|January 25, 2013||Posted by Jean Hoiland under Anatomy, Jean Hoiland, Uncategorized||
This morning my mom shared her “aha” moment from the previous weeks yoga class. Once she mentioned it I realized she had been standing a little taller and practicing tadasana at home. Turned out she finally found her lumbar curve, after decades of it being MIA… and low and behold when I turned her sideways there it was.
A well aligned spine is a beautiful sight, each curve properly in place and in balance. The heart centered over the pelvis.
You may be wondering what the big deal is….well…let me tell you…it is a really big deal. Proper alignment, posture and form are essential for spaciousness, ease and freedom in our bodies. It can be oh so elusive to attain, but once we feel it, we want to shout from the roof top “eureka, I’ve got it”.
It’s kind of like mastering a stick shift. When our gears are out of alignment we are stiff and jerky, sometimes stalling out. Once mastered the ride becomes smooth and exhilarating.
Regaining homeostasis is a liberating feeling. My mom succeeded in undoing decades of patterns and habits and in doing so she looks taller (not easy at 5′ 1″) and younger (she already looks at least 10 years younger than her real age). She no longer appears to be perpetually practicing first position, toes out heels in, clenching her butte-cheeks, locking up her pelvis and reducing her lumbar curve.
She has found space and freedom for movement. Her pelvis has begun to release and her practice is unfolding.
As her daughter I am elated and greedily anticipating at least two more decades of her presence in my life. As a teacher I feel relief that my efforts and persistence are not in vain.
I am hopeful that perhaps my mom’s propensity to fall on her face (literally) has ended. I asked her if she felt more balanced and she responded yes. There is still a long way to go but with this new found freedom she will no doubt feel more confident to pursue more challenging postures.
There may still be hope to free her shoulders and see her in a handstand in the next few years 😉
Do not burst my bubble…I can hope.
|January 15, 2013||Posted by Jean Hoiland under Jean Hoiland, Uncategorized, Updates||
The topic of age related shrinking popped up after the 8am Slow Stretch class this morning. It was a small class with an age range of 65 to 79 and height range from 5’ 11” to 5’ tall. Everyone in the class said they had indeed noticed diminishing height with age; the range from 1″-2″.
My curiosity was piqued so I promptly came home and measured my 76 year old mother.
If you have ever attended my 9:30am therapeutic yoga class you are familiar with how much I torture her in this class. My sisters and I have all decided she must stay young because she is far too much fun to leave this world before the age of 100.
Therefore I make her attend yoga classes as often as possible. I have had her do burpees and mountain climbers. I have strapped a heart rate monitor on her and marched her huffing and puffing up steep hills, pushing her along if needed. Most recently she has overcome the fear of going upside down and did a supported headstand in yoga class. I am determined to keep her moving, fit and strong.
This morning when I asked her how tall she was at her tallest, she stated a whopping 5’ 1 ¼”. When I measured her at 10:30am she was 5’ 3/4”, not bad considering most people her age lose up to two inches. I think I may succeed in my mission of keeping her hovering near 5′ 1″.
Now to check in with the tape measure for myself. I am 5’ 4 ¾”, one half inch taller than in my teens, twenties and early thirties. Success, I always wanted to be taller. I began my yoga practice around the age of thirty five, I am now 48, and according to most health statistics I should be getting shorter.
I’m pretty sure I won’t get any taller as I have maintained my current height for more than ten years, but I am grateful my stature has not diminished. So what do I attribute my lack of shrinkage to?
In my opinion there are five contributing factors:
- Jumping off the carport, out of trees and off a moving swing as a kid. Impact is important in bone development. Of course I didn’t know that back then, it was just something fun to do and most likely got a rise out of my mom and dad.
- A healthy diet. Home made, organic and no artificial sweeteners. Don’t get me wrong I grew up during the era of Tang and jello but back then those things were sweetened with pure cane sugar not aspartame or corn syrup.
- Having a mother who nit picks you about posture. Constantly reminding me to get my shoulders back, sit up straight, stand up tall. HA! Now I get to torture her but she just doesn’t seem as irritated by it as I was as a kid.
- I regularly hang from monkey bars. In grade school it was called a cherry drop in which you sat on top of the bar then dropped back and got a good swing going then at the appropriate moment you straightened your legs and landed like an Olympic Gymnast. Now a days I head to the play ground at JJ Smith or the back yard swing and just hang from my arms then my knees. It feels wonderful for the spine.
- Finally there is Yoga. The additional half inch in height occurred only after taking up the practice of yoga and learning how to properly align my body through the release of tension in some areas and increased strength in others.
So there you have it. Impact sports when we are young, a good diet and a relentless mother will set the stage for being tall into old age…and if that doesn’t work, take up yoga with an instructor who gets testy if you don’t follow instructions.
The Iyengar style of yoga with its meticulous emphasis on proper alignment and form in postures is my yoga of choice. I will be forever grateful to the teachers who had me hold poses for what seemed like an eternity while pointing out every miniscule misalignment of my joints for everyone to see.
…and the instruction of how to flow from warrior II to side angle and then into reverse warrior without the slightest movement through the legs or hips, not just once but over and over again until perfection and ease were achieved.
There have been many exceptional teachers who have inspired my practice and teaching style and all of them have been students and teachers of proper alignment in the Iyengar tradition. I have no doubt the practice of yoga has allowed me to grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally and literally physically over the last decade.
