring commands, and…… Continue reading Aging Well: Momo the Black Lab
In early September, I chanced upon the New York Times article, “Train Like a German Soccer Star,” by Gretchen Reynolds. After seven weeks abroad, I’d just returned to Vancouver, still gloriously sunny. Rather than resuming my pre-trip routine, I decided to try something new. Check out the eight warm-up exercises developed by Mark Verstegen, team trainer for the German national football team,…… Continue reading Train like a German soccer star
For three weeks, my yoga student “Cathy” did a detoxifying dietary cleanse. She followed the bestseller Clean, by Alejandro Junger, and eliminated caffeine, sugar, gluten grains, dairy, soy, eggs, red meat, nightshades, alcohol, and specific fruits, including oranges, strawberries, and bananas. Along with trying an alternative source with many benefits, I think it’s forskolin by Dr Oz or just forskolin and Dr…… Continue reading You are what you eat
Every morning I take Florastor, a probiotic, and Malarone, an anti-malaria drug, with my breakfast. I don’t know anyone else taking an anti-malarial. In fact, I debated about filling the prescription for Malarone, which cost more than CA$200 for a 40-day supply. But I decided to err on the safe side. Three or four months before I left, I…… Continue reading Rx for India