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Your Voice: March

Readers share thoughts, poems, achievements
Val Whitehead, 74, has put her yoga practice online for others to join in; 1000-days and counting! Photo supplied.

Senior stretches out her online yoga practice--1,000 days and counting!

By mid-February, 74-year-old Val Whitehead counted 1,000 consecutive days guiding an online, morning yoga group: yes, including Christmas, birthdays--all of it. An idea that started during the pandemic, when people were isolated, Whitehead says the daily Zoom classes have become a movement. Though she now charges a membership fee, the classes started as a free offering; a way to connect during uncertain times.

"I would do my practice online and ask others to join in whatever way they were able: the focus was just on showing up every day," she said of the breath-based work that uses mantra, philosophy, contemplation and asana yoga (among other disciplines). "For about one hour each day, we build physical and mental strength, flexibility and resilience--but it's not an exercise program.  At the end of each session, we have a quote of the day; we share and talk about that. It's being part of a community that's important, that and being accountable; making a commitment to attend."

Whitehead says when she retired over a decade ago from a career owning an insurance agency, she knocked down walls in her basement to create a yoga studio--and she hasn't looked back.

"We do the practice first thing in the morning to start our day right," added the St. Albert senior. "We even have get-togethers now that people can gather again. People are missing that connection."

Whitehead says she has spaces for students with little or lots of yoga experience. Email [email protected] for more information.


Like a Senior Debutante 

When your eyes grow weaker and your hair gets thin

You can’t hear the speaker and you wonder where you’ve been

Don’t try to over think it, I’ll tell you where you’re at

Your years are getting bigger and you can’t stop that


There is little need to worry, especially in your slumber

Work on how you’re feeling, as your age is just a number

You need to keep on moving, no matter what your age

Ignoring all those little things that can put you in a rage


Don’t be looking in the mirror, that’s not the place to go

Things you may see in there, you don’t really want to know

If your attitude is positive, you should easily find your way

Then if you’re lucky and determined, you may live another day


So you should have that extra coffee and another muffin too

Whatever makes you happy, is what you should really do

What’s the use in getting older, if you can’t do what you want

Just keep smiling and be confident, like a senior debutante

Don Hamaliuk, St. Albert, AB


He Didn't Speak the Language

My grandfather came to Canada in nineteen hundred and five

Fleeing his mother country, a desperate attempt to stay alive

He was just a bohunk and could not read or write

But was eager and determined to make his new home right


They sent him to a forest in the middle of the west

Where the barren cold of winter put him to the test

He dug into a hillside and for years that was his home

His legs for transportation; not far for him to roam


He dug into the sandy earth and planted a few seeds

Then nurtured them till harvest which met his hunger needs

The weather didn’t deter him, his focus was unwavering

 So driven to be successful and not afraid of labouring


He worked more land and grew more food and used it for his barter

And through all his interactions, his business sense got smarter

He didn’t speak the language and didn’t like to talk

But his focused determination, is our family’s building block


Don Hamaliuk, St. Albert AB


Re: Alberta Affordability Program

The message from government says "These payments will be treated as exempt income. You do not need to report these payments on your 2023 income tax." According to Webster's dictionary, there are only two types of income in Canada: 1) income from being gainfully employed or 2) from capital investment. Nothing else can be classified as financial income.

There are hundreds of thousands of seniors in Canada who live in independent housing apartments and pay 30 per cent of their gross income for rent. None of the government financial payments can be classified as income, so I would like all the money collected wrongfully from seniors repaid with interest.

G.V Runcer, Edmonton, AB