Yoga Suits Her
I’ve been teaching yoga since 1980. A lot of my identity is tied up with being a yoga teacher. What does that mean? What should that mean? On this site I explore my personal journey and provide commentary on the state of yoga in the twenty-first century. I invite you to have a look and see what may be here for you.
Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar
It’s Upon Us
Bad news abounds. I have a NASA Earth Now App which flashes me the latest global events.
Today and for many days, ‘Wildfire Smoke Streams Across the U.S.’ is the main headline. The west coast, northwestern and southwestern states are burning. To date, nearly 7 million acres are gone. At the same time, Hurricane Teddy is heading towards Maine and the eastern seaboard, while Hurricane Sally is lashing the Gulf Coast.
A part of me doesn’t want to know about these events, about the inexorable rise in the planet’s temperatures and sea levels. But I’m not alone. Individuals, communities and nations may be hoping for the best but not stepping up to meet the challenges. There are too many.
What do we do, for instance, as Antarctica, our southerly neighbour, heats up. The western peninsula, in particular, is considered a hot spot. Since the 50’s, it has warmed by more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This has had devastating effects on wildlife, the iconic Adelie penguins, for instance. National Geographic Magazine describes a strange, changed landscape that has become inhospitable to the penguins:
The western peninsula, often depicted on maps in white, is now so warm that tufts of the continent’s only native flowering plants, hair grass and yellow-flowered pearlwort, are spreading. So are invasive grasses and lichens. Green moss is growing three times as fast as it did in the past. Island peaks once cloaked in snow are now wet and melting, exposing mud or yawning crevasses.
Yet environmental concerns have taken a back seat to the coronavirus, this plague that has been stalking the planet all of this year. It has killed 961,373 worldwide, with the U.S. accounting for nearly 200,000 of these deaths. It’s heartbreaking that the world’s most vulnerable account for the majority of these deaths: aged populations, people of colour, the poverty stricken, those imprisoned and in refugee camps.
Not exactly dancing
In the meantime, here on Mitchells Island, we look out on a green, unthreatened landscape. Every day in our little bubble of semi-retired bliss, I admire
Those of us of a certain age…seventies, eighties and so on…are frequenters of medical services.
I’ve learned that, no matter how hard we try to stay healthy, odds are we will eventually be brought low. I know this personally and intimately from my nineteen year journey, suffering from osteoarthritis, from age 47.
Now, I hear this bad news after submitting to a bone density test: I have osteoporosis. This disease can be described as the gradually thinning of bones. For some people, their bones become honeycomb-like, and this is life-threatening.
Fortunately, I am far off the severity of the advanced condition. My doctor has recommended a medication that
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The problem is the creek did rise. We live next to Scotts Creek, Mitchells Island, NSW, and the creek rose and rose and rose. Then it burst its bank.
Up in our house, safe on a hill, we watched as Farmer John’s next-door paddocks filled. John had seen the flood coming and moved his cattle to safety. That day, it rained and rained, everyone calling it biblical. At 4 am, the caravan park at Manning Point was hit by a flash flood. The proprietor shook the van occupants out their slumber and some, still in p.j.’s, made a run for high ground.
This is the arc of life, with a peak somewhere in there, but for the most part, we miss it.
When you look in the mirror today, you might say to yourself, ‘Gawd, you are looking beautiful today.’ You might as well admire this presentation because next week you will look slightly altered. As I did yesterday when I noticed my hair had ‘suddenly’ become much greyer than I remembered. If you can, avoid the expression ‘for my age’. That negates the little bit of self-love you created upon complimenting yourself.
I’m forever grateful that my dear girlfriend, Mary Lou, came up with the idea of us doing yoga. She thought we could lose some weight and learn to relax by participating in a 10-week course at the local YMCA.
I was a no-nothing regarding yoga, but I trusted my friend. If I had been able to google the word ‘yoga’ in 1971, I would have found references to the Beatles and Mahreesh Mahesh Yogi, Ram Dass and psychedelic drugs, and television shows with women in Lycra leotards and stiffly sprayed hair.
Mary Lou and I arrived at the YMCA class and took up our cross-leg seated positions on gym mats. I sneaked a peek at the fifteen or so other students–not a man in sight. That part of yoga has not changed much.
Leading the class was a slim, lively yet calm woman in her mid-sixties. Dorothy Tomarelli told us by way of introduction that her husband had died a few years previously. As a result of her grief, Dorothy went into a rapid emotional and physical decline. Her muscles atrophied and she lost strength. Her doctor, seeing her depressed state, advised her to take up yoga. Dorothy decided that she had nothing to lose and searched for a class. It turned out to be so much of a lifesaver that she decided to teach yoga.
This is often the way a seed is planted for future yoga teachers. We are inspired by someone. As I listened to Dorothy, something stirred in me. I saw a glimmer of hope in Dorothy’s story–the possibility that health, happiness and even longevity could be mine.
I know, I know. Yoga teachers all want to teach remotely. I’ve been no exception. Here are some video and audio productions that I’ve made. Not many – it’s something that I alway mean to get around to.
No, I’m not selling yoga mats or clothing. I don’t even have a t-shirt… yet. But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want. Have a look, I’m never sure what you’ll find.