Yoga for Healthy Aging with Vicky Willis:

As of late, most, if not all, of us have found ourselves stuck indoors all day long. With not much keeping us active and moving throughout our days inside, we can find ourselves not getting the exercise we need. Not only is it a great time to make a schedule and factor in regular physical activity, its also very important, because now more than ever our bodies and our minds are in need of a little…or a lot of TLC.

Class Experience
Vicky Willis and her course Yoga for Healthy Aging was one of the first few classes we were able to move online. As an experienced yoga instructor and having experience teaching online, she was up for the switch, and excited to provide an online option for students.

Though switching from in-person instruction to online formatting can seem strange or even difficult, Vicky Willis was still able to create a comfortable, healing environment for all of the students taking her class. She led her classes, beginning with gentle healing stretches to warm up the body, and progressing to deeper more dynamic movements.

Helpful Techniques
Vicky Willis not only led her yoga class but also introduced us to and informed us of many helpful tools and techniques to help us bring peace and calm to our minds. Ujjayi breath and Thoppukaranam, or squats while pinching the earlobes are two examples.

Ujjayi means “to conquer” or “to be victorious” which is why it is also often referred to as “Victorious Breath.” When practicing this type of breath work, one relaxes or constricts their throat muscles ever so slightly to create an audible sound while breathing. Due to the sound it makes when being done correctly, it is also sometimes called “Ocean Breath” or “Hissing Breath” however, many yoga teachers mostly refer to it as “Ujjayi Breath.” This method can be used while meditating or during your yoga practice, pairing and guiding your movements using your breath. By becoming in control of your breath, you can calm your mind and bring awareness to the present moment. In yoga, it is believed that by consciously practicing breathing exercises such as this one, can bring positive changes to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Thoppukaranam, or performing squats while pinching your right and left earlobe with the opposite hand can help our minds and bodies in many ways.
This move can:
– Strengthening the immune system and promoting fast healing
– Eliminates stress and encourages mental stability.
– It promotes healthy cognitive function.

Vicky Willis has done an amazing job giving students a great opportunity to give extra care, attention, and healing to our bodies and minds. Leaving you with this message from Vicky Willis to OLLI students, we wish you peace and happiness. In this time of great uncertainty, we need to be able to look inward and define our peace. Yoga is a time-honored technique to bring mindfulness and awareness. Let’s take some time to do therapeutic yoga together. Namaste🙏



By Kelley O’Rourke
OLLI Student Intern