Tag Archive | ageing

NEWSLETTER ~ APR / MAY 2015

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Dear Yogis,

My intention in March was to post monthly newsletters and I have fallen behind.  We are all pulled into several directions simultaneously and sometimes we get overwhelmed, maybe get lost in the details – which is what happened to me.  If you have renovated your residence before you know what I mean.

This is what happened since my March newsletter:

During Easter we had our usual Saturday class in Randwick.  To keep in line with the holiday and to amuse ourselves we practiced bunny jumps.  Bunny jump is one of the preparatory poses for the hand stand, it strengthens the arms, wrists, shoulders and increases balance.  Another way to prepare for handstand is stationary, we create a right angle with our body, hands on the floor and the soles of the feet are on the wall.

This year Anzac Day fall on Saturday.  To honour the 100th anniversary of landing in Gallipoli the theme for the class was hero poses.  Think about the strong leg work, arms stretched wide and balance required for all three “warrior” asanas.  The torso is long and the chest is open in all these poses indicating confidence!

In the week leading up to Mother’s day, as my gift to you, I asked each of you which is your favourite pose and incorporated those in the classes.  The most popular requests were: work with the hips and twists laying on the floor.  We, women, hold a lot of tension in our hips and thighs and with the cold weather creeping on us we get tighter so we need keep our joints moving!  Twists on the floor release tension in the lower back, they are safe and they mobilise the whole spine – from the tailbone to the neck (if you turn your head away from your legs).  Twists in general generate heat in the body which  increases our immune system. If you are menopausal you might not need extra heat 🙂 though! As winter approaches we are likely to include more twisting poses in the class as they are also helpful in reducing the effects of scoliosis and help digestion.

Are you curious which poses will we do on the Queen’s birthday long weekend?  I already have some ideas – please come along!

 For regular students ‘10 class passes’ are available in both studios (some conditions apply).  They represent a minimum saving of $50 for 10 classes.

Thanks again for supporting my classes, hope to see you soon!

Namaste,

Mary

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NEWSLETTER~March 2015

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Dear Yogis,

The Year of the Sheep is truly underway and it is an opportune time to reflect on 2015 so far.

RANDWICK – Over 50’s

We have been practicing in Randwick Junction for two months now.  Based on your feedback we all love our new the studio, good location, lots of natural light, loads of props, colourful mats – all clean and tidy.

Student numbers vary between four to twelve (per class).  Some of you come almost every week whilst others when time permits.  There is a good mix of ‘old’ students from Clovelly (some of you have been practicing with me for a few years) and some ‘new’ students who joined our likeminded, health conscious group.

My intention is to keep the classes relatively small (compared to gyms) to allow me to continue to provide individual attention to each and every one of you.  The focus of our yoga practice over 50 is keeping the joints mobile, maintaining or even increasing strength and balance.

Some of us re-group after class for a coffee.  After a careful testing process we selected the coffee shop next door as our favourite spot where gluten free food is available and the freshly squeezed juices are lovely.

In an effort to keep my small business sustainable the price for the class will increase from $20 to $25 (to cover the increased overheads). The new price will start after Easter, on 11th ‘April 2015.

As a reward to those of you who come to the class regularly I will offer 10 class passes (with 3 months expiry date) at the current rate of $20 per class. i.e. for $200 upfront investment you would be saving $50.  You can purchase these $200 passes till 30 June 2015.  There will be some conditions such as: if the pass expires you will need to pay extra $5, no refunds and passes after 1 year will not be accepted.  Consideration will be given if you are seriously ill.

Some of you have expressed an interest to practice during Easter, so at this stage I am planning to teach on Sat 4th April at the usual time of 11.30 a.m.  I will confirm it closer to the time.

ROSE BAY – Golden Yogis

Student numbers in Rose Bay have steadily increased since the beginning of the year.  Some of you have been practicing in the class since I started to teach it a year ago.

We now have a new computer system to record attendances and associated finances.  Hoping to get faster at registering you!

I presume we will not have a class on Easter Friday, 3rd April 2015.

Thank you for all of you supporting my classes!

Namaste,

Mary

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Yogis’ Christmas Survival kit

I have complied a few poses which will aid digestion, help you to relax.  In a separate blog I will include poses to reduce the effect of jet lag.

Poses to do if you overindulged

I am an expert in this area…

The Ayurvedic guideline is to have 1./3 of your stomach filled with food, 1/3 with liquid and the remaining 1/3 is “space” to allow digestion.  I tend to misjudge the 1/3 food bit…

Generally it is not recommended to practice yoga with full stomach however there is one pose which is “do-able” in “emergency”.

