Happy March 2017 to you all! What a bumpy ride we are on – from our political situation, to extreme weather shifts. This week, I was eating in a sunny outdoor cafe one day and the next day freezing in my winter coat! In many respects, it feels like we are on a roller coaster ride, and staying grounded is so very key.
I find in addition to doing standing poses in yoga, especially mountain pose, standing qigong meditation is also very helpful for grounding. Like seated meditation in yoga, one follows the breath as a tool for quieting the mind. But instead of sitting in a chair or cross-legged on the yoga mat or meditation cushion, we stand in the qigong “horse stance“. To create this position, stand with the legs slightly wider than the hips, leg and buttock muscles will engage by slightly bending the knees, abdominal muscles will be slightly lifted to protect the lower back muscles, and the arms are in front of you as if you are wrapping them around a tree in nature. Feel all areas of the feet (the toes, the ball of the foot, the heel) grounding down into the earth, and if you are not outside on the earth doing this meditation, imagine you are in a beautiful place in a favorite natural setting. Feel the breath expand across your chest, your back, your rib cage area, along your spine from tail to crown as you inhale, and crown to tail as you exhale. Soften your gaze, and you can even bring the tongue to the roof of the mouth. You decide how long to stay in this calming and grounding meditation pose. Try one minute and then increase it as you develop your inner and outer strength with practice. Please let me know what you think! For those of you who take my classes in person, you will recognize this practice from the Tai Chi Easy(tm) part of my classes.
Seated Meditation Standing Meditation
I recently saw on social media that March 15th this year is being hashtagged #TheIdesofTrump and is an international day of sending postcards to the White House. These postcards can be sent in support of the administration or for voicing one’s opposition to this new administration’s policies and stances. If you send a postcard on March 15, you can take a selfie with the card and post the photo to your social media pages with the above hashtag. You should decide how comfortable you are with using your social media platforms for political advocacy and review the various privacy setting options. Alternatively, just send a card and know you are joining hopefully millions of others to voice your First Amendment right of free speech. If you would like to use a Women’s March postcard, my local mom and pop copy center, 85 Copy & Graphics, has the template below and you can order them in bulk for the following prices: 30 cards $35; 20 cards $25; and 10 cards for $20. 85 Copy Center is located at 173 W. 85th Street, just east of Amsterdam Avenue. Call (212) 769 – 4470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and say Melissa referred you.
Most of you know I am a fan of cross-training, as I often discuss that in class. I love yoga, but do not believe that practicing yoga to the exclusion of other fitness activities is sufficient. To achieve my fitness goals, in addition to yoga, I do cardio, weight training, pilates, gyrotonics, walking, boxing, and dance classes. Not only does varying the activities keep me interested and prevent boredom, but it also challenges my body and brain. Last month, I met Jason Greenspan, owner of “Silver Stars Fitness” at an open house (he was recommended to me by a lovely yoga student). Jason and his team of trainers specialize in fitness for the “Baby Boomer & Beyond“, and I was impressed with his presentation and understanding of the workout needs of the older person. It is very important as we age that we adapt exercises and weight training to our unique bodies with our individual histories, and not just be engaging in the latest fad exercise. Safety is paramount. If you would like to learn more about “Silver Stars Fitness”, their next Open House is on Wednesday, March 22 from 10 am – 6 pm. Attendees will receive 20% off all future services, a free copy of Jason’s book “Fitness For Real Life“, and a free fitness consultation. To RSVP call 646-573-9724 or by email: email@example.com . “Silver Stars Fitness” is located at 850 7th Ave (West 54/55th Streets), Suite 305. Lunch and snacks will be served as well! If you attend, please let me know your thoughts and tell Jason I say “hello”! Check out his website at http://www.silverstarsfit.com