From 5’ 4 ¼” to 5’ 4 ¾” ….there will be no shrinking on my watch.
That’s my mom Carol Hoiland in the above picture. I made her go for a beach walk and then practice some yoga on the beach on a cold day. Isn’t she terrific?
|January 10, 2013||Posted by Jean Hoiland under Uncategorized||
As the new year begins you may find yourself struggling with resolutions, goals and a host of other mind stuff that clutters a sincere desire to be healthy, happy and wise. I have found the two books below to be of great help over the years and it is my hope they will help you as you embark on your 2013 odyssey.
In the meantime I’d like to share my daily ritual. I am not always successful but over the years it has become easier.
Rise each morning with the intention to recommit, refocus and surrender the old ways…set an intention to be mindful, aware and loving. At the end of each day reflect, forgive, be humble, persevere and be tolerant of ourselves and others.
I hope these two books will give you new perspective and insight into creating greater health, happiness and freedom.
It is a small book but packed with a healthy dose of very useful wisdom.
- Be impeccable with your word. (Our words have the power to create everything we desire and yet they can also destroy everything around us. Take responsibility for your actions, do not blame nor judge yourself. Speak the truth with kindness and love.)
- Don’t take anything personally. (It’s not about you!)
- Don’t make assumptions. (Clear communication is key. Ask questions, clarify your point and avoid misunderstanding, sadness and drama.)
- Always do your best. (Recognize that each day, each minute is different. Avoid self judgement, self abuse and regret.)
There are plenty of free copies online as well as for purchase on Amazon. A parallel guide to the Sutra’s can be very helpful as each author interprets the verses a little differently. The essence of the Sutra’s is calming the mind through the practice of the eight limbs of yoga.
While neither of these books will describe or explain how to achieve a perfect forward fold or warrior II posture…each will guide your journey towards practicing your postures and asanas with joy, ease and understanding.
Here’s to nurturing 2013 along with some mindful reading and contemplation. Happy New Year!
|August 25, 2012||Posted by Jean Hoiland under Jean Hoiland, Uncategorized||
I was interview by April Chan from Enumclaw Patch today. She wanted to know about my “Go Fund Me” renovation campaign. Most specifically she wanted to know why. She was curious what motivates me. I’m not sure how well I answered her question and have been giving it more thought.
What motivates me is pretty cliche really yet so simple. I am motivated to make a difference in peoples lives while providing a valuable service to my community.
Many years ago I took my first yoga class. I did not know what to expect. Up until that point I had only done yoga once with a few friends in my home and loved it but I had my doubts about a group class. I told my friends “if there is any weird chanting you can count me out”.
The teacher ended up being someone familiar which helped break down the barrier of discomfort and fear and his teaching and class had a huge impact on me, even the chanting 😉
I arrived at yoga after being being in pain for almost 5 years from an auto accident. Through the constant pain I continued to work out with weights, play volleyball, run and operate a business as a custom seamstress making curtains, pillows etc… As the saying goes when you’ve suffered long enough you will try anything.
After 5 years saying “NO” to yoga I had finally said “yes”. I had never felt so good during or after a physical activity. The whole time in savasana (final relaxation) when I was suppose to be quieting my mind I was plotting and planning how to afford to pay for classes. After class I went right up to that instructor and gave him a huge hug of appreciation. My body and especially my neck felt renewed and I wanted to rejoice.
When he asked if I would be at his next class, I did like most people do and told him I could not afford to go regularly. He listened to my “lack of” mental excuses then invited me to come back to a second class as his guest (I think my enthusiastic heartfelt gracious hug made a big impact), then a friend started gifting me classes. They knew I just spent 5 years with astronomical medical bills and my need was real…I wasn’t hitting the coffee stand 4-5 times per week or keeping up with the latest fashion trends.
Their gift truly changed my life. The day after my first yoga studio experience I called my gym and canceled my membership. I was going to make yoga a part of my life. Through the practice and education of yoga I learned to live more abundantly and with greater purpose. I began letting go of negative things, from the type of work I was doing to the harmful effect volleyball and weights had on my injury.
I started taking more breaks to rest, stretch and meditate. I removed myself from a stressful relationship. The more I practiced yoga the better I felt and more positive things were drawn into my life.
By giving up a few things in order to afford yoga I got so much more in return.
I am still working towards finding greater ease and calm in my practice and in my life. It is a challenging practice and lately I have found myself struggling yet again. This time the struggle is the expansion of my yoga business.
The stories members share of how yoga has helped them renew my motivation to continue regardless of the challenges. Comments such as “A yoga studio in Enumclaw is a beautiful gift to the community. The caliber of your teaching is a blessing.” This was easily the most poetic compliment I have ever received.
Another member came in and shared his assessment of what yoga has done for him. His statement was “yoga truly is the key to longevity”, this member is 71 years young and his first class with me occurred just shortly after retiring at the age of 70. My biggest (though she is very small) inspiration is my mother. Through the practice of yoga she has recovered from triple bypass surgery and eliminated all but one pharmaceutical drug.
These are the stories that make the struggle of being a business owner “worth it”. Yes folks yoga is worth it.
|May 4, 2011||Posted by Jean Hoiland under Uncategorized||
We will be immersing ourselves in yoga the first weekend of June. Get in touch with the studio if you are interested. Dates are:
$450 includes lodging, food and yoga
The Yoga Lodge Whidbey Island