Tag Archives: elderly

Rally supports Valley View residence for the deaf and deaf-blind

Bob Katz told a crowd about his sister’s experience of being isolated at a rehab facility at a rally to support the Valley View residence for the deaf and deaf-blind elderly in Middletown Township.  When the staff and residents can communicate in the same language, Katz said, it makes all the difference. The group gathered [...]

Chilling Out with Forward Bends

I glanced at a weather map of the United States today and it’s orange, darker orange, and red all over. In other words, it’s hot.

I tend to have a high tolerance for 90 degree weather, so I revel in it, but my yoga teacher says the heat makes a lot of people irritable.

She thought we should focus on cooling poses in class today.

We worked on variations of Downward Facing Dog – using a chair, then a wall, then the regular way – and then spent some time in Child’s Pose, Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend*).

“Forward bend poses are great for settling you down when you’re feeling agitated,” the teacher said. “You may sweat while you’re in the pose, but they’re calming on the nervous system.”

I must say, it is amazing how as the class continued I felt myself grow into silence as I streeeeeetched out, my heart resting peacefully inside.

So if you find yourself snapping at people (including yourself) or not tolerating the traffic or noticing that things that you usually don’t mind are bugging you, take heart. It might simply be the heat. Try breathing a few times . . . and don’t forget to bend.

*In Seated Forward Bend, I have to sit on two blankets and lasso a strap around the balls of my feet to hang onto and pull myself forward because I can’t reach my arms to my toes. The teacher looks just like the lady in this picture when she’s in the pose, but she mentioned that 18 years ago she had to use blankets and straps too. So. By my calculations I should be able to do Seated Forward Bend without props in 15 years. I wasn’t discouraged by this. I was excited. The human body is amazing. Anyway, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to think about those things in yoga class, but sometimes I can’t help it!   

The Practice of Pause

In the most recent issue of Newsweek magazine, Robert J. Samuelson wrote a column titled The Sad Fate of the Comma.

He says:

I have always liked commas, but I seem to be in a shrinking minority. The comma is in retreat, though it is not yet extinct. In text messages and e-mails, commas appear infrequently, and then often by accident (someone hits the wrong key). Even on the printed page, commas are dwindling. Many standard uses from my childhood (after, for example, an introductory prepositional phrase) have become optional or, worse, have been ditched. If all this involved only grammar, I might let it lie. But the comma’s sad fate is, I think, a metaphor for something larger: how we deal with the frantic, can’t-wait-a-minute nature of modern life. The comma is, after all, a small sign that flashes PAUSE. It tells the reader to slow down, think a bit, and then move on. We don’t have time for that. No pauses allowed.

My husband came home from work a few hours after I read the article and mentioned that a yoga instructor had visited his office as part of their Wellness Program.

“Did you learn anything?” I asked.

He said he learned that if people took ten minutes out of their day to sit quietly and relax, scientific studies show stress levels reduce drastically. In other words, he learned it’s important to pause.

He had a worksheet from the Mind/Body Medical Institute. Click here for the full set of instructions, but in a nutshell it simply says to sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe (the easy part), as you clear your mind of active thoughts (the hard part).

Summers seems like an especially good time to incorporate the practice of pause because schedules can get so busy. You might be thinking: “That’s precisely the problem. I’m so busy I don’t have time to relax for 10 minutes.” But as the yoga instructor who visited my husband’s office mentions on her website, pausing will calm you down and clear your mind for better decision-making, ultimately giving you much more time.     Š

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Sunday Crowds

I don’t know what I was thinking. Hmm. I guess I was thinking that I had a few free hours, so why not sketch out a menu for the week and stock up with ingredients at the grocery store? Off I went – the Sunday afternoon of Labor Day weekend – and as soon as I walked in the door I realized my mistake.

What a zoo.

I tried to practice my yoga breaths as carts jammed the aisles and children blocked my path as they played handheld video games in front of the eggs while their parents taste-tested the artichoke dip. I tried to remember I had just come from church and I should be patient and kind and gentle and not cave into my mounting frustration. Breathe. Breathe. BREATHE!

Egad.

I do not do well in crowds.

The trick to grocery shopping (at least the one I go to in my town) is to hit the store early Monday morning. It’s empty and open and I can take my time reviewing my list and making sure I have everything I need for the week. When I had an office job with less flexible hours, I’d go to the store late at night. I’d have to step around boxes of fresh shipments, but it was better than being piled in an enclosed space with too many people. My goal is to get away from stores almost entirely – next season I’m signing up for a CSA subscription. And I’m continuing to explore year-round farmers’ markets (for some reason crowds don’t bother me as much when I’m outside) and buying local food through other direct methods. But I’m in transition, so for awhile I’ll be heading to the store at least once a week. On Monday mornings. Š

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