Home practice in my hometown

Flying into Hilo, my hometown, two weeks ago, I gazed out the airplane window. An endless, supersaturated palette of green, along the Hamakua Coast. While much of the world, including California (my subsequent stomping ground) is suffering from drought, Hilo has had over 12 inches of rain in the month of April alone. The aerial view was striking. What a vast bountiful island. So…… Continue reading Home practice in my hometown

Aging well: Misao Ihara

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…… Continue reading Aging well: Misao Ihara

Take it to the next level

Last summer, I resumed freestyle lap swimming after a hiatus. I’m purely a rec swimmer and will never be super fast, but I still want to cut my 1000-meter time, 25 minutes. “What’s a ‘decent’ 1000-meter swim time?” I asked my yoga student who does triathlons. Here’s her paraphrased answer: It depends. A fast swimmer will…… Continue reading Take it to the next level

Aging well: Olga Kotelko

Nowadays it’s no surprise to see super fit and active 70- and 80-somethings. But beyond 90? I recently (and belatedly) read “The Incredible Flying Nonagenarian” by Bruce Grierson (New York Times, November 25, 2010) about Olga Kotelko, almost 95, world champion in track and field. Born in 1919, she grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan,…… Continue reading Aging well: Olga Kotelko

Yoga… and the rest of your life

A few years ago, I was walking along the seawall at Kitsilano Beach. There’s a segment where the seawall separates the path from a drop (Six feet? Eight feet?) to the beach below. A friend I’ll call MJ dared me to walk atop the seawall. It’s encouragingly over a foot wide. But would I risk toppling from…… Continue reading Yoga… and the rest of your life

When things go wrong

In June, I accidentally ate some Canadian bacon. It was hidden in the supposedly meatless frittata that I ordered. I’d eaten a few bites before I suddenly spied an unmistakable pink shred of… “What is this?” I asked the counter girl, whom I knew from prior visits to the cafe. “Bacon.” I was incredulous. I’d…… Continue reading When things go wrong

Reading, doing yoga, and other “essential” activities

Last month I found myself at YVR, awaiting a flight, oddly without anything to read. I skimmed the magazines and books, noting the jacked-up Canadian prices. Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club, which I recognized from a review, caught my eye. Flipping through the book, I saw a reference to Somerset Maugham’s The…… Continue reading Reading, doing yoga, and other “essential” activities

Where’s your psoas? Your sacrum? Your big-toe mound?

If a yoga teacher refers to your psoas, do you know what she’s talking about? The Iyengar method of teaching yoga is precise and detailed. Instructions are conveyed visually (through demos) and verbally (through words). Teachers sometimes discuss whether specific anatomical terms should be used. Is it better to say “hamstrings” or “back thighs”? Can…… Continue reading Where’s your psoas? Your sacrum? Your big-toe mound?

Regular practice in de-cluttering, yoga, and being a good aunt

After my thorough New Year’s de-cluttering, I was quite satisfied… for a few days. Then I saw books, notes, pet fur, and fresh debris re-invading my immaculate space. Banishing clutter is not an occasional project—it must be regular practice. I’m reminded of a yoga teacher’s anecdote three years ago, which I cited in Clearing the…… Continue reading Regular practice in de-cluttering, yoga, and being a good aunt

Time to move on

Clean out closets. Purge paper files. Erase hard drives and recycle old Macs. Dozens of housekeeping tasks have been nagging me for months. Finally, with 2013 breathing down my neck, I’m getting rid of this baggage. It’s been weighing me down. But, while I’m inclined toward neatness and order, discarding stuff is painstaking. Why do…… Continue reading Time to move on