August 2007

 I just read an article in the NYT called “See Jane Run. See Her Run Faster and Faster”  (Sorry, it likely requires registration). 

The gist of it is that the writer did a running race and noticed in the results that the fastest woman in the 45 to 49 age group beat the fastest woman in the 20 to 24 and the 40 to 44 age groups.  So she did some other random searches of other races and found similiar results.

So why is this, right?  Some of the reasons given is that younger women hang back and don’t want to look too passionate or committed at racetime.  It seems to take woman runners a couple decades of running to figure out what they’re capable of, learn how to go for it and then do it. 

I thought we women had gotten farther than that.  I thought we were ok with being driven and showing that to the world.  But maybe that’s only with brain prowess. Maybe physical displays of strength and speed are a last hold-out.  Don’t look, I’m sweating.  In public.  We prefer to hide our muscles in a Power Yoga class and not racing down the street with thousands of others.

I’ve been thinking about doing the Run for the Cure.  Since I’m now in the 40-something age group, maybe it’s time for a new goal.  I’m going to be a good role model and kick some ass against the sistas half my age :-)

Today’s quote is from Nora Ephron’s, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman.

Anything you think is wrong with your body at the age of thirty-five you will be nostalgic for at the age of forty-five.

It’s a good book, I recommend it :-)

Christie Blatchford, a columnist in the Globe wrote on the weekend about going to Kandahar, Afganistan.  She shares a cab at 3 in the morning with Bobby, a woman from Sydney Nova Scotia:

She is returning from leave back home in Cape Breton to resume her civilian job as a cleaner at a big coalition base at Kandahar Air Field.  She is 61, almost 62, though she looks 15 years younger, and says of herself, “When I got married, I was scared to death; when I had my kids, I was scared to death; when I got divorced, I was scared to death.”

So she decided to shake things up in her life and applied to work for a civilian agency that staffs the Canadian part of the air field.  She says she’s never been anywhere but loves the job and couldn’t wait to leave home again to get back to it.  She’s not afraid of anything in Kandahar.

What a woman huh?  I don’t know if Kandahar is in my future, but god help me be as fearless in my life as Bobby is.

I read somewhere, “you’re perfect as you are” and just about coughed up my lunch.  Most days I feel like that’s as far from the truth as I can imagine. 

Let’s take my hip for example.  I’ve been having issues with it for years, it’s what got me into yoga in the first place.  And now I need to be pretty gentle with it or it flairs up bad.  Like have trouble walking when I get out of bed kinda bad.  Lately it’s been extra cranky from roaming around Montreal for hours in flipflops (I guess I’m *not* 18 anymore, lookit that). 

Anyhoo, my response is to try to ignore it and either wish I didn’t have hip issues or feel bummed out because I clearly do.  I pretend it’s not starting to bug me.  It starts as discomfort for a couple days and then gets tight and painful.  It’s like having rocks in my left butt cheek.  Painful rocks.  Then I go into high “fix” gear to work on wrestling it back to normal again. 

But what i’m slowly realizing is that this is an opportunity to learn to chill on the resisting and wishing-things-were-different front.  I need to just baby my hip at the discomfort stage and get on with it. 

Accept it for starters.  From there, learn to treat myself with more TLC.  Notice that this is the perfect motivator to do yoga *every* morning – something I haven’t been able to manage so far. 

And the fact that I have the opportunity to learn these lessons is pretty cool.  I’m learning them slowly so that they can really sink in and take effect ;-).  My cranky hip is a great teacher.  It’s been teaching me all kinds of things that I’ve been waiting to learn. And that means I’m exactly where I need to be.  And that’s perfection, just as it is.

I like to download from Yoga Today and then do a class on weekend mornings.  I grab whatever looks interesting when I think of it and then have a few classes to pick and choose from – thank god for large hard drives! 

I’ve been doing alot of Sarah Kline’s classes. I find she throws in some interesting flows and poses that give me ideas for my own classes.  Also I’m mad for a good hip stretch, so I loved this flow that she did in a recent Dynamic Kripalu class:

Downdog with Lift – In downdog, keep your right leg straight and lift it, pressing your foot toward the ceiling.  Hold for a moment, then,

Plank with Tuck- bring your shoulders over your wrists for Plank and bend your right leg and tuck your knee into your chest.  Hold for a moment.  Repeat this 2 or 3 times.  Then, bring your right foot forward for a High Lunge and hold for a couple breaths, then drop the back knee to the floor and flatten out the foot for,

Low Lunge – hold here for a couple breaths.  Place both hands on the left side of your right foot, or drop to your elbows and hold a deeper stretch here. 

Add the twist – Keeping your torso low, place your right hand on your right knee and twist to your right.  When Sarah did this she even used her hand to press her knee out to the right a little, which adds an inner thigh stretch too.  Wow, that gets into spots I didn’t know existed!  Then repeat on the other side.

Thank you Sarah!

I’ve been listening to Armistead Maupin’s latest and had to laugh at this quote (may not be exact):

I have a mind like a steel trap.  I have to gnaw off my leg to escape it.

My Mom bought me a Lush massage bar for my b-day and I hadn’t really tried one before but now I’m in love with it.  Not only does it smell amazing (lavender and something else that’s yummy) but I’ve been grooving on using it in the shower. 

I don’t think this is technicall how they suggest you use it, but it’s working for me.   If I’ve been out in the sun, I get in the shower and smooth it over my wet skin and then rub my skin a bit to help it sink in.  The bars are made from shea butter and stuff so it locks in the moisture and feels great.  I use mine anywhere I need moisture instead of lotioning after my shower. 

Which means it’s one more thing i get to do *in* the shower, and one less thing I have to do afterwards.


A woman in my neighbourhood has been coming to my Power Yoga classes.  I was at her house recently for a, don’t laugh, Tupperware party and she introduced me to some others.  She mentioned I taught yoga and said “sometimes it feels like we way too many Sun Salutations but I always feel great afterwards!” 

And I was like, hmmm, do we *do* too many Sun Salutations?  We probably max out at 5 and don’t always do that many.  But this was just her subjective impression, and that’s cool, i’m happy for the feedback because it makes me think.

Some styles of yoga take Sun Salutations or leave them.  My Kripalu teachers would have us do a couple after we were warmed up when they felt like it.  But in Ashtanga the 5 Sun Salutation A’s are just the *beginning* of your warm-up.  And it makes me think again about focus.

Often I find when I’m bored, I’m actually scattered so while I think I should fix it with more stimuli, it doesn’t help at all.  I really need less.  And that’s the cool thing about Ashtanga and Bikram – doing the same poses everytime.  It forces you to bring your attention to the subtle stuff. 

It forces you to look inward – because there’s nuttin’ interesting going on outside!  Once you get tired of wondering how many Sun Salutations you’re going to have to do – you notice whether this forward bend feels different than the last, or whether your back feels any looser this time around in Updog or, god forbid, you notice your breath :-)

Now I don’t do alot of Sun Salutes in every class.  Sometimes when my Power Yoga class sounds really scattered before we start I just crank the tunes and get everyone’s sweat on, mixing it up and wearing them out.  It guarantees that everyone will get mellow and have a good relaxation at the end. 

But I also think that forcing yourself to be ok with the repetition is good too.  It’s just harder.  Because we wish we were doing something different.  And then we realize that the value is in just doing what we’re doing. 

So, I’m sorry to say, my neighbour isn’t going to get out of Sun Salutations in my class.  But I might make a point of explaining why they’re hard on our head and why that’s good a good thing.