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Off the Mat: Yogis Donate Time, Forget to Mention Yoga

in YD News

Contrary to what one might think, growing old in NYC doesn’t have to suck, even when you reach 101 years old. Elizabeth Goodyear is visited daily by volunteers who have long since become friends, donating their time reading books aloud and getting some juicy stories in return. It’s incredibly generous for these kind souls to spend some time with Ms. Goodyear, who is blind and can no longer leave her apt. To be frank, though, since many of her visitors are yoga instructors, we’re kind of curious as to why there’s no mention of doing any actual yoga (besides the obvious practice of karma yoga, which is not what we’re talking about here).  Even though she’s quite well into her years, surely we know that yoga can be adapted to anybody. And we know from experience how yogis just can’t resist an opportunity to speak the word.  So we wonder if yoga is indeed involved and just not mentioned?  Is she simply not interested? Actually, for a woman of her longevity, who has a fridge stocked with champagne and dark chocolate, we can’t really blame her if doing yoga is far from the top of list of favorite pasttimes. C’est la vie.

On another note, the fact that it’s primarily yoga teachers doesn’t make us feel too confident in the rest of the population – aren’t there any other decenty types milling around nyc willing to spend an hour reading old english novels and listening to debaucherous tales of drinks with George Balanchine? But then we realized the person who initially started the whole thing was none other than yogi Alison West, owner of Yoga Union, a studio created for helping people with spinal conditions.

With all of this yoga-ness we doubt the instructors checked their chakras at the door. We’re just wondering why it was completely omitted from the story.

In Strangers, a Blind Centenarian Finds a Literary Lifetime [NYTimes]


3 comments… add one
  • Just a small clarification: there was champagne and chocolate because we had just celebrated Liz Goodyear’s 101 birthday on June 19! The interviews took place right afterwards. The champagne is going very slowly…

    Also, I continue to look for volunteers to join me in this project, since people move away or see their schedules become more demanding. It’s not something that I did only “initially.” It has been ongoing for years.

    I have even recruited neighbors in the building, who would become fast friends with Liz and then move away as far as Los Angeles or Seattle, but continue the friendship through visits and phone calls. And yes, many of them have been my students, including Stephanie Sandleben and Rebecca Feldman. Mark Kalinowsky is the friend of a student.

    Through these dedicated friends the pool of readers expands. Families of various readers/friends have also visited, as well as boy/girlfriends. And there are a few long time friends who didn’t get mentioned but are regulars, Janet and Bob. Bob Dagny has taken care of Liz’s paperwork for a long time and, for years, had Friday dinner with Liz. And more recently, some friends from the long past have re-appeared, animating Liz’s life with the warmth of old memories and re-discovered affection.

    And then there is Carol, Liz’s chief care-giver, who works twelve days out of fourteen, nine to five. She lives to take care of Liz. She is wonderful, and I salute her.

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