  1. Supta Virasana (laying down hero pose) – two variations
Supta Virasana

Supta Virasana

Easier version of Supta Virasana

Easier version of Supta Virasana

The aim in this pose is to lengthen the trunk.  Whilst you are in this asana you quadracep muscles will be extended too.

Most of us would not be comfortable laying back without support. For support you can use a bolster (or fold up two blankets).

If your ankles, knees or back does not allow you to lay back over a bolster use a folded-up chair against the wall and make sure it won’t slide away.  I suggest to sit on some elevation such as a block or a book as this will ease off the pressure from your knees.  .

Whichever version you do sit up tall before laying back and extend the tailbone away from your waist to lengthen to lower back.  Keep your knees either together or hip widths apart, a strap will assist.  Use a rolled up blanket, towel or a small cushion to support the back of your head and neck.  Once you established that you are comfortable in this pose stay in it for a few minutes.

If you have more time and energy try the following sequence to aid digestion:

There are 5 poses in this series.  The food has to travel approx. 11 meters from entry to exit so the aim is to help the digestion process by pushing the food down.

These poses lengthen the trunk, open the sides, twist, squeeze and massage the organs in the abdominal cavity and finally assist towards elimination.

1.

Urdhva Hastasana - on toes

Urdhva Hastasana – on toes

2.

Side opening

Side opening

3.

Twisting the trunk

Twisting the trunk

4.

Twist -Inspecting the heels

Twist -Inspecting the heels

5.

Squatting twist

Squatting twist

Brief description of the above poses, I assume you have done enough yoga to safely go into the poses and come out of the poses with awareness and control.

1. Stand in Tadasana, inhale and raise the arms in line with your shoulders, interlace the fingers and on the next inhalation raise the arms above your head (or you can hold the left wrist with the right hand) and come up on your toes.  Exhale lower the arms and bring the heels down. repeat a few times (4 to 8).

2. Stand in Tadasana, inhale raise the arms in line with your shoulders, interlace your fingers and raise the arms above your head .   On exhalation extend the right side of the body, keep the chest and hips to face the front. Change the interlacing of your fingers and repeat on the other side.  Repeat the cycle a few times.

3. Stand in Tadasana, inhale raise the arms shoulder height and with an exhalation twist to one side.  Allow the whole trunk to turn. Inhale back to the centre and exhale to the other side.  Repeat the cycle a few times.

4. Lay down on your abdomen, either have your elbows on the floor (like I have) or straighten your arms.  Tuck the toes under and on exhalation turn your head to inspect your heels (try to see both of them). Inhale, turn back to the centre and on exhalation do the other side. Repeat the cycle.  This pose will massage your internal organs.

5. Start with squatting.  It is a twisting movement, bring one knee towards the floor and twist away from it.  Repeat on the other side and complete a number of cycles.  This pose will help with elimination and it is the last one in this series.

Poses to relax

If you feel you need to take time off try one or all of the following poses.

Modified Viparita Karini

Modified Viparita Karini

Supta Badha Konasana

Supta Badha Konasana

When the going gets tough the tough go to Savasana

WISHING YOU A SAFE CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY, HEALTHY 2015!

Mary

Ayurvedic Tip to help you stay gorgeous after 50! – Self-massage

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The first teachings of Ayurveda (the Indian holistic health science where Ayur means “life” and Veda means “knowledge”) were written down sometimes 2,000 to 4,000 BC.

It was suppressed during the Muslim invasion and the British occupation of India.

Since the 1990’s there has been a growing interest in Ayurveda as a holistic healing science where emphasis is on prevention rather than cure. In Ayurveda they distinguish three doshas: Vata (air and space) Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (water and earth). We are all a unique combination of all three.

The link between Yoga and Ayurveda is Prana (Life force).

Enjoy this Ayurvedic Tip to help you stay gorgeous after 50!

Self Massage

Written by Justin Rintul Yoga Teacher from Triveda Therapies – see her contact details below.

According to Ayurveda, life after 50 years of age is ‘Vata’ time of life. This means of the 5 elements our bodies are made up of (water, earth, fire, space and air), this period is dominated by Air and Space. When these elements dominate there is a drying up effect on the body. Basically we start shrivelling up and drying out! How can we counter this drying effect and at the same time feel nourished and rejuvenated?

How about I give you a tip from the ancient science of Ayurveda to help you remain ‘juicy’ into old age. I really encourage you to try this as not only will it keep you young, it is also a delicious, calming and relaxing experience. It is a simple self-care exercise that you can introduce into your weekly or even daily routine. It is ‘Self Abhyangha’ or ‘Self Warm Oil Massage’ (massaging the body with large amounts of warm oil).

