I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Navigating through my seventies

Half-moon (Ardha Chandrasana) pose
Last Sunday I had my hour-long private session with Denise, my yoga instructor. She took this picture of me, once I was able to get into the half-moon pose, with plenty of instruction. It's one I haven't been able to accomplish before. First of all, I am using the wall behind me to help. Plus the use of the wooden block is also essential. A good yogi would not need it, but as you can see, there's a lot of distance between my hand and the floor. The hips are supposed to be "stacked" one on top of the other, and I couldn't quite manage that, but it gives me something to work towards. I asked Denise to take this picture so I could see myself in the pose.

I learned so much in that session! Just to remind you how I ended up with this hour of instruction, I was the happy recipient of a raffle drawing at the party for BKS Iyengar's 100th birthday. I had taken the 100-day challenge and managed to complete fifteen minutes or more every day of yoga for 100 straight days in order to enter the drawing. One would think that it would have been long enough for me to have incorporated some yoga into my daily routine, but as soon as I had filled out the chart, I took several days off. I am taking two classes every week right now, and I manage to get some light stretching in every day, but I didn't feel I was doing the poses properly. The session has given me some pointers to be aware of as I practice in my home.

It's one thing to be one person in a class and quite another to be the ONLY other person in the room with your instructor. Denise is a magnificent teacher, and she also sent me an email later in the day with pointers to work on for the several poses that we practiced. I also learned the best ways to warm up and what to pay more attention to. I feel incredibly blessed to have this yoga studio as part of my world, with all its exceptional instructors.

As I sit here in the bed, with my partner sleeping quietly next to me, I am pondering what I will do with the day, other than the usual trip to the coffee shop. Finally, I notice that the wind has died down. We've just experienced another strong and uncomfortable windstorm, with the harsh wind coming down from Canada, cold and unremitting for days now. I forget how much that can wear on you, the sound of it, the frightening howl as it circles the apartment. We are in the far north end upper apartment, with three walls exposed to the wind, whereas the others have more protection from it. I suspect we have the largest heating bills in our apartment complex after such an event, but frankly it is worth it to have the warmth. We keep our apartment cool, never putting the thermostat above 64 (17°C) and adding more clothes instead of turning up the heat. We also use space heaters for direct heat if needed.

Yesterday the wind kept our usual Saturday walk from happening, although we did meet at the designated place, seven of us, but the strength of the cold wind made us decide to skip the walk and instead enjoy coffee together. Usually I take Sundays off from exercise, but since I did very little yesterday, I'm thinking I might take a trip to the Y for some exercise. Or maybe I'll be able to actually walk around outdoors, now that the wind has died down. It's cold outside, 18°F (-8°C), but without the wind, I can warm up quickly with a brisk walk. As has been said before, it's all a test of finding the proper clothing. I know how much better I feel after I've raised my core temperature with exercise.

And we've got more winter weather to come. Right now we are in a winter weather advisory, but I'm hoping that as it develops it will not be as bad as they predict. In the last storm, while we got plenty of wind, the areas to the south of us, like Seattle, got lots of snow. Compared to what the rest of the country (especially the Midwest) has endured, we are happy to have our relatively mild winter conditions. I can say that now, because we haven't lost power and are comfortable. Since all our heat is electric, it would be a very different story if we didn't have it. I just gave myself a shiver of anticipation of that level of cold. Brrr! Let's hope for the best.

I keep having to stop to put my cold fingers under my covers for a minute or two and am thinking that maybe I should get one of those space heaters to warm myself up a little. It doesn't help to be writing about cold; I can't seem to think about anything else other than (1) my cold hands, (2) my stiff neck, or (3) having to venture out from under my warm covers to do anything about it. The stiff neck has been bothering me ever since my session with Denise, and I think I might have overdone it just a little. Either that, or it's just another one of those annoying aspects of being old. I am rarely without aches and pains somewhere, but I mostly ignore them unless I can find a solution. Like back pains and stiff necks, which usually resolve within a short while, time is the best medicine.

What else? I am beginning to think that it must be getting to be time to get up, start my day, and warm my hands over the heater. My tea grew cold sooner than usual, and I notice that it's only 57°F here in the bedroom, and that's after I turned the heat up to 64. Time for some activity to warm me up, I suspect. Writing requires sitting and pondering, while the rest of me wants to move. Must be time.

In any event, I hope that you, my dear readers, have some wonderful exploits this coming week, filled with light and love, as we move ever forward towards springtime. Perhaps we are all ready, during the month of February, to look ahead to warmer days (or, for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, respite from the heat) on this brand new day. I hope you will be well and happy until we meet again next week. That's what I wish for myself, too.


Linda Reeder said...

