A favourite yoga teacher once opened a class with these words and I’m literally putting them into practise these days. Most mornings, I get out of bed 10 minutes early in order to meditate: wrapped in shawl, my hair still in a scarf, cup of tea by my side. If things gets hectic later on, I may not find the space for any active yoga or physical activity, and that’s ok, some days are like that.
Just having begun my day with a few moments of stillness helps balance out the inevitable anxieties that rise over the course of a day. These are stressful and uncertain times, a little yoga goes a long way.
For so many reasons my go to is Yoga. Whether it’s 5 minutes on my own, taking a 90 minute studio class to practice with other students, or teaching classes, yoga never fails to shift my physical and emotional mood.
However in the search for more physical balance I’ve recently resumed Pilates after a long absence. Aches and pains, mostly caused by overuse and imbalances from many years working as dance and fitness professional, often niggle me.
And I’m not sure if everyone feels this way, but I’ve noticed the older I get, the more my body needs balance: a bit of this, and a bit of that. I’m no longer training for events or performances; I’m training to maintain mobility and strength and to feel energised in my daily life; a variety of activities help me achieve this.
Try adding a new element to your exercise or activity programme, see how you feel. It doesn’t have to be drastic or expensive. For example if you walk a lot, try adding something to build strength, a gym or group exercise session, or an online power yoga class at home. Small changes in routine can be motivating and invigorating and kick start the feel good endorphins that surge when we move more!
As the Covid-19 virus spreads, so does panic. Is this virus worse than seasonal influenza? Is wearing a surgical mask helpful? What can I do to stay healthy?
There is a huge amount of often conflicting, information and advice online and in the mainstream media. It can be hard to filter through to the facts. And I don’t have all the answers. In addition to the usual hand washing and careful tissue use etc. I am trying not to get caught up in the hysteria, I refuse to hoard disinfectant or toilet roll or tissues!
While this post isn’t related to feeling good, or wellness while ageing, it’s a note to self that difficulties will pass, so don’t despair. Similarly, happy times are transient; so treasure them. As the ancient Persian saying goes, “This Too Shall Pass”. It may take some time, but nothing lasts forever.
Over the last week there has been a lot of media coverage of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s half time performance at the Super Bowl last Sunday. I thought it was a great celebration of the work of two legendary Latina pop stars. However, much of the commentary was on their age, appearance and the ‘sexiness’ of the show. I do wonder if the performers were male, would there have been quite so much focus on age and appropriateness of the choreography and costumes.
Anyway, what does fifty something look like? Maybe like J Lo, maybe not. So called ‘middle age’ looks like whatever you want it to. There are obviously pressures to conform to prevailing beauty standards; cultural expectations of what a woman should look like at a certain age as well as a whole lot of ‘fashion over fifty’ advice out there. I say rock your waist length hair, or your pixie crop; dye your hair pink or celebrate your silvery crown; pole dance or play golf; wear that mini skirt and high heels or dress as modestly as you like. Whatever it is, do you. Do whatever feels authentic and comfortable, and works for you and your life.
Sometimes I seek the reassurance of one of my sons that I don’t look ridiculous in particularly youthful outfit: they and only ever say, “Mum, you look great”. Am I the only person who does this kind of thing? Why should I worry whether other people think I look age-inappropriate? Why do I care what other people think? There is an old English idiom “mutton dressed as lamb”: ridiculous really, as so many things in life improve with age!
I live in Hong Kong and with the challenges we’ve had here for several months now, I’m feeling the need for balance and grounding: which can be hard to find in a big city. I’m a big believer in moving regularly, eating well and finding ways to manage stress and get enough sleep. It can be helpful to remind myself of these simple steps when I’m feeling out of sorts: walking outside when I can; eating simple food at home; and incorporating some kind of mindfulness practice into my day. The mindfulness part could be as little as 5 minutes of conscious breathing immediately on waking, before I get out of bed.
This isn’t medical advice: I’m not a physician, I’m a fitness/yoga teacher and have been a movement professional for 30 years. Currently a stressed one! And these small things are helping me get through some tense times. Oh, and the odd glass of wine with that simple dinner definitely helps too. What helps you to get through a challenging time?
It is often said that the first step is the hardest: certainly true of starting this blog! So with a deep inhale here we go…So far, my 50’s are teaching me to accept change and new challenges. I hope to share and exchange tips that may ease the way. Blog posting is new to me, hopefully I’ll get the hang of it soon. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.