What helps when sitting around all day: Italian workshop

Gentle Reader,

This is the view from the grand guest house bedroom window at the Villa Lina, a working 80 acre farm in Lazio, just minutes north of Rome in Italy.  I was there to write with Natalie Goldberg, the guru I’ve been following for several years.  She begins each day with sitting in a meditation room large enough to hold 45 people in a square.  Breakfast is after that and then sitting again before instruction and writing begin.

Without daily stretching and exercise, I am toast.  Full of pain in the hips and knees.  Why we have to keep moving to keep from hurting, I explained in a lot of detail in my last post.  Let me tell you a couple techniques I used faithfully every day while away for the month, even when on the over night train from the Netherlands to Zurich Switzerland.

1) Use the theraband, towel, shirt, scarf to stretch those calves.  Lie on the bed/floor/rug first thing in the morning one leg straight along the surface, the other up over head.  The scarf is over the ball of the foot, and end in each hand.  Relax the ankle and let the toes be drawn toward your nose.  Hold it no matter how much it hurts, easing off and then drawing down again for 20 breathes at least.  Then take the ends of the scarf in the outside hand and draw the foot and outstretched leg to the side, not too far down, and pull the toes toward the nose for another 15 or so breaths.  Change hands and extend the leg across the body. This probably hurts a lot.  It certainly hurts when I do it.  It’s the T-band on the outside of the thigh that gets so tight.

2) No matter what keep moving.  At the Villa, I got up a little early and walked for an hour before the sitting began.  It was a spectacularly beautiful place.   There were ripe grapes waiting for harvesting. I picked a whole bunch and ate them as I walked.  I had my shoes with me that I could get wet in the morning dew. Don’t leave home without them even if they make your bag heavier.  The hotel consierge can tell you a safe route to walk in the early morning.  Even in Las Vegas when I was at the Shaklee convention in August and it was blazing hot, early morning walks saved me.  And there are always stair cases in the city.

pre-dawn, one of the pools at Villa Lina

3) diet is the hardest.  At the Villa our food was incredible, but still not enough vegetables to please me.  Or fiber.  I bought a package of prunes at a grocery store.  Helpful.  This is where you are glad to have your multivitamins with you and perhaps extra special vitamins that concentrate the good stuff found in fruits and vegetables.  The ones I like are here.  

4) Drink plenty of water.  Some people worry about water in a foreign country or different city.  You know your own body and how it reacts to digestive changes like different water.  Personally I don’t bother with bottled water.  If the locals drink from the tap, so do I.  I keep my system functioning with some friendly bacteria that comes in a little capsule.  These millions of little guys keep my bowels functioning and protect me from catching every little bug that comes along.  Did you know that your immune protection is mostly in the lower intestine?  Keep that area healthy and strange water and other bad bugs probably won’t bother you.

5) one last thing, at the end of a busy day either sitting and writing or tromping around as a tourist, stick your feet up on the wall behind your bed.  This restorative pose drains all the aches and pains out of your tired legs.  This is good for any person who has tired achy legs at the end of the day.  It’s hard to get into the position.  Here’s how to do it.  Sit next the wall on the floor (or at the head of the bed where the pillow have been cleared away).  Your left hip is against the wall, your bunt on the floor.  Swing your torso down to the floor (bed) and your straight legs up the wall.  Here’s a funny picture of me doing just that on a picnic table bench when spending a day with my grandson tromping around Montreal.  It embarrassed him, but not me.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of comfort.

Happy travels,

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

www.GrandmaBetsyBell.com

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

betsy@hihohealth.com

Comments

  1. Margaret Bullitt says

    Hi Betsy,

    So good to see photos of Villalina — it brings back how beautiful it was. Good reminders, too, of how to stay healthy and fit while traveling. Pointers about plane travel would be helpful, as well as the effects of alcohol and sugar. I make sure to drink plenty of water before and during a flight, and avoid alcohol, flour products and sugar. I also make sure to get up and stretch during the flight — even, as you say, if it’s embarrassing to your travel companions! Once arrived, I continue to try to be moderate about eating and drinking. It’s tempting to think, I’m on vacation! But to overdue it can spoil the next day. For me, I’m not talking about a binge. Even just bread, dessert, coffee with cream, wine — the natural sugar in all those things tends to bloat me, inflame my joints, and interfere with good sleep. Plus I tend to feel depressed and moody. The flour in Europe doesn’t have the GMO wheat that we have here, and I found the pasta didn’t bloat
    me as much as it does here. But still, I tried to be mindful of not overdoing any of that, and I know that helped me stay sane and balanced, mentally and physically.