September 25th, 2018
Letter from the Founder
The Catch 22 of Aging in America
As a yoga teacher, personal fitness trainer and someone who is tiptoeing through the decades and looking to stay healthy and vibrant and jumping and joying, there are ironies that poke at me. I think they are worth a look because how we live each day (especially the 23 hours a day we live OFF the mat) has a dramatic impact on the trajectory of our lives.

Let’s talk about the relatively new Comfort Toilet. It’s higher than your normal toilet. And more expensive. It is designed to make it easier to sit down to go to the bathroom, since you don’t have to sit down so far. I almost bought one because my plumbing contractor assured me they were all the rage and it would increase resale value of my home.

And then the irony smothered me. Although I'm super grateful that items like this exist for people who actually need them, I'm not one of them. As I age, I'm going to need more ways to increase my strength and mobility. Not fewer. If I make my life so easy as I get older that my muscles never have to work or stretch they will atrophy and stiffen. I will atrophy and stiffen. And feel like hell. So no. I don't need a damn Comfort Toilet.

Here are some related and very random things I'm chewing on lately regarding my own life and some of the people I love. Maybe you can make some sense of it:

  1. Is this what we need as we age? Things to be easier and easier? Homes without stairs, less maintenance, more remote controls, fewer things that require us to move or exert effort? Yuck.
  2. Squatting down on the toilet not only promotes quad/glute strength and mobility, it also promotes ease of...'digestion'. Google it.
  3. Although there are several reasons the SUV market is booming, one of the top reasons cited is that they are easier to get in and out of than a car - which forces you to squat down a bit to get in, and activate your quads/glutes to get out. Cars are looking sexier to me all of the time. And bikes and running shoes the sexiest of all.
  4. Yes, I think we (including me) should be doing more yoga and intentional fitness activities to keep our bodies strong. But it is interesting to note that in the Blue Zones of the world - the places where more people live to 100+ in a thriving and magnificent way - the number one factor affecting their longevity and health is that they live in environments that challenge their strength and mobility throughout each day. They sit on the floor when eating/socializing, walk long distances and many squat down to go to the bathroom. The most important piece of advice from the researchers of the Blue Zones? "Move naturally. The world’s longest-lived people live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work." Amen.
  5. I have nothing against comfortable toilets. They just made a fun/funny example of a concerning trend.

The Catch 22
We have been taught or told or sold that we need to make ease and comfort a priority as we get older. As a result, we take actions that ensure we will age faster and give up our mobility and freedom faster.

I think I'm going to nudge myself in a different direction. I'm always curious and excited to hear your thoughts.

Big love,

Kathleen is the owner of The Studio and teaches Flow at 5:15pm on Tuesdays and Meditation at 7:45am on Saturdays. Register for class.

P.S. (If you are dealing with an injury or other health issues, please know this is not aimed at you. I love that there are methods to allow people to stay in their homes longer. This message is meant for the rest of us.) 
Like This
Let your heels be nice and heavy in Downward Dog but never force them to the floor. For many of us, our heels will never touch the ground in this pose because of the way we are wired up the kinetic chain. Let go of striving for that. Instead, instead. Just let them be heavy and release them TOWARD the ground. That alone will help gently lengthen your Achilles’ tendon, open your calves and stretch the bottom of your feet (helping to stave off plantar fasciitis.)

There is also a relaxation response you’ll notice in your mind, heart, and gut. Be at peace.Let the practice come softly. Consider attending m y 4-Week Beginners Series s tarting October 3 at our downtown location. The series will be held Wednesday nights at 6:45. If those dates don't work for you, you can purchase the online video version.

Any other questions about the feet in Downward Dog? Reply to this email. If you know someone who could benefit from the above, please forward this email to them. Have a great day everyone! 😃
Live Longer, Practice Together
It is worth noting another top factor contributing to the longevity, vitality and happiness of those living in the Blue Zones: spending intentional time with family and friends who reinforced healthy habits. Centenarians were more likely to choose healthy social circles.

Here is quote from author Dan Buettner:

" Right Tribe: The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors."

Be the friend/family member/colleague who not only models a healthy life for your posse, but reaches out and one by one introduces them to a lifetime of daily yoga, fitness and meditation. We see those among you who are having a tremendous influence on the lives of others. We see you bring them to their first ever yoga class, we see your patience, your encouragement. We see a life transformed and a tentative smile spilling into an ear to ear smile and sometimes tears. As a result, we created our Friends and Family 50 Pack so that you could easily and often share classes with pals, neighbors, employees, clan and colleagues. So that you could come to The Studio together, again and again to enjoy and be healthy. The Friends and Family 50 Pack brings the per class rate down to $12/class and has a two year expiration date.This offer is valid through Sunday, September 30th. To purchase, click HERE . Feel free to forward to others.
Stress and Emotional Management
Stress is real and one of the most powerful forces we will encounter. It is almost impossible to have our best physical or mental health without addressing the tension our lives. It chews away at every aspect of our being.

If you need outside perspective, some practical advice or simply want help creating daily habits to reduce tension in your life, please feel free to book an appointment with me.(Choose Career/Life Consult as the appointment option.) In most cases we will explore a yogic and meditative point of view.

I'm not a licensed counselor and this won't be that kind of session. There are some fantastic people in the Madison area who offer those services.

Schedule | Yoga Teacher Training