Category Archives: Yoga

Slow Down Your Life: Letting Go of Technology’s Grasp

Barbara Brady
Barbara Brady

Is it just us?  Women over fifty who feel like our life is speeding up each day, and it’s all we can do to keep our  head above water? Jogging in the woods this January, I felt that way, and thought if I could pretend it was 1970 something instead of 2014, then maybe I could slow my life down again to a pace more in keeping with my natural biorhythm. If it was 1970 something now, what would I still do, and what would be different? I would do what I did this morning – make coffee, meditate, say prayers/affirmations, and go running. I would be focused internally, connecting with and filling myself up first, before focusing on the expectations and demands of the external world. Then I may talk to people on mypushbutton phone landline or meet them in person. I certainly wouldn’t turn my cell phone and computer on first thing in the morning or leave them on until bedtime to check voicemails, texts and emails. When I have done that before, I’ve felt pulled from my center. Depletion and disconnection followed, along with the feeling of treading water to keep my head above it. What can you do to slow down and release technology’s hold on you?

  1. Claim one day a week to be completely unplugged from the internet or email.turnoffpcoops50
  2. Set boundaries around technology each day. Create a self-connection routine first thing in the morning and at the end of your day. This could include prayer, meditation, walking in the woods or on the beach, exercising, journaling, painting, etc. It’s very empowering to do this, because you’re telling yourself and the universe that you value yourself and your time, choosing to be proactive and creative vs. reactive and  programmed.
  3. Turn your computer off by 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. and don’t check email after this. Spend your evening connecting with friends in person or by phone. Read, create, play.
  4. Put your cell phone away when with other people and mute it. Honor who you’re with.
  5. Pay attention to your time spent on social media. Is it really adding to or subtracting from your life?“A 2013 study published by the Public Library of Science showed that more use of Facebook meant less sense of well-being and more feelings of envy.”

Yogaoops50Finally if you were to die tomorrow, would you wish you’d spent more time on email or the web? Or would you wish you’d spent more face to face time with loved ones or seeing the world?     Barbara Brady, Coach & Trainer Global Leadership / Intercultural / Transformation through Transition www.mycoachbarbara.com

It Was My 50th Birthday and I Decided to Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!

50 Plus Yoga Instructor Dee Greenberg

Dee Greenberg is a dynamic yoga instructor.  Check out her website at www.50plusyoga.com. This is her first entry on our blog.  Welcome, Dee!

Sometimes an impending birthday takes on great meaning. For me, turning 50 was quite a wake up call.

And now, at 58, it’s interesting to reflect back on a time where, relatively speaking, I felt very young, at least compared to how I feel now.  I’m sure you know how that goes.

There is something to be said for the old adage: “older and wiser.”  And for those of us who are consciously and intentionally evolving – it does seem as if  “wiseness happens.”  I’d hate to think that with each passing day I was getting a little bit dumber.  And obviously depending on the state of our health, it may feel like our minds are getting dimmer, not brighter.

That’s why I practice yoga!  I hope to keep my light bulb shining well into what is sometimes referred to as “old age.” And not only do I want my light to shine, but I also very much hope to experience this thing we call old age.

But let me go back in time for a moment.  At 50, I was single, living in Boston, recovering from a dysfunctional relationship and still feeling somewhat beaten up by it.  I was also self-employed, but without any clear goals or prospects for the future.  I had been teaching yoga for 3 months.

So basically, you could summarize my condition at 50 as more or less “spinning my wheels.”  My life lacked purpose, momentum and most importantly, goals.

And then all of that changed, seemingly in the blink of an eye.  At 50 plus, my life began to take shape in an entirely new direction and I am happy to say that now, 8 years later, my life no longer lacks purpose, momentum or goals.

The catalyst for this change was a chance meeting I had with a very extraordinary yoga instructor named Shiva Rea.

I stumbled into a week long workshop with her totally by chance.  She rocked my world, and I am a different person today as a result of the 8 consecutive years I spent studying yoga with this most gifted teacher, who became my mentor.

OK , well,  actually there was one other very significant thing that occurred that same year.  On my 50th birthday, I was at a 4 day yoga retreat nestled deep within the heart of the Catskill Mountains with another very gifted, world class yoga instructor named Dharma Mitra.  Over the course of that weekend, I took a good, long, hard look at my life, and I set some goals for my yoga practice.
There were 2 very difficult arm balancing, inverted postures in which I wanted to gain proficiency.  So I set a goal at 50:  I *would* focus on these 2 postures and gain proficiency.  Two months later,  I stumbled on the aforementioned teacher who would become my mentor for the next 8 years and lead me towards that proficiency.

My purpose in writing this post is to spread my message to the world, which is this:

Life Begins at 50!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

All right, let me say it a different way: Life begins at 50, or 60, or 70,  or whenever YOU decide it begins!  The actual chronological number is completely irrelevant.  Life begins whenever you decide to begin to live fully in the moment.

So go ahead and decide.  Let your life begin right now!

Oops50 Yoga: Cindy Dollar’s View

CINDY DOLLAR

Pose or Personality?

I recently heard about an article in the New York Times Magazine about yoga causing injuries.  I must admit that I had a reaction to that information even before I read the article, which eventually I did read.  Here’s my opinionated and short answer: Yoga doesn’t cause injuries. People do. Actually, ego does.