There are numerous benefits to Self Abhyangha including the following:
• Soothes Vata Dosha
• Helps build resilience to stress
• Increases energy and removes fatigue
• Helps to eliminate toxins by stimulating strengthening lymphatic flow
• Strengthens and tones skin and body
• Grounding and nourishing
• Helps with insomnia

Here’s how to do Self Abhyangha:
This massage is best done before your shower, either in the morning or before going to bed.
1. Select your oil – As a general rule of thumb go with Coconut oil in Summer and once the weather becomes cooler and Coconut oil begins to solidify switch to Sesame (Melrose Organic is a good one) or Sunflower oil. For an extra dimension to the experience, you may like to add an essential oil of your choice to your massage oil.
2. Warm the room you are in and warm the bottle of oil in a bowl of hot water.
3. Stand on a towel that you don’t mind getting oily.
4. Pour a small amount of oil into the palm of you hands and begin with a head massage, slowly massage oil into scalp in a similar way you shampoo. (If you don’t like having oily hair you can skip the oil here.) Use your finger tips to rub your scalp even gently tugging at your hair.
5. Take some more oil into the palm of your hands and start to massage your face and then the neck, shoulder and arms, remember circles on the joints and long strokes on the limbs. Massage slowly and adjust the strokes and pressure according to area on body, i.e. more vigorous on soles of feet and limbs, slowly around face and abdomen.
6. Continue over the rest of the body, with clockwise circles on the abdomen (to follow the colon) and upward strokes on chest.
7. Spend extra attention on your feet; massaging the soles of your feet as well as the toes for a soothing experience.
8. When you are finished you can either let the oil soak in and then rinse off in the shower or wipe the oil off with a towel.
9. Sit quietly for 10-15min, drink some water or sip on herbal tea to complete the experience!

Enjoy the benefits this simple practice has on your Mind, Body and Spirit. Abhyanga along with Yoga, Meditation and a healthy diet will help keep you feeling more ‘juicy’, healthy and looking young well into your 90s!

Justine Rintoul
email – justine@triveda.com.au
mobile – 0430532227
website – http://www.triveda.com.au
facebook – facebook.com/TrivedaTherapies

In the next blog I will recommend poses to balance Vata.

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Spine Care Class

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On Monday night I attended the above class. The class was taught by Vickie Weeks from myspine  physiotherapy in Maroubra,  http://www.myspinephysio.com .  Vickie is an Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapist with 30 years of experience and has done a lot to promote healthy ageing in the community.

Like my car goes to service and tune up regularly – I visit Vickie a few times a year to release those tight spots in my body.

Vickie encourages her patients to look after their health and to achieve this she gives some homework for all of us. Her mantra is: KEEP WALKING!

During the 2 hour spine class we covered the following topics:

  • Anatomy of the spine (with feel and touch model);
  • Common causes of spinal problems (generally more than one cause and they develop over time);
  • Common disorders of the Spine;
  • Examination and Treatment – AND THE MOST IMPORTANT:
  • Prevention (posture, back, support, nutrition, stress management and rest).

Vickie explained workings of the spine in a clear and conscise manner.

We viewed X-rays and CT scans showing a healthy spine and later compared it to an ageing  spine.

Vickie’s workshop reinforced my belief that prevention is better then cure and regular exercise goes a long way to combat the effects of ageing.

I recommend the spine care class for anybody with back problems and health professionals whose expertise is outside the “spine”.

Take care and keep walking!

Namaste

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Foot care over 50 and healthy yoga feet

 

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My zebra toes

As a beginner yogi I used to think that I might not remember the names of my fellow students but I would recognise them from their toes/feet!

As yoga is done barefoot we cannot ignore our feet and the changes which occur was we age.

My feet problem started about 15 years ago. As a keen bushwalker could not wear proper booths, you know the ones with good grip and ankle support. I used wear Rockport walking shoes with very soft orthotics and no orthotics for every day wear. As the years passed by I noticed that I wore my orthotics more and more often. The beginning of the “end of the pretty shoes” came in 2008.  Whilst walking the cobble stoned streets of Quebec (Canada) I developed a condition called Plantar Fasciitis. After several months of stretching exercises (asanas), a new pair of orthotics and a few new pairs of shoes later I was pain free again!

Feet are very complex, we have 26 bones in each foot, they need ample space in our shoes to distribute and balance the weight of the body!

