2012.01.04 Stretching into the new year with Dr. Oz

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

A headline on the cover of the AARP magazine caught my eye on New Year’s Eve. 

“Dr. Oz: 24 hours to a Longer Life!” Except for the bit about getting up at 6 a.m., there were some great suggestions in the article. One that I latched on to right away and resolved to do starting the next day was performing seven minutes of yoga every morning.

Long ago, I traveled to Adrian with a group of Morenci women to take a yoga class. I don’t remember much about it besides the little bean bags the instructor placed on our foreheads as we all laid there stretched out on our backs during the cool down phase of the class. It was such a relaxing experience.

I don’t remember why I never continued with it...but we do have a yoga book in the house, one David gave Rosie for Christmas in 1994, called “Yoga for Children.” I figured that was just my speed and a great way to get back into yoga. 

I randomly opened the book to page 50, to a pose called Fan which looked extremely easy—the photo showed a mom and her daughter sitting on the floor with their legs spread out. 

“I can do that!” I said aloud.

“Sit with your legs wide apart and the knees straight and your shoulders relaxed and down.…”

And then I sat down...and I could not do that...not much at all.

Well, pushing it to my limit, I could get my legs into about a 90 degree angle, whereas the mom and daughter looked like they were approaching 180 degrees.

I read on, “For some people this first position may be enough of a stretch in itself to begin with.”

I laughed thinking it was a stretch to even say I was doing yoga and flipped to the front of the book, where the first pose shows people just standing.

Now that, that I know I can do.

By then, David had downloaded a yoga app onto his iPad and the serious work began.

In short little videos, a woman showed how to do the poses. 

“Dang, she moves so fast! Is this why you don’t think I’ll be able to operate a Segway?” I asked.

We’re heading to Savannah soon for a wedding and I thought the “Segway of Savannah” tours I’d stumbled upon on-line looked like a lot of fun. David wasn’t interested. He said something about looking like dorks. He already tried a Segway when he did a story a few years ago on some people riding one across America. He thought I’d have a hard time operating one. “They’re kind of tricky,” he said.

He’s probably right, but there are so many interesting looking sites I’d like to visit in Savannah; doing so on a Segway seems like the best method. We could get around quickly, maximizing the number of sites we’d see and wouldn’t get tired out walking. Heck, we could use the extra time saved doing yoga.

I kept looking longingly back to the “Yoga for Children” book spread open on the couch to the Mountain pose (“Stand with your feet slightly apart and parallel. Keep your legs straight, weight on your heels, and toes spread out.…”) 

I could so do that I kept saying to myself as David tapped the iPad screen and the woman on the video whizzed through the movements of Half Moon.

“Play that again,” I said as I tried to mentally process what she had just done.

We moved through a bunch of poses...Low Lounge, Table, Greeting, Chair, Triangle, Easy Crow. With David’s guidance, I could at least attempt them. Then it started getting tricky. 

“Are you sure this is beginner yoga?” I had asked that several times already, but when the lady started doing the Tree, I figured David must be leaping ahead. I flipped to the next page in the “Yoga for Children” book and dang, wouldn’t you know it? The Tree pose was next. I don’t see how a beginner could be expected to accomplish this.

“Stand up straight as in Mountain pose.... Keep your left leg straight....take your right foot and place it high on the inside of your left thigh...”

Heck, I could barely place it low on my knee.

“...put the palms of your hand together. Slowly raise your arms above your head like tree branches.…”

Like tree branches blowing in a storm is what I looked like. 

It reminded me of a photo in my high school yearbook taken of Joanne Miceli in a musical production. Her right leg is extended perpendicular to her body, parallel to the floor and the caption reads, “What do you mean, lift the other leg?”

I think I should probably move on to a few of Dr. Oz’s other recommendations. Eat oatmeal and eggs for breakfast, don’t eat sugar, eat berries, eat fish, walk outside and get some vitamin D...I can easily handle those.

But “Go to bed by 10 p.m.”? Now, that’s a real stretch.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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