I long to go out for a walk, but we are still in deep snow here on our hill. I have spent time outside each day, but ploughing through deep snow in high top rubber boots is not very liberating, although it is work that warms me.
I have several creative projects to work on, PT exercises to complete each day, cooking and housekeeping and reading and TV watching to keep me occupies, but I am beginning to feel restricted and cooped up by this weather, with more to come. I will be ready for rain to take it all away.
The sun is up and the sky is blue. It's going to be a bright morning, before the next snow arrives. I will appreciate the beauty and go back out for another walk around the yard.
It sounds like staying safe and warm is our job for another week.

Marie Smith said...

We’ve had the high winds a lot this winter and it makes me want to stay inside. Any break in the winds, I’m outside.

That pose looks perfect to me, Jan. Amazing really.

Have a wonderful week.

gigi-hawaii said...

64F is really cold. The low here is around 67F recently with the high around 80F. When it is cold, I close all the windows and wear a sweater.

Terra said...

I admire you for doing that yoga pose. I consider I am doing well when I keep the heat at 68 degrees, 64 is a bit cold. Good for you, it is always a plus to conserve, it helps our earth plus saves money. I think we are about the same age.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

It has been very icy here so we tend to be house bound more. We too have howling winds.

Arkansas Patti said...

Loved the pose and you looked quite the pro. Great to have a picture to remind you how to do it.
You keep your house much colder than I do but then after 50 years in Florida, my blood is still thin. If my hands aren't warm, I am not warm.
Hope you get a break in the cold and wind so you can get out again.

William Kendall said...

I find a bit of heat to be ideal for a stiff neck.

Looks like you had fun.

Far Side of Fifty said...

We keep our thermostat at 74 during the day and 66 at night...the thermostat is automatic:) I would be uncomfortable at 64. You are a hearty couple! Your pose looks awesome! I hope you have a good week:)

Tabor said...

The weather here moderately cold. I have blown off exercising this week with NO excuse. Your body looks so balanced and healthy and I realize I have to get motivated. Our thermostat is at 67 and if I turn it down Hubby gets so cold.

Elephant's Child said...

LOVE that pose. Thank you for sharing some of the wonderful one on one experience. Looking at it I was reminded of the Miss Seeton cosy murder mysteries. In her late seventies (from memory) Miss Seeton took up yoga and persisted. To the benefit of her knees and back.
Stay warm, stay safe.

Rian said...

Love that pic too! I miss yoga and would really like to get back to it. I agree it is very beneficial. And we keep our thermostat at 73 most of the time... and I'm still cold. The kitchen is the only real warm place in the house in winter as the Aga keeps the room very comfortable - so it's the kitchen or by the fireplace for the cats and I.

Red said...

Your always the good example for seniors to keep active. We have to push it and we benefit from better physical and mental health. 64 F in your house? That's cool man! I have my place at 71 but it's a forced air system.

Rita said...

I remember when you won the private yoga session. Sounds like it went really well and your pose is absolutely amazing to me.

I keep it at about 70, but you know that's not what it feels like when you see ice and frost around windows and the AC. Sometimes I have to turn it up to 72 in the daytime. When it was so awful cold here (-60 wind chills) I even turned it up to 76 and it wouldn't read over 70. The cold just seeped into the building and the baseboard electric heat couldn't keep it any warmer. But I always can throw on more layers in the winter. I was fine. Annie was really snuggly, though. LOL!

Dee said...

Dear DJan, the cold up in Fargo that Rita mentions in her comment didn't hit Missouri. We did get down to 9 below 0 with a windchill of minus 26, That's not the kind of weather Missourians are used to. I got used to much worse when I lived in Minnesota, but what I'm not used to are the ice storms that are part of being here. They happen rather frequently. Fortunately, my neighbor across the street is 25 years younger and has become such a wonderful friend. She insisted that I stay inside during the past week when the 1/2 inch of ice made walking somewhat treacherous. She got my mail each day from my post box across the street. I am so fortunate to have her for a neighbor and friend.

As to the yoga: I am so happy for you because I believe you thrive on challenging your body. At the same time, as you are aging, you are doing such a fine and wonderful job of listening to it and doing what it's able to do now. I so admire you. Peace.

Galen Pearl said...

I have been the only student in martial arts a handful of times. An intense and exciting opportunity. Makes me nervous, but I enjoy the more relaxed structure and the individual attention.

Yeah, what about this weather?! Seems like that is the topic all over the country. We have had a fairly mild few days in Portland after dire warnings of Snowmagedden. I am told that kale and potato chips flew off the shelves as people scrambled to the grocery stores last Friday. Interesting combination!

I'm off to walk the dog now during a short break in the unrelenting rain of the past few days. Hope by the time you see this comment you are warm!