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, the seventh of eleven children. After moving to British Columbia with her two daughters in 1957, she had no time for sports until she retired from teaching in 1984. She first played softball and then, at age 77, tried track and field. Olga enthusiastically pushed … Continue reading Aging well: Olga Kotelko

Yoga and cardio: Can you really change your genetic destiny?

In January my friend Louise, a writing teacher, environmental activist, and yoga practitioner, had a small heart attack. Around the same time, I heard that one of Canada’s senior-most Iyengar yoga teachers had an aortic dissection. It struck me that two females and lifelong yogis, have heart disease. It made me wonder about the value of aerobic exercise, also called “cardio” and touted to prevent heart trouble. Do you do cardio? Casual yoga students typically do other sporty activities, such as running, swimming, and cycling. In fact, they often view asana as complementary to their main sport. But what about serious yogis … Continue reading Yoga and cardio: Can you really change your genetic destiny?

Snap, crackle, pop

Listen when a yoga class does its first trikonasana of the day. Pop, pop, pop! You’ll probably hear a chorus of hip joints cracking. The spine is just as prone to making sounds, especially when doing neck rolls and supine twists. Even simply lying down can readjust the sacroiliac joint with a little click. We also have our own quirkily click-y joints, whether it’s a right ankle or oft-clenched jaw. Joint cracking can feel good. When my mid spine pops during a deep twist, I feel a pleasant release and can rotate further. Same with the femur-in-hip-socket example: this is … Continue reading Snap, crackle, pop