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Yoga and My (Our) Next Chapters: Finding Peace and Balance, Virabhadrasana (Warrior) II and Making Dorothy's Potato Leek Soup




I have been considering retiring from my banking job for several years; I finally decided to do so and have recently announced it publicly. I am excited, and a little nervous.

 

I looked up the definition of the word retire, and it is defined by Webster’s as "to withdraw from action or danger: retreat; to withdraw especially for privacy; to fall back: recede; and to withdraw from one's position or occupation". I preferred this definition to Oxford's which defines retire as "to leave one's job and cease to work, typically upon reaching the normal age for leaving employment". Frankly, to me these definitions all sound like the next stop is Shady Acres Rest Home.🤣😂 The reason for the definition, according to my reading, is that before the industrialization of 19th century Europe, workers did not contemplate sick days, pensions, vacations, and most people worked until the day they died.☹️ The word retirement became synonymous with old age and all its related connotations. I want to “retire” these interpretations!    

 


Even at my advanced age of 62, I don’t think anyone would describe me as having a “retiring” personality. I try to embrace things that bring me joy with exuberance, work hard to control my impatience or dissatisfaction and demonstrate respectful commentary (not always successful), and often experience sadness or frustration deeply.  ⚖️♎


While I am going to leave my current occupation of banking, I am not going to “fall back” or “recede” but move to my next chapter and embrace it fully. What would be a better word to describe this?


I want to wake up and read the whole newspaper and not have to “get my work out in” before a certain time or manage my time so precisely so that I can “fit in” time to relax. I look forward to spending more time doing things that bring me joy, a few of which include gardening, hiking, biking, cooking and foraging for roadside treasures to imbue with new life! I want to learn to swim (like really swim), take an art history class and spend more time on my personal yoga practice. While I love teaching, because of my full-time job, I have focused on keeping my teaching fresh while letting my own practice become stale. I hope to invest time in my yogic learning journey which will enrich my own practice and hopefully bring more to my teaching as well.🧘🏿🧘

 

Our yoga practice should be integral to our lives and helpful as we face transitions no matter what stage we are at. I have long harbored a fear that when I finally had earned the ability to retire, my physical self would not be able to enjoy the activities that bring me the most joy – a conundrum of missed opportunity.  While we know intuitively that yoga is good for us, I am reminding us why:


  • Yoga is a moving meditation providing both physical and mental benefits helping us relax, manage stress while also gaining strength and flexibility.

  • Yoga helps us improve our nervous system function, improve joint range of motion and balance.

  • As we age, the benefits of a yoga practice which incorporates all four motions of the spine: flexion, extension, rotation, and side-bending helps reduce stiffness that can occur with age.

  • Yoga provides cardiovascular benefits, can encourage mindful eating habits and improve body image.

 

While we age, our practice may change and evolve, but we can always do yoga and reap its rewards. Articles by Harvard Health, the Mayo Clinic and many others extoll the physical and mental health benefits of yoga at all ages. Check out some of these links!

 



 

Our Practice –Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) – Combatting Aging!

 



I love both warrior poses as they increase our strength, improve balance, stretch our quadriceps and hamstrings, improve core strength and (W-2) open our hips. I love the idea channeling our inner warrior, battling the aging process! The pose is empowering, grounding and helps us feel present.



  • Start in tadasana (mountain pose) at the top of your mat and step back with your left foot about 3-4 feet behind your right.  Your right foot points forward to front of mat and your right heel is in line with your left instep.  Left foot is turned out to the left maybe 90 degrees or whatever feels ok.

  • Raise arms parallel to floor out to the sides, palms down, hips are open to the long edge of mat, but gaze is forward out over the right middle finger.  One long line from right fingertips back to left fingertips (my back arm tends to droop down!)

  • Bend your right knee over the right ankle and shin is perpendicular to the floor.  Guide your right knee towards your second and third toe (not dipping in toward big toe or to the left).  Straighten back leg and press the outside edge of the left foot toward the ground.

  • Check in with your torso that weight is equally positioned/distributed between both legs – I tend to shift my weight forward, others shift back. 

  • Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

 

Meditating on Aging – Oprah and Carole King

 



“Only by owning who and what you are can you start to step into the fullness of life. Every year should be teaching us something valuable. Whether you get the lesson is up to you.” - Oprah Winfrey

 

Rather than a song on aging I was thinking about a song that gives us inspiration to get up and embrace whatever the day may bring with joy. As we move to new challenges and chapters in life, we may get inspiration from one of my old Carole King favorites.


Beautiful - Carole King


You've got to get up every morning

With a smile on your face

And show the world all the love in your heart

Then people gonna treat you better

You're gonna find, yes you will

That you're beautiful, as you feel


Waiting at the station with a workday wind a-blowing

I've got nothing to do but watch the passers-by

Mirrored in their faces I see frustration growing

And they don't see it showing, why do I?


You've got to get up every morning

With a smile on your face

And show the world all the love in your heart

Then people gonna treat you better

You're gonna find, yes you will

That you're beautiful as you feel


I have often asked myself the reason for the sadness

In a world where tears are just a lullaby

If there's any answer, maybe love can end the madness

Maybe not, oh, but we can only try


You've got to get up every morning

With a smile on your face

And show the world all the love in your heart

Then people gonna treat you better

You're gonna find, yes you will

That you're beautiful

You're beautiful

You're beautiful as you feel

 

Could not find an old video but here is Carole King performing it in 2016, excellent!



Nurturing With Food - Dorothy’s Delicious Potato Leek & Corn Soup



My friend Dorothy invented this recipe, and we made it when I was recently visiting. We have done our best to estimate quantities but, like many of my recipes, her exact amounts are not critical or documented!


This is so good I have been thinking about it since my recent visit and cannot wait to make it again.

 






See you on the mat!

Namaste,

Julia Anne

 

 

 

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