Book Review: Fountain of Youth ExercisesSusannah Kent September 1, 2011
Author: Naomi Sophia Call
Publisher: Findhorn Press; Forres, Scotland
Book Publication: 2011
As we grow older, it is not surprising that we find ourselves looking back longingly to our youth (firm muscles, glowing skin, boundless energy and vitality). Fortunately, recent research out of Hamilton’s McMaster University is now revealing the heartening potential of exercise as a means of reducing or eliminating almost every detrimental effect of aging, at least in mice.
While we anxiously await further research in this area and its possible impact for humans, we can turn to yoga teacher and master health food chef, Naomi Sophia Call’s latest book, Fountain of Youth Exercises, to experience a wonderfully unique, safe and ‘real’ age defying program.
Connecting to her background as a chef, Call describes her work as a ‘recipe’ for longevity. Fountain of Youth Exercises features gorgeous photography, inspiring quotes, helpful tips, and a series of invigorating movement practices drawn from Call’s own experiences as a healing arts teacher, as well as other time-honoured practices from around the world.
Call has discovered (for herself and her students) that these practices can provide vitality, radiance, joy and fulfillment. What will make this work even more appealing to the time-starved is the fact it can be achieved in easily manageable segments of fifteen minutes.
Some of the ingredients in her recipe for longevity include: Conscious Breathing – to improve the functioning of the body; Do-In – an ancient series of movements involving tapping, rubbing, pinching, pulling and pounding from head to toe – to simulate energy (or chi); The Five Rites – commonly referred to as “The Ancient Secret to the Fountain of Youth” – a series of exercises to energize and strengthen every major muscle group and system in the body; Yoga poses to complement the Five Rites; and Meditation in Motion to realize the physical, mental and emotional benefits of a quiet mind.
This is a truly lovely and practical manual for aging. Included with each of the often breathtaking photos of flowers are some very profound and beautiful quotes, including Melodie Beatties’s: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more…,” and Mae West’s: “You’re never too old to become younger.”
The large soft-bound format, clear directions, including modifications, and wonderful photos demonstrating each exercise make this program easy and enjoyable to learn and practise.
And lest we forget that exercise is only one ingredient in the longevity recipe, Call has added some helpful sections on how to nourish our bodies on the inside with the likes of a plant-based diet, pure water and lots of fresh air; and to feed our spirits with creative expression.
By now we should all be aware of the many benefits of exercise, but Call’s important reminder that “every society around the globe known for longevity shares the common component of daily exercise,” along with the use of exercise models who are in their eighties and nineties (who all look amazingly fit, with excellent form and posture) will certainly inspire the reader to get up off the couch or office chair and “dip into the fountain of youth.”
Susannah Kent is a Toronto area Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Instructor.