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Newsletter - October 2016

To list or not to list?

It just so happens that I have never been much of a list person. My husband is a list person and he gets a lot done. Much more than I could ever hope to accomplish. I have a deep respect for list-makers because of my own inability to create them. Somehow, over the years, as a mother of three sons, business owner and coach, I have made an uneasy truce with my natural tendencies so that on good days I write down a list of daily priorities in the paper calendar sitting beside my computer. It helps. It really helps. Yet, there is one list for which I can’t seem to shake a sense of unease. That is the bucket list. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the “bucket list” as the list of things one wants to do before one dies. It’s not the death at the bottom (or top!) of this list that gives me unease. It’s more about how this list makes me feel about my life. The creation of any list suggests an imperative. For me, a sense of imperative is a necessary evil for the peace of mind that comes with meeting the needs of my family and my business on a daily basis. More generally, there is no list that helps me discover joy and fun in the moment. Every day I look forward to a sunrise and a good walk. On weekends I anticipate longer walks and reading the newspaper, quite happy to leave lists beside my computer. I just returned from a soul-satisfying, coast to coast walk across England along what remains of Roman Emperor Hadrian’s Wall. It was a walk under blue skies, rainbows, and rain, through sheep and cow pastures, up and down crags, and along salt marshes.Yes, there was planning involved for this trip but it was so rich in companionship, education and effort that I could never reduce it to a line crossed off a list. There is good reason for lists and goals. There is good reason to discover a new and happy definition of a listless life!

Have you tried our yoga classes yet? We’re indoors for November and December. Take the opportunity to improve posture and flexibility around the shoulders, hips, and ankles through yoga practice. Our classes also emphasize breath work and meditation. It’s an enhancement to your power walking that offers far-reaching benefits.  

Our 2-month membership to walking classes begins the first week of November! If you sign up for our walking class membership, you get an extra special price on our yoga sessions!

FREE: join us in Toronto for a slow and meditative labyrinth walk at the next full super moon on November 14! 

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Walk it down!

In class, and on your own, incorporating hill repeats is a great opportunity to get the heart beating and the sweat flowing. We love hills! We love them for both incline and decline. We know that you are going to get that much-loved endorphin boost working it out on the incline. We also know that, with some attention, the decline is a superior learning and training opportunity for downhill form that translates into good flat terrain form. As you walk down a hill, concentrate on bringing the heel strike in closer to your body than on flat terrain. As that heel strikes, aim to maintain a straight leg for as long as possible. You may feel that this straight leg pushes the hip back. In other words, you are initiating some “hip rotation.”  If you learn hip rotation on a decline and are able to recreate it during your flat ground walking, you may find both walking speed and abdominal strength increase. Also, by maintaining a straight leg for as long as possible, you protect the knee from injury. Win. Win. Win.

Light it up

With the cooler temperatures of autumn come shorter days. Or, rather, longer nights! Walkers at night are at high risk of being hit by vehicles. Over recent months, the Greater Toronto Area has witnessed a shocking increase in collisions between vehicles and pedestrians. Could there be more distracted drivers and pedestrians? Are pedestrians simply not making themselves visible? What ever the cause, our lives depend on making ourselves visible — especially at night. Wear a reflective vest, add reflective tape to clothes, wear lights front and back. Always assume that drivers are not expecting you and can not see you. Consider situations where you are vulnerable: where there are no sidewalks, you will be walking on the road shoulder and cars might make a turn around a corner toward you; crossing driveways watch for cars reversing; anticipate cars making right hand turns while the driver is looking left; pause for cars running amber and advanced green lights.

Twist it out

One of the many benefits of a consistent yoga practice is increased flexibly for every day life. Power walking is a priority in terms of your cardiovascular health. Yoga brings ease to everyday movement. For example, backing up your car. Many of us have had that experience of feeling so stiff it is difficult to look over our shoulder as we drive in reverse. There is infinite opportunity in yoga class to invite a twist into practice. Here’s one that can be done while you are standing (or sitting!) outside of yoga class. Reach your left arm across the front of your body so that your left hand reaches toward your right hip. Now twist in the direction of the right hip. Twist the torso to its full range of motion, continue the turn through the neck and head. Repeat in the other direction. Improved ability to rotate through the torso will speed up your walk by facilitating hip rotation. And, gentle twisting around a neutral spine promotes back health.