Two Reviews for Nov.- Dec. 2008: The Lunar Calendar & Healthy Aging Yoga

Two years ago I featured the Luna Press calendar. Because I really love this calendar, I want to give it another plug. The Luna Press calendar is like no other because it follows the moon phases in an elliptical pattern, not just the calendar days in a block style. (See photos below)

THE ’09 LUNAR CALENDAR:
DEDICATED TO THE GODDESS IN HER MANY GUISES

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Below is the email text I received from Luna Press that makes you want to buy one today!

We are simply delighted to announce the 33rd annual edition!
Cover: Prithvi, protectress, by Jamie Hogan
Edited by: Nancy FW Passmore
ISBN 978-1-877920-19-6
$23.00 US$
Publication date: August 15, 2008
32 page wall-hanging, featuring fresh work from 28 artists and writers.
Printed with soy-based inks on recycled paper in the USA .

Think globally, print locally.

LOOK UP!

Here’s where to order:
Luna Press
PO Box 15511 Kenmore Station
Boston, MA 02215-0009 USA
phone 617-427-9846

www.thelunapress.com

This information from the artist is also taken from my email from Luna Press. I thought artist Jamie Hogan’s process was interesting enough to share:

I posted the tiger drawing awhile back, when I was in the middle of figuring out the illustration. I am asked to do the cover only every few years, so I wanted this one to be as colorful and dramatic as possible. I decided to work with separate elements, and then play around with layering them in Photoshop. This makes the process akin to collaging, my other love. I can play around til it hits me just right. I also wanted to get more mileage out of the reams of reference I had collected when researching Bangla culture for Rickshaw Girl. I had gotten books about Indian art featuring lots of court paintings of Hindu goddesses. As it turned out, this was not the realm of art done by Naima, the young girl in the book. In that culture, women do decorative paintings of designs around the dwellings, called alpanas. They are done with rice paste, ephemeral as the latest rain.

With free reign for the calendar, I mixed it all up: an earth goddess, Prithvi, as a tiger queen bordered by decorative designs. The Lunar Calendar is “dedicated to the goddess in Her many guises” and I like to think that the Divine Feminine resides in every woman, queen or not. I have contributed work to the calendar since 1982, which suddenly boggles my mind. 26 years?? It’s a mix of nature wisdom, cycle awareness, poetry, and original art.

Below is a page from the calendar that illustrates the format I mentioned above. It follows the phases of the moon, rather than just the days of the month, so there is some overlapping of days from the previous or next month. This is a very interesting way to view the calendar, since the moon and female menses are related, or as one website stated so primly: (There is) a synchronous relationship between the menstrual cycle and lunar rhythm. To learn more about this, just Google the moon and menses. Even if you are post-menopausal, I think the moon has an influence on our spiritual state of mind.

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Previously I reviewed another book by Suza Francina in the March 2007 posting. That title was Yoga and The Wisdom of Menopause: A Guide to Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Health at Midlife and Beyond. This new book goes deeper into yoga as we age healthfully.
Below is my review with photos:

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If you think you are too old to start taking yoga lessons, think again! Better yet, read Suza Francina’s latest yoga book entitled The New Yoga for Healthy Aging. From the very first page you will be convinced that yoga is a wonderful activity for people of any age, and with Suza’s book, you will have what you need, whatever your physical abilities and/or limitations.

The first few chapters deal with yoga as a journey of discovery as well as explaining and displaying the props Suza uses to help people who have any kind of limitation. For example, in her classes, based on Iyengar Yoga, named after yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar, Suza uses bolsters, wall ropes, folding chairs, blankets and pillows to help her students with poses (asanas) that they otherwise could not accomplish. (She also notes that one year of yoga costs less than one day in the hospital!)

Here are some quotes from the first few chapters to give you a taste of Suza’s philosophy after teaching yoga for 30 years:

“Yoga’s acceptance into the healthcare field is part of a paradigm shift from focusing on chronic disease to focusing on prevention” (p. 3).

“Yoga postures reverse the aging process by moving each joint in the body through its full range of motion⎯stretching, strengthening, and balancing each part” (p.13).

“Yoga is the art and science of spiritual, mental, and physical transformation…..Yoga is a nonviolent way of life that encourages each individual to fell whole and to realize his or her inner potential” (p.38).

The middle chapters of the book deal with specific ailments, such as arthritis, heart disease, Parkinson’s, osteoporosis, etc. and explain which poses are suitable for each of the body issues. Suza emphasizes safe handing of your body, using props to help her students perform poses safely. Near the end of the book is a long chapter entitled “Yoga Sequences for Healthy Aging.” Here is where the reader can see the flow of yoga postures with photographs of older men and women performing the asanas.

Incidentally, all her models are older men and women, some of whom are in their nineties, dissipating the notion that older people are too stiff to do yoga. They may be stiff when they start, but the gentle poses eventually help to “loosen up” the joints and muscles. As my first yoga teacher told me in the early 1970s, and as Suza echoes, if you keep your spine flexible, you will remain young in body, mind, and spirit, or as the author says so succinctly: “You are as young as your spine is flexible.”

The end of the book features the “models,” several appendices, resources, and a bibliography. This book is so complete, it could be subtitled: “Everything you wanted to know about yoga and aging, but were too stiff to ask.” With this book, you don’t need to ask. The information is all there, in large print, with age-appropriate models, with dozens of photographs, and with Suza’s simplistic way with words, helpful lists, and valuable resources. Every one of the 382 ages has nuggets of yoga wisdom.

This is definitely a book that will take you on a yoga journey that will last a lifetime, whatever your age and whatever goals you have for fitness after 50 60, 70, 80, and 90. The New Yoga for Healthy Again is published by Health Communications, Inc. and costs $16.95. It is available in book stores and through the Internet.

Below is a photo of author Suza Francina in a balance pose. If you are new to yoga, you would use the wall as a prop, as I often do, even though I have been doing yoga for 3 decades. As we age, balancing can sometimes be challenging, but Suza’s book shows you ways to meet the challenge….with a smile!!

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