Virginia Tech and Cascades Recreation Area

It was time for an out-of-town adventure and time to check off Virginia Tech from my bucket list. But a 4+ hour overnight trip would not be filled with just a visit to a university campus. In researching things to do in Blacksburg, Va, the Cascades Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest seemed like a worthwhile and fun place to visit. What seemed enticing was not only the hike, but the reward of seeing a magnificent 69 foot waterfall. (Seniors, you can get in free with your National Park Pass).

To get to the falls required a round trip four-mile hike which I thought would be a piece of cake considering I had done an 8.15 mile walk in the Great Aloha Run. Studying the map at the beginning of the hike, it appeared that the lower trail would be more scenic and “easier” because the upper trail was described as being more challenging because of the hill. Hence, we chose the lower trail and began our hike along the lovely Little Stoney Creek.

“Easier” is a relative term — easier if you’re younger and “grueling” in my book with having to step over all shapes and heights of rocks, twisted roots, numerous steps, and narrow pathways. Knowing what was at the end of the trail, I could not give up. Truthfully, I could not have done it without my husband. Well, maybe I could’ve, but it would’ve taken all day and there were dark clouds above and a thunderstorm looming. As we passed people coming down, they kept saying we were almost there and it was worth it.

There comes a point where the lower trail and upper trail meet and it becomes just one path to the falls. I asked a group if they had taken the upper trail (the one we had not chosen) and they said yes and a gentleman explained that it was a road that the park uses for maintenance. Therefore, it was wide and smooth. What a relief that we had an easier way back, but it was raining so the mud road was a little slippery. But, we could still walk much faster and get back to our car.

It took about 1.5 hours to get to the top and it was definitely worthwhile. I was drenched in perspiration on a cool day, but what an awesome view and an exhilarating feeling of accomplishment. I had an apple for nourishment which my body really needed. Unfortunately, it started to rain so we did not have much time to enjoy the view and had to start our descent on some slippery rocks and steps. However, once we got to the maintenance road, it felt as though we were home free.

It was a wonderful trip in every way — one of the best front desk people I’ve ever encountered (Ritz Carlton quality at a Hampton Inn), excellent service and food at Sal’s Italian Restaurant, and on the way home we stopped at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Va where we had an excellent tour guide. That was the icing on the cake. Oh, and yes, the visit to Virginia Tech and their hokie stone buildings was also awesome. Now I know why they’re called Hokies.

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Senior Aerobics

Stretching in Senior Aerobics

In my last post, I told you about my very close friend, my pedometer. Getting the recommended 10K steps is now easier — at least 3 times each week — because I found a new love: a light aerobics class for seniors. I have never taken aerobics, so I did not know how invigorating and uplifting it is. I stumbled upon this class as I was looking for a substitute for my Friday morning yoga class which is on summer vacation.

Aerobics is not exactly a substitute for yoga, but we do stretches and balance exercises that we do in yoga. This particular class has been going on for well over 10 years and is run by volunteers. One session was even led by an  89-year old gentleman. The most difficult part of this class is ringing the alarm clock to be present for an 8:30 a.m. class! But you’ll definitely be awake by the end of class and the music will have you humming for the rest of the day.

So, if you’ve never tried aerobics, I encourage you to do so. It will work your brain and your body — what a great anti-aging formula. For those in the Washington, DC Metro area, the class meets in West Springfield, VA and you can send me an e-mail (info@noranagatani.com) if you are interested. There is no charge, but we make a $1 donation to the church for the use of their facility. What a deal!

And now, I’m going to use this class as a warm-up before my yoga class when it resumes in September. What an unexpected bonus in my life!

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Breaking a Habit — Can Hypnotherapy Work?

So you have a bad habit — smoking, eating too much, biting your nails — and you’d like to break the habit. Or maybe you don’t have a bad habit you’d like to break, but you need help with achieving your goals. Can hypnotherapy work? Perhaps, perhaps not. Last week I met a certified hypnotist studying advanced hypnotherapy. He had previously given a presentation to The Healing Cooperative – Fairfax Chapter and was offering the opportunity to experience hypnotherapy.

Being very interested in alternative and complementary medicine, I decided to schedule an appointment. In one sense, John and I are on parallel paths — we are at the beginning of our journey to learn our chosen healing modality. He witnessed hypnosis and saw positive results and I saw how Cellular Response could help people. (See my previous posts here and here).

After the hypnotherapy experience, I felt very relaxed for the rest of the night. The next day I felt that my mind was clear and I felt a sense of direction. It helped me to see where I could go with my Cellular Response practice. I was amazed at how well hypnotherapy worked for me even in a very short session.

First, I filled out a simple questionnaire with yes or no answers. From this questionnaire, he guided me with questions then led me down the path to clearly see how I am helping people to heal and how they in turn can contribute to helping others. This was simple and beautiful.

What I recall about hypnosis is whatever I saw as a young child. It started with, “You’re getting sleepy….” Does this ring a bell? Or maybe hypnotists still do that for shows. Personally, I’ve not seen anything like that recently. In my session, I was seated in a chair with my arms outstretched on the table in front of me and he asked me to tap my right index finger on the table and to put it on autopilot. Then he guided my left arm until it met my forehead. Most of the time was spent in guiding my thoughts and before opening my eyes, my tapping was stopped and I was back to my original position.

Hypnotherapy is probably not for everyone and in many cases (such as to stop smoking), one session would probably not be adequate. John is currently practicing law and is preparing to possibly start a second career helping people via hypnotherapy. I left the session with a list of 145 ways that hypnotherapy may be able to help you. He’s even helping a couple of people to improve their golf game. Have you used a hypnotherapist? How did it work for you?

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