On Aging

Inspired by the women at the gym

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No, no, no. I am not inspired by the young, Instagram-ready bodies. I could care less about gym fashion.

I am inspired by the older women in the gym. Those who are in their sixties and seventies, sharing the locker room every day. Some of them are water fitness groupies, some attend Zumba and HIIT on the regular. Some are on the mat in the same room with me, and others stick to chair yoga.

Your bodies are strong, still carrying you. Your smiles are weathered but wide. Your eyes tell me you have been through a lot. You are still here, wearing that swim cap, Jazzercising to Maroon 5. Thank Silver Sneakers. Thank the free coffee in the hallway.

We greet each other in the locker room, maybe chat about the weather or a coming holiday. You might mention “the last time” you had cancer. Or your son who never could catch a break. Or the husband you outlived. “Can’t complain,” you’ll say. And I’ll agree.

I don’t expect my body to ever match that of a Kardashian or even a middle-aged starlet, you know the ones… they look so good for their age. No. I want to be at the gym, the day after my seventy-fifth birthday. Breaking a sweat. Cracking jokes.

Thank you, old ladies. Sure, you can sit here on this bench. Let me move my stuff.

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My YTT

What does it mean to be ready? 

My YTT program begins Saturday. I am pumped. I’m also a little bit nervous. I gather that is normal. We are jumping right in with two full days.

I’ve been reading, keeping up with my practice, and gathering things I want and need. My friends and family have been incredibly generous with support, time, and love. Everyone asks, “Are you ready?”

What does it mean to be ready, paricularly for a journey like this?

1. I need to be and stay healthy. I can’t afford to lose any time to illness, mine or the kids’!

2. I need to be limber. I have some ideas and expectations, but I’m trying to let them go. My hamstrings and quads are tight as hell, and I’m working on loosening them.

3. I need to show up. My husband and kids are prepared to have me away from home a lot more than usual, and I am grateful for their understanding my need to do this.

Are my bags packed? No. But I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Except for one thing. I’m going to pick up some Epsom salts for sore muscle soaks before Saturday.

About Savasana, Yoga for non-yoga people

More about Savasana

Since I wrote about savasana post savasana yesterday, I was in a place with strong feelings. 24 hours + another yoga class with savasana later, I have a few more thoughts and a major retraction. Today won’t be the day I write it all out because it’s Friday, we’re heading into a busy weekend, and I haven’t organized it all yet. But I’ll say that yesterday’s post About Savasana is now officially going to be the first in an About Savasana series. Tktktk. 

About Savasana, meditation

About Savasana, pt. 1

As far as I can deduce, a typical yoga session boils down to three steps:

1. Breathing (Pranayama)

2. Movement or flow (Asana)

3. Rest and meditation (Savasana)
EDIT: this was originally a one-off post that evolved into a series about savasana. Read this, but read the retraction and further thoughts, too. 

There are infinite iterations of the above, and some days we focus on one or two of these things vs. the balance of the three, but we are always working up to Savasana.

Aka, “corpse pose.” This is where we seal in our practice. Empty the mind. Not focus. Personally, I don’t like the word corpse for this pose. Words I associate with corpse: heavy, end, final, haulted, bloated, decomposing, final, done.

In my mind, I call Savasana “float pose.” Like it sounds:

Shah – vah – sahn – ah
Words I associate with Savasana, or floating: light, free, flat, lifted, airy, clear, soft, open, beginning.

Perhaps this is a novice approach. Maybe I don’t understand Savasana. Maybe we all have a different understanding. In fact, some people skip Savasana altogether. I get it. That used to be me, spinning off and rushing to the next thing. But I embrace Savasana as the float. I’d rather start the next thing lifted, open, and light.

Living with intention

Lessons from Lithops and other plants

About two months ago, I decided to try my hand at succulents. I shopped around and added twenty plants to an online shopping cart, then got to work sketching where I would plant them. When I researched light requirements in-depth, I realized that the rocky succulent garden I had in mind would not work in front of the house, becuase these plants prefer Southern exposure.

As my garden progressed, I uncovered small hurdles… some plants need more nutrients, some less. Some are easily sunburned. Very few can handle winters here in zone 8a. My list of plants that could thrive here was getting shorter and shorter.

I deleted the online shopping cart and went to the local nursery. I let my kids each pick out a succulent, and my daughter picked a Lithops… a “living rock.” Sounds easy to care for, right?

After a few weeks in it’s new home, the plant started showing signs of ill health. The old me would have tried to revive it. More water, less water. More sun, less sun. The old me would have tried to do anything recover the plant, before tossing it into the compost heap for recycling.


But the now me, the me who accepts that I alone cannot do all the things, know all the things, and fix all the things, recognized that it was time to go to my community for guidance. I posted a photo of my sickly lithops, and immediately learned that it was, in fact, NOT a lithops, but a close relative called pleiospilos nelii. Not a living rock but a “split rock.” The extra leaves that we found appealing at the nursery are, in fact, a sign that the plant was in transition, and in fact I shouldn’t save them… they will feed the plant and shrivel. We had sunburned the plant by putting it in too strong sunlight, for too long, too soon. We had overwatered. We had made assumptions based on research, trusted the nursery would only sell a perfect plant, but we lacked the experience and patience to set the plant up properly.

We are not at our best acting solitarily, living in a vaccuum. Our plants, our selves, require not only sun and water, but patience, support and imput from those who have “been there,” acceptance of who and where we are, and time.

When I looked at this plant, I saw a plant that was dying. But people who have “been there” have assured me that if we re-pot the plant in the appropriate growing media, slowly acclimate it to it’s new home, and wait, the damage will “grow out,” the sunburned leaves will shrivel and nourish the plant, and new, healthy leaves with eventually grow.

Living with intention, My yoga teacher said...

Pondering this today

“If you are being poked or prodded, you are not being punished or abused. You are being pushed out of the nest.”

This is from Savasana, something my yoga mentor read about a year ago. I jotted it down in “Drafts,” and happened upon it today. 

Source is unknown because I don’t remember what it was, but I expect to come across it again in the next six months. 

Living with intention, My yoga teacher said...

Vanity in Yoga: How Will You Wear Your Pose?

red mat strap block yoga blanket

Paraphrasing what Teacher L said today: “You know those pictures you see of people with their faces turned up and that expression of enlightenment? Sometimes that is only for looks, and it places a strain on your neck. It is a choice we all make, whether we want to face the sky or have the neck in a more natural position. I don’t like to put strain on my neck, because I don’t like to feel that way. You have do think about, how will you wear your pose?”

I found that I agreed with her. I also prefer to keep my neck and face in a more natural place, where I can “forget” about them and focus on keeping the balance between the sides of my body. Shoulders, hips, feet… yoga works best, for ME, when I keep things aligned and balanced. I am so over having to look pretty. I want to FEEL good!

Notes on today’s practice
Attended a beginner’s class. I forgot to set an intention for my practice and found my mind wandering during savasana. Mental note, make sure I begin thinking about my intention on the drive to class! We worked on Pigeon and opening the ribcage. Essential oil used during savasana: tangerine and orange.