Yesterday I taught a yoga class with three other people. We usually have about eight or ten, but summer travel often has people out and about, enjoying time off. The class felt intimate and delightful.
No one in the class, including myself, was under 50. I can safely say we were all seniors moving about, taking time at the end of the day to center ourselves, stretch, and move.
On our first forward fold, I asked everyone to gently bend the knees and take both hands to massage the back of the legs. As we did, I thought of the gift of limbs, circulation, the possibility of movement, and the importance of doing what we were doing together.
As I used my right hand on my leg, I turned to gratitude for the opportunity of having my hand and arm work after my bicycle accident. I brought to mind and heart my amazing orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sadasivan, head of Orthopedics at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, who saved my elbow and arm.
I realized how privileged we all were that we had enough health to move the way we were. None of us made it to the yoga class without tremendous support from others. I thought about how that support is often a function of social forces we often don’t control but can help shape.
Even simple things often taken for granted such as food plays a significant role in how we make it to our senior years. Access to quality food is a key element to living a healthy and long life. Yet in this great land of ours, there are vast food desserts that prevent people from eating healthy food. I don’t ever forget that systemic poverty is the greatest threat to health there is.
Here are two maps I want you to look at. As you study them, ask yourself what they have in common.
To find out their shocking meaning, take a look at this link. Shaping those social forces I mentioned earlier starts with knowledge. The article is compelling. It addresses peripheral arterial disease as a result of diabetes. It does so in a context many have not looked at.
And, please come to yoga. We work with the whole person when we practice. No matter where you may be or where you have come from, there’s something in the practice that might serve you and your wellbeing.