MPTF (Motion Picture & Television Fund) HEALTHCARE CONVERSATION
You’ve all made your heartfelt resolutions, right? Eat better, exercise more, be more organized, call your parent/sibling/oldest friend regularly, read more, couch surf less… and you’re now exhausted and it’s only the middle of January.
May we gently suggest that you ease into the whole makeover concept by combining quality time with a friend or loved one and some stretching. Carol Takakura, certified health and nutrition consultant and yoga instructor, is a big believer in the benefits of yoga for people of all ages and capabilities.
“Yoga helps kids with their attention span. It is good for seniors with arthritis or lower back pain. And it helps build muscle strength and improves posture for everyone.” Which means there are no excuses – and every opportunity to start a regular yoga practice with your nearest and dearest!
If you’re new to yoga, Carol suggests you join a class. “A class helps give you a sense of well-being and camaraderie,” she says. It also gets you started down a safe path of exercise that takes your level of ability into consideration. A good yoga instructor will help you find the right poses and modifications that let you immediately begin to feel the benefits.
If you already have a favorite sport or activity, yoga is one of the best cross-training activities there is. “Yoga will improve anything,” says Carol. “Flexibility, range of motion, balanced muscle groups – yoga keeps all muscles in shape, not just those specifically for the sport you do the most.”
We’ve talked before about the Benefits of Breathing, and yoga uses that power of breath in combination with poses to improve your physical and mental health. Focused breathing is shown to lower your blood pressure and anxiety levels. Even the simplest poses help kids feel more grounded, which can help them control their tempers and be more patient. A yoga practice brings you back in touch with your entire body. How do you feel? What is strong today? What is feeling a little off? What adjustment can you make to bring your body back into balance? “Yoga allows everyone to be successful no matter what physical activity they’re doing now,” says Carol. “It can help improve body image for young girls, and can help seniors avoid falls by improving balance.”
So. Take a breath. Consider what you need to do to begin walking down a path to a more healthy and balanced life. Take a look at some of Carol’s classes or see if MPTF has some classes that fit into your schedule. Then grab your kid or your granny or your office mate and get started!
Yoga and I
I couldn’t wait to audit the Yoga Class that Carol Takakura conducts twice a week in the Katzenberg Pavilion on the MPTF Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills.
Every day of my life, I wake up, meditate and then go through about a fifteen-minute yoga routine. I wanted to see if what I was practicing was up to date with Carol¹s class.
I sat on my little chair and observed as one man and seven or eight women went through their tenderly guided class with Carol.
Breathing, stretching, strengthening, and relaxing seemed to be the heart and soul of the hour long session.
Mats on the floor, bodies up and down, gently stretching, turning and gently touched – never without permission asked by Carol – to make sure each position was being properly practiced.
As I sat and watched, I felt like I was in the audience of a wonderful ballet or master synchronized dance class. The rhythm and motion of every member in the class seemed to move in a smooth, beautiful swan-like wave.
There were a few grunts, a few grimaces, some serious concentration, and a whole lot of effort put forth during the hour.
The ten minutes of lying silently on their backs and concentrating on quiet breathing seemed to put each and every person in the room into a wonderful trance like state; the perfect ending.
Jennifer Clymer, who runs our Channel 22, participated in the class and I asked her how she felt as she began the class, and again how she felt when it was a wrap.
“I was tense and anxious as the class began and feel stretched, relaxed and most of all, peaceful now.”
Not only did Jennifer have a wonderful gentle smile on her face, as all her fellow participants did, but for some reason, she seemed an inch or two taller to me.
I felt pretty good too. I got to pick up a tip or two to add to my morning yoga routine without even breaking a sweat.