Bones of the foot

Drawing courtesy of posturown.com

Tom from  Podiatry First http://www.podiatryfirst.com.au/ was assisting me on my journey from pretty shoes to “realistic” shoes.  Tom’s comments on the ageing feet:

  • The joints should be moved/exercised to the full range movements, “use it or lose it”;
  • Walk whenever you can, walking in the sand is beneficial;
  • Feet changes with age, it is mostly hereditary;
  • As we age the intrinsic muscles (the little muscles) in the foot get over-powered by the big muscles;
  • The fat pad on the bowl of the foot dissolves;
  • Foot pain is abnormal; pain can be eased by wearing “realistic” shoes and orthotics.  Note pronation is not a disease;

To counteract ageing practice spreading, stretching the toes to create space between them! Stretching the hamstring muscles will keep the knees healthy. If you have injured knees practice stretching the legs whilst laying down (supta padangusthasana).

Foot aliments, if left unattended they alter our body mechanics, our whole posture is affected by foot problems – which gradually will progress to pain in the ankles, knees, hips, back and neck and head.

The combination of walking in wide shoes (weight bearing exercise) and yoga is the supreme way to rehabilitate your feet!

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TRANQUIL YOGA FOR OVER 50’s

The website’s name is “TRANQUABILITY”, where tranquillity meets ability.

Both of these terms mean different things to different people.  To me tranquility means walking on the beach or just admiring hilly landscape at sunset.  Ability covers a wide range, from young age (learning to talk and walk) through teenager years, middle age towards old age (where ability might just mean coming down the stairs unaided).

Please keep reading on – especially if you are over 50.  We live longer and we need to be prepared!  60 is the new 40!

Yoga (which means to unite the body, mind and spirit) helps us slowing down the ageing.

We need to understand and accept the cycle of life and instead of resisting the change and developing a negative attitude towards life we need to activate our willpower, our intelligence.

Our health is very precious and we either have to allocate resources (time, energy and money) to staying healthy or we will need to apply more resources to being sick and recovery.

The most obvious sign of ageing is change of posture (shortening and rounding of the spine).  The effect of the rounded spine is collapsed chest which restricts breathing. This is why it so important to keep the spine supple and to open the chest.  Movement lubricates the muscles, ligaments and joints.  In conjunction western medicine yoga helps to control/reduce high blood pressure.  As the metabolism slows down we are prone to put on weight, so staying active is even more important.  Yoga poses stretch the trunk, massage the internal organs and help with digestion and trimming down.  In many cases with ageing come orthotics and lace up shoes.  Yoga is done in barefoot, toes; muscles in the feet are stretched!  We need to practice standing on one leg to keep our balance.  Pranayama (breath control) helps us to cool down and relax.  The use of props (especially for older beginners) makes it easier to get the correct alignment to allow us to gain the benefit(s) of each pose.  Supported poses restore energy.  Meditation helps to clear the mind, reduces anxiety associated with ageing.

With menopause the body becomes stiffer and due to the hormonal changes one might become irritable.  Certain Pranayama practices help to control hot flashes, have calming effect and “solutes to the sun” provide gentle form of exercise.  Cutting down on coffee / tea also helps to reduce hot flashes.

Brief Summary – how yoga poses help us to slow down ageing:

  • Standing poses for building and maintaining muscle and bone strength, increasing stamina and balance, helps to prevent osteoporosis;
  • Forward-bends, Back-bends Lateral poses and Twists to keep the spine flexible; to reduce shortening and rounding of the spine;
  • Inversions for reversing the downward pull of gravity, the hart rests and more blood flows to the brain which helps with memory function;
    • Reclining positions restore energy and for relaxation

One can start practicing yoga at any age.  Once you know how to do the poses safely yoga skills are transferable, can practice anywhere.

Yoga is not a competitive sport; it is about connecting with yourself, accepting yourself and being gentle with yourself.

Tips to start the day:

Over 50 we are stiffer in the morning so I start the day with some warm up poses, gently circling the ankles, wrists and neck combined with a few gentle twists and maybe stretching the hamstrings by extending one leg up at a time and using a belt over the ball of the foot – all of these in bed before getting up.

It is recommended in Ayurvedic science to drink a glass of water after rising, it will help the kidneys to function better.

Do a few cat and downward facing dog poses and maybe a few cycles of “salute to the sun”, open your chest to welcome a new day!

Take your health in to your hand and start exercising regularly – preferable on a mat near me! 

 Note: this is a general guide to yoga over 50, written with love and good intentions and does not intend to replace medical advice.

Namaste