ALZHEIMER'S + YOGA
Elizabeth Kadetsky's excellent essay in yesterday's New York Times examines the parallels between her mother's Alzheimer's and the in-the-moment-ness of yoga.
Today, at 69, she has less of that charisma — she has been diagnosed with the disease in its early to middle stages. But she has at least as much of a quality that I, earlier, modeled myself on, and later came to admire in her: a quirky, rather peculiar nature that could be summarized as an insistence on living in the moment. By concentrated meditation on the moment and each moment that follows, the yogi gains sacred knowledge. So these days, I sometimes believe I am not so much losing my mother as communicating, more and more so exclusively, with that side of her that exists only in the present.....
Alzheimer’s is about living in the present. To exist outside of memory is to occupy the moment wholly. For instance, my mother quit smoking around the time of her diagnosis. As she explained it, she’d have the urge to smoke, would forget to light up before she got her hands on the pack, and so broke a 50-year addiction. It seemed the craving no longer got stuck in her memory circuits, and so easily fell away.
Read the rest here.
*I was partway through the piece when I noticed how unusually well-written it was, and scrolled up to see the author's name - which rang a bell. Elizabeth Kadetsky is the author of the 2004 memoir First There is a Mountain: A Yoga Romance - which is about BKS Iyengar, and is highly recommended.
Thanks to Annie and Sherry for the head's up