Category Archives: yoga

Yoga? Really?

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve heard them.  And you have probably gotten extremely irritated by them. Those ever so well meaning people who tell you that, if you would just exercise more (maybe take up yoga) you would be all better and you wouldn’t have to rely on those silly meds any more.

You know the first thing that goes through your mind.

If I could do yoga, don’t you think I would love to do yoga, but I know how badly my body hurts just getting through my day and trying to stick my left big toe in my right ear while standing on my head is just not happening.

Why exactly do you think that people who weigh over 120 pounds, or who hurt or aren’t limber or who aren’t “perfect” don’t take up yoga?  Any guesses?  Anyone?

Look at the people coming in and out of a Yoga studio.  Look at the pages of Yoga magazines.  You will get a pretty quick idea of why.

I get the Nook version of Yoga Journal and I read it (albeit with a bent to what I can learn not usually because I want to be able to stick my right toe in my left ear while standing on my head.  There are some amazingly well written and insightful articles.

But lately (as I hear more and more people talk about how maybe I could be fixed if I would just <insert quick fix here>) I have been looking as much at the pictures in the magazine to see if I can’t figure out why people I talk to don’t think they can take up Yoga.

OH BOY.  Yeah, I know why no one feels they can.

On this month’s cover…

Blonde with not a hair out of place despite doing poses on a cliff side overlooking the ocean.  Bare midriff.  Tight spandex pants.  She might weigh 125 pounds.  The only thing missing is a bellybutton ring.

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Random pages…

Vintage VW Bug with another 115 pound girl on the roof… in the middle of a field of flowers…

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Two women sitting on a wooden deck, laughing together… neither has an ounce of extra flesh…
There are the women at the south pole (I guess they are at the south pole. they are standing on mats outside in the snow next to a pole and it says the south pole) and the quote in THAT bit says “it lets us take our big boots off, feel our feet, and just stretch”.  The picture is outside in the snow… Funny… Not one of them has their boots off, but they don’t look like they are freezing, either… despite not one of them weighing over 120 pounds and despite the fact that one is doing tree, one is standing on her head, and one is squatting with her butt inches from the snow.  The poses are perfect.
There is the well muscled woman on the side of a granite rock.
OH HEY, a guy.  Also buff and fit.
None are sweaty.  Not one are doing any kind of adaptation of the perfect poses. NONE look like they hurt or are in any way sweaty or un-perfect.

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WOW… I found her!!! The ONLY woman in the last couple issues of the magazine (I haven’t gone any further back but I have a hunch…)  on page NINETY TWO of the magazine, back buried in the “continued on” section near the rest of the adverts… The token woman who weighs at least 150 pounds.  She is doing a way better job at the pose than I could, but at least it isn’t perfect.  She isn’t the stereotypical yogi.  SHE IS ON PAGE NINETY TWO.  And she is in advertisement for a yoga retreat (not ACTUALLY in an article)… but she is there.  Hidden in the back… where you would not likely look if you were flipping through the magazine.

I love the magazine.  I read the articles.  I hate the fact that no one in any of the articles looks ANYTHING like me.

You can do yoga.  Honest.  I started yoga right after my diagnosis to try to stay ahead of the pain and the stiffness.  You can adapt poses and use props to do them.  Some of my favorite parts of yoga are the Pranayamas (like here http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/pranayama/)… breathing… thinking about where stuff hurts, and taking as deep a breath as I can and sending my thoughts and the breath to where the pain and stiffness is.  Some days, this is the only yoga I can do (the poses are just so far beyond where I am that I just can’t).

You CAN do yoga.

You don’t have to be perfect at it.  You don’t have to look like the stereotypical yogis.  You don’t have to wear the “right ” clothes or even do half the poses.  The point is more taking time to meet yourself where you are and change the way you are thinking during that short amount of time.

It isn’t going to “fix” you, but it can help make you more comfortable in your own mind.  It can help with the way you feel about you, if not the way you feel.

Yoga doesn’t have to have anything to do with being perfect, only meeting yourself where you are and meeting your own needs.

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Ah Elusive Sleep…

Up and not able to fall back asleep at mumblemumble o’clock in the morning… My mind races… my wrist is tender… my toes and fingers ache.  I’m thinking taking one of the post-op percocet would be wonderful, just to help … Continue reading

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You Should Do Yoga

I have been thinking about a post I read on a Facebook group this week.  Someone with RA was told that they should do Yoga. I’ve been thinking this week.  I have taken the corporate offered Yoga class for the … Continue reading

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Yoga for Real Women

Sigh… reality smacks you in the face.  One of the books that I got at the library yesterday was The Woman’s Book of Yoga & Health.  Yeah… while I was running my clone this morning, I thought I would crack … Continue reading

The Lending Library…

Quiet day today.  We were going to go for a walk but we never actually got that far =(

I have been contemplating how to get more centered this year (again).  Yoga starts in just over a week and a half which will go a long way to helping… and I have a 21 day yoga thing starting in a few days from yoga journal.  Tai Chi has been calling my heart, though.  As I sit here drinking my oolong tea, it is like a siren’s song… so I decided to dig through the library website to see what books on Tai Chi I could find.  I bought one for my nook that isn’t very long but seems to be a good place for me to be starting… there were others I really wanted to read, but at 15 dollars or 20 dollars each, I can usually justify one a pay or one every couple pays…

I found out that my library card expired (more frownie faces) sometime in December.  So I could find the books I wanted to read (top of my list Chi Walking… followed quickly by Tai Chi for Seniors) but not put them on a hold list.

