Age: 55, turning 56 this year
Hometown: born in Vancouver, resides in Burnaby
Ed is a warm kind man committed to his practice. He's a dedicated part of the community at his local studio and has been enjoying the benefits of yoga for over 8 years now.
1. Share a bit about yourself:
I grew up in a era that was old school about exercise and nutrition. I enjoyed playing sports and probably took more risks than I should have which led to injuries and chronic pain that will always limit my capabilities.
I took my first Yoga class with Ann, a co-worker about 18 years ago. It was Iyengar Yoga which was a good fit because I am a methodical learner. Classes were once a week and when the series ended, I missed how Yoga made me feel. A few years later, I heard that there was a new studio opening in my community centre so I bought my first mat. Having not stepped on a mat in years, being without the security blanket of my co-worker Ann and very aware that might be the only male in class, I let that mat sit shrink wrapped in my basement closet for over a year.
I am not sure why, but one day I picked it up and dropped into my first yoga class on my own. I did OK.
Most of the time I was the only guy in the class, but I didn't notice unless someone brought it up. I committed myself, went often and learned to choose the classes with the right teachers and students for me. Yoga no longer felt like exercise and it became a retreat. I'm now in my 8th year of Yoga practice at the same community centre and have progressed from 2 classes a week to 5 - 8 classes weekly, depending on the time of the year.
Yoga is an integral part of my health and wellness program. I have been practicing and still practice several forms Tai Chi and Qi Qiong. They help me with strength, breath control, alignment, posture, balance and flexibility and they are all a form of a dynamic, moving meditation. It amazes me how these disciplines are very similar but different. They add a new dimension to my health and well being. I throw in some Interval training for cardiovascular health, resistance training, core work and rehab exercises to help maintain strength and function.
I enjoy an active lifestyle. Yoga reduces the frequency and severity of my injuries and allows me the freedom to do the activities that I enjoy. I am recovering from surgery right now and I miss my Yoga practice very much. I can practice Yoga at home with instructional videos, but I miss the community, receiving and giving energy with my fellow students and fabulous instructors.
With Yoga, the more I put into it, the more I get out of it. It is more than becoming stronger, more flexible or better balanced, it is very much mental and spiritual too - so I embrace it and allow it to happen! It has become a big part of my life and I plan to practice and share in Yoga for as long as I can.
2. What are you working on right now?
My wife is close to retirement and we are starting to travel more often. We hope to maintain an active lifestyle together through what I call our "go go" retirement years. Perhaps she can start her own Yoga practice too. I find it curious that there are few couples practicing Yoga together, long term. I am semi-retired, health and business permitting, I can stay at this pace for a long time.
Our children are all of college/university age. The hardest thing for me as a parent is to learn to let go and allow them to figure things out for themselves. We give them the tools they need, support them when we can and learn to stay out of the way when we should. They probably would not have it any other way, but hopefully we will be around and relevant enough to offer help when asked. :)
Both sides of our family have a history of hypertension and diabetes. I believe exercise and proper nutrition will help control this without having to use medication. Maintaining and increasing my core and functional strength will allow me to stay active and do the things that I enjoy doing for as long as possible. I am far from being perfect with exercise and eating, but if I do it right say, 3/4 of the time, I am on the good side more times than the wrong side and that works for me. Ideally, I could lose that oh so tough 5 to 10 pounds which will help improve my blood readings and be easier on my knee condition and I could do it by being very disciplined with my nutrition. But I am a foodie at heart so it is about a matter of balance. I will let my blood readings decide what to do - if it needs improvement then I can buckle down and be more strict, if it is acceptable, I can relax a bit.
I golf, I log about 7 miles each time I play and it is tough on the back and joints if I let my fitness slide. My long term goal is to shoot/score my age, that might be in another 20 to 25 years and that is additional motivation to stay well. I have been a tropical fish hobbyist on and off through the years since I was 8 years old, raising and breeding tropical fish for pleasure. I love researching and setting up new environments for my finny friends. It is very labour intensive and I will probably wind things down to just a couple of aquariums over the next few years.
I really strive to be balanced in life: Family, yourself and work. It's a challenging and an ongoing work in progress. Anything that I can do to reduce stress helps. Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Qiong, my health and wellness are all important to reduce stress so I can focus on the more important things in life.