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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 routine works well for me. Forgoing a late meal simplifies my life and frees my remaining evening time to do some work or correspondence. I also avoid a mad dash home, compelled to eat. And I prefer sleeping on an empty stomach. Two recent articles in the New York Times corroborated my early … 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 sniffing everywhere. Food was, and always will be, her great passion. Today, despite some creakiness in her joints and limbs, she still has daunting “get up and go.” She is never tardy for her morning walk, much less any meal (hers, mine, yours). Five years ago, she was going grey … 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, which won the 2014 World Cup, and founder of EXOS, a Phoenix-based athletic training company. I substituted this routine for my yoga practice two mornings a week. I ramped it up to a workout by increasing the number of repetitions and sets–and lengthening the distance covered when skipping and … 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 Oz talked about it. For breakfast and dinner, Cathy drank liquid meals: soups, smoothies, and Vitamix juices. Lunch could include vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry, and, if necessary (for active people), gluten-free whole grains. She is now re-introducing foodstuff one at a time, to see if any have negative effects. … 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 visited Vancouver Coastal Heath Travel Clinic. I opted to get boosters for all recommended vaccines: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, typhoid. My prior vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, polio, measles, mumps, and rubella didn’t need boosters. In addition, to counter gastrointestinal trouble, I took Dukoral, a two-dose … Continue reading Rx for India
Prepare to be impressed. Can Phyllis Sues really be 90 years old? You can’t really guess her age any more since she went through Blepharoplasty Beverly Hills.Go to her website and see her in action: tango dancing, jumping rope, playing tennis, doing yoga, swinging on a trapeze, hiking. From her 20s to her 40s, she was a professional dancer and entertainer. She then became a fashion designer, running a women’s apparel company for two decades. In the early 2000s, in her 80s, she took up the piano and tango dancing. At 85 she began practicing yoga. Now, five years hence, she is doing a bunch of challenging poses, as illustrated … Continue reading Aging well: Phyllis Sues
Ever been injured in a yoga class? Chances are, we’ve all felt a twinge in one class or another. So, who’s at fault? The teacher? The student? Or are occasional tweaks simply part of being active and exploring our limits? Since William Broad began writing about yoga injuries in the New York Times, most fingers have been pointed at unqualified yoga teachers. Michaelle Edwards, founder of YogAlign, goes further, claiming that yoga injuries are prevalent because many poses are anatomically incompatible with the human body. This is a complex issue, too long for a blog post. A few thoughts for starters: Pain versus strong sensation In February, a few weeks … Continue reading Yoga injuries: who’s at fault?
Old age. Why do we dread it? A common fear is ill health, which is probably why 95-year-old Olga Kotelko, the first in my Aging Well series, is so impressive. Another concern is loneliness. There will come a point when we lose friends and our closest companions. That’s why I’m now featuring Misao Ihara, whom I discovered in The Daily Life of a Grandma and Her Odd-Eyed Cat in Demilked, a design blog. Misao Ihara found this stray cat with mismatched eyes and called it Fukumaru, so that “the god of fuku (good fortune) would come and everything will be smoothed over like … Continue reading Aging well: Misao Ihara