Ego (asmita) is the part of us that we believe is us.  We take ourselves to be this personality because we are taught at an early age that that is who we are.  Ego has opinions, desires, and aversions.  These arise from ignorance (avidya) of our true nature or essential being.  Let’s not go too far down that road right now.

Let’s take it to the mat.  On the mat we can observe the bodily sensations, feel the stretch, notice the strength, release the breath, relax and play.  When we are present to the experience of being in the body on the mat, we are fine.  Then comes in ego’s judgmental voice. “You aren’t doing it as well as the person in the photo.  She’s better than you.”  And we’re off and running.  Instead of staying with our experience of noticing our own body and mind, we begin to push.  “I can do that better.”  Or perhaps, we give up.  “I’ll never be able to do that.”  In either case, we’ve moved out of the realm of present moment awareness and into the realm of wishing things were different.  We’ve left the place of awareness and moved into the place of habitual reaction to the experience of awareness.

(By the way, the voice can be the voice of someone else, perhaps a teacher or friend, who encourages you to push your body past its current ability.  At this moment, the responsibility is yours to listen to your own body and remain steady in your experience.  Be your own best friend here.)

Yes, we do want to challenge ourselves to learn new poses, to improve on familiar ones, as well as to step out of habitual belief patterns.  Frequently our old habits don’t work (either on or off the mat), yet, they are familiar and comfortable like an old sweater that we wear even though it no longer provides warmth.  That’s fine.  Just know that you are doing it and why.

Where does this leave us?  In the place of recognition of having lost our attention.  Knowing that our attention has wandered, we can return to the place of paying attention – both to the experience and to the internal or external voices that remark on what we should be doing or how we should feel.  If it is not the voice of compassion, it has no information for you.  Compassion allows us the freedom to explore the pose, the mind, and the moment without judgment.  And, really, what else is there?

Yoga is not about the pose.  Yoga is about joy of learning who we are beyond the discursive mind that tells us who we should be.

May your life on and off of the mat be filled with joy and compassion.

Love and namaste,

Cindy

The Year of Sick Friends

Annice

What a year – so many friends and family with serious health problems, starting with my husband’s fall last February, the loss of my Dad, and then both my dogs.  There has been no reprieve.  I am shocked about all the friends that have had serious to critical health problems accompanied by extended stays in the hospital as well as long recuperation’s at home.  If I made a list of all the sick people (and animals) I’ve known this year, it would add up to more than a dozen, and that’s way too much in one year.

Just a few weeks ago, I made a huge pot of matzo ball soup and delivered it to four sick friends.

Matzo Ball Soup

It’s depressing and stressful worrying about them.

So, I created a way to cope with the year of sick friends.  I built an imaginary wishing well in my heart and when I’m about to do a yoga practice, (whether in class at One Center Yoga or in my home), I dedicate my practice to all those who need well wishes.  I sit in Sukasana and take five long breaths and say their names in my head and breathe them out and down my wishing well.

Sukasana

Today, another friend just told me about her Mother who suffered a major heart attack after falling and breaking her hip and knee.  Tonight, I will add her to my ever growing list of well wishes.  I hope it helps because I don’t know what else to do.  Like chicken soup, it can’t hurt, right?

My Very Own Writing Retreat

Annice

Last winter was long, cold and miserable.  It’s one winter I want to forget.  I spent months taking care of my husband (after he fell on ice and had to have a hip replacement) and feeling sorry for myself.  When Spring finally arrived, it brought my father’s passing followed by the death of both my dogs within three months of each other.  At long last, I received some good news.  I was gifted one full week in a writer’s residency program at the glorious Wild Acres Retreat Center in the North Carolina mountains.  Their website says, “The program allows individuals the solitude and inspiration needed to begin or continue work on a project in their particular field.”  And so, from Sept. 5-12th, I stayed at the Owl’s Nest Cabin, tucked away in the mountains to work on my novel without any interruptions – none.  No distractions – none.  No T.V., no cell phone service, no internet, and no iPod.  It was just me, my laptop, my yoga mat, and 23 chapters of my book needing to be revised.  

As if that wasn’t cool enough, I also didn’t have to spend time preparing any meals, or cleaning or washing anything.  I didn’t have to be concerned about anyone other than myself.  How often does that happen?

SEE ANNICE WRITE

I was pretty much off the grid (without a car) and had to hike ¼ mile up to the main campus for my meals.  No big deal.  However, I was a little alarmed about a few things such as critters in my room and hunters on the gravel road near my cabin with their barking dogs.  You see, it’s bear hunting season in the mountains, and while I don’t want to be judgmental regarding a tradition that is centuries old, I am disturbed to know that folks are still out there hunting bears.  I mean, what for?

NOT MY HAND

As for critters, I had a ring-neck snake in my cabin which I managed to get out without killing it.  How did I know it was a ring-neck snake?  When I described it to people at lunch, they informed me that’s what it was.  I don’t like snakes, but I survived that crisis and moved on to another crisis, a yoga crisis.

When I left my house, I grabbed the September issue of the Yoga Journal  in case I needed it.  So, while I was patting myself on the back for progressing so well on my revision, I put myself in a funk practicing Hanumanasana (full splits).  Well, I knew it wasn’t an easy pose and certainly not one I ever practice out of class, but hey, I figured in a week I would make some progress- NOT.  So, frustration paid me a long visit that week, thanks to my greedy self wanting immediate results.   It’s amazing how we can find things to be discouraged about even when we don’t have to.  Once again, my mat teaches me a lesson.  I guess a yoga retreat is in order next.

YES SHE CAN!