Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Book Report: How to Use Yoga

Mira Mehta’s book How to Use Yoga is a good introductory yoga text.  After some basic background information, it goes through 41 poses in detail with variations and lots of photos.  Some information about pranayama is also included.  Then it all comes together in a ten-week program in which all the poses are deployed in sequences.  Of particular interest are the additional sequences for headaches, tight hips, and the like (a quibble:  menstruation is not exactly a “problem” in the same way backache or tight shoulders can be; perhaps “special cases” would have been a less misogynistic phrasing…).

Because the book is rooted in the Iyengar tradition, there are lots of props, so the poses are more accessible for those of us who are not currently flexible.  This is a good resource for pretty much anyone, although not all poses are appropriate for all people.  Use good judgment and/or check in with a doctor before getting too enthused!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Everybody quotes Bilbo and Lao Tse, right?

Many times, we are told that we can make changes by baby steps.  It’s true.  But what we may not realize is that we are still making changes and changes have a way of snowballing.  Bilbo Baggins tells Frodo, “It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  Or, if you prefer a different formulation, Lao Tse notes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

There is good news and bad news here.  I like to get the bad news over with, so:  change is often hard and unpredictable.  Sometimes we encounter resistance from unexpected places and people.  Sometimes we have to do things that are harder than we thought we could.  Sometimes we might get stuck or fail.

The good news is that all changes happen one step at a time.  We can start any time.  If we just keep taking the next step, we will make progress.  Just don’t be surprised when our little walk suddenly leads us to weight lifting and then to a reevaluation of what we’re eating and maybe a lot more water-drinking and then maybe some yoga and the need for new and smaller pants…

Deep breath, folks.  We’re stepping out the door and we’re going to end up somewhere amazing!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Five by five!

Some of us love cardio.  Some of us love weights.  (Some of us love the couch most of all.)  All of us can use a little motivation, so here are five reasons to do cardio and five to lift weights, just in case the couch is winning today.

Good reasons to do cardio:
• It burns calories.
• It invigorates the brain and clears the mind.
• It improves mood.
• It helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
• It builds endurance for other fun stuff.

Good reasons to lift weights:
• It makes us stronger, so we can carry our own stuff and open our own jars.
• It builds bone density, making us more resilient as we age.
• It increases our metabolism.
• It makes us look better.
• It is empowering.

Go do it!