Try yoga for health
Evans Phelps, 52, the owner of Outside Inn in Nevada City, is a wicked kayaker, to hear her tell her story. She actually ran a 35-foot waterfall on the middle fork of the Feather River (Oroville), and lived to tell about it.
She also competed in the recent local sprint triathlon, a breast cancer fundraiser, coming in second “overall (out of 350 who competed), and just not in my age group,” she clarifies.
Admittedly frenetic, Phelps likes to apply her boundless energy to really pushing the envelope. A self-proclaimed “gravity freak,” she loves to wildly mountain bike and ski obsessively.
In between she swims either at her lap pool at home or, during the winter, at a sports club.
Phelps got into pushing herself when she swam competitively as a kid, but extreme sporting took hold when she used it to grieve the murder of her second husband in 1995.
“My life was so traumatic I kayaked for 80 days out of that year.” She found that being totally absorbed in shooting a challenging rapid focused her mind in the moment and kept her from playing the old tapes over and over again in her mind. But while her mind healed, her mature body started feeling the effects of such punishment.
It was then, seven years ago, that she discovered something new to do: Yoga.
At first she thought it would just help her body stretch, stay limber, and maybe ease those pesky aches and pains. But she soon realized its other component: Calming of the mind.
That has helped her run her life better, do her sports better, and even be a better planning commissioner for Nevada City, “a sometimes difficult job,” she says.
It also helps focus the mind during times of irrational gripping terror, such as when challenging miles of Class V rapids. “It’s an unbelievable high when you overcome that fear.”
Although yoga is taught at the various sports clubs and at Sierra College, Phelps has been training and practicing at Wild Mountain Yoga in Nevada City all these years. “There’s a wonderful community of women there, and we all love (owner) Katie Carter. I go twice a week.”
The several minutes of meditation before and after the postures is enough for her. “I’m speedy by nature and have more energy than 99 percent of the population, so I can’t sit still for more than that.”
At the inn, which she runs with the help of her daughter, she dispenses trail maps and advice to visitors. “My professional mission is to help people get into the outdoors. You’re never too old to start.
“We’ll all probably live longer than we want to, so it’s our choice to learn about the body, accept it, and keep it up.”
Outside Inn, Nevada City
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