BUT… woohoo… what else I figured out was that our local library has subscribed to an ebook database.  I can check out audio books from my desk at home… I can check out books to read on my nook… and there is access to 15000 public domain epub books that I can peruse at my leisure.

Have I mentioned that I totally love my technology?  Nothing will ever totally take the place of the weight and smell and feel of a book in my hands, but when I’m achey and feeling like even my nook weighs a ton… so… technology is often a better option.

I put myself on multiple wait lists for e-books and a couple of Eve Dallas (JD Robb) audio books… and downloaded a couple of less popular novels.  and… we are off and running… I love the library.

TAI CHI FOR ARTHRITIS

This magically (okay… I told google to send it to me so MAGICALLY might be a stretch…) showed up as a link in my email today.  I am still determined to find a Tai Chi class somewhere that I like so I can learn this along with Yoga.  My Rheumatologist says that some of the best things I can do for myself (other than giving myself a break and not beating myself up quite as much… go figure…) is to do both Yoga (Hi Bea… I’m looking SO much forward to January 13th… signed up already) and Tai Chi.  I am still looking for a nice gentle class that I like… I will find one.

By: Dave Gordon

The ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi may provide physical and emotional relief for people suffering from arthritis. Taking classes twice a week for two months helped people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia feel better and move more easily. It reduced pain, stiffness and fatigue, and improved balance. Tai Chi involves slow, gentle movements along with deep breathing and relaxation to build strength and flexibility. Participants who took the classes felt better, improved their sense of wellbeing and slept better. The study was funded in part by the Arthritis Foundation and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in Atlanta.

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Deep Belly Breathing

I’ve been practicing (a lot lately) the ‘art’ of deep belly breathing (or diaphragmatic breathing… ).  This is when you breathe in through the nose in a long slow inhale, hold the breath for about a count of 7 (or … Continue reading

Honor Yourself

It’s Thursday Evening… Tomorrow is 10 more MTX pills and Saturday morning is Vern’s No Frills 5k.  Tonight is… time to think.

I showed up early at Yoga this morning… not WAY early, but early enough to have a chat with my favorite Yoga instructor… She noticed that I have been making adaptations to the poses frequently… keeping weight and pressure off of my wrists and hands.  Not always, but often enough that she notices.

She told me to honor my body and honor my practice.  It is less about doing it “right” than connecting with myself and doing it.  Approaching my mat with intention and doing what I do with  a Yoga purpose. She also taught me some poses that are hand specific… some she gave a name to (like spider) some she just showed me.  It is great.

Today during class we spent most of the time connecting with our breath… connecting poses with breaths… even adding some new poses, like dolphin and tree and eagle.  We also paid respect to the New Moon… by doing crescent moon pose.  It was a good day on the mat, and I actually thought.

Which was good, because when I got up this morning, my hands (both hands) hurt an 11.  It was awful.  I stooped to taking my industrial strength Anti-inflamatory.  I feel guilty taking it… isn’t that stupid…

Tomorrow (pager comp time day… woohoo… woohoo) I meet with the visitor’s bureau lady to discuss the 5k and to commit to really really doing this.  Today I emailed some people  at the school about getting some volunteers (/dev/null… great… great bit bucket in the sky… ).  I will perservere.

Breathing is Important… Who Knew! (Another day in the yoga adventure)

Okay, I will admit, I’m probably taking this yoga thing to extremes… well… maybe not extremes, but way further than anyone thought I would… eventually I’m going to (if it KILLS me) be as good as the guy with the amazingly long hair or the guy who drinks his tea out of a stainless steel cup (you KNOW who you are!!!).  I want to be able to be as flexible as they are.  It may take years and I may never actually get there… but that is my dream.

I’ve been looking at the “art” of breathing and it is really cool (and it works… )… AND it is best practiced laying down with your head (and knees if it is more comfortable)  on a pillow.  What could be better… Yoga where you don’t actually have to move!

It is relearning how to breathe deeply, the way you breathe when you are little.

Breathe not only into your chest… all the way into your stomach… deeeeeeeeeply…. the goal (stupid as it sounds in today’s society) is to make your stomach look like you are pregnant…. chest stick out… stomach stick out… slowly in…. slowly out… relax your whole body and just think about breathing…

put one hand on your stomach… one hand on your chest…

make the stomach one rise first…. then your chest….

it really feels good when you breathe like this… relaxed…

who knew breathing could feel good!!!

New Book for an Early Birthday Present

I don’t usually take the money to buy new books from the regular book store.  I have gotten three, I think, in the last year… One on RA, one on Epilepsy and the one that Larry bought me last night.

Yoga for Arthritis The Complete Guide…

Yeah… let’s face it, I’m hooked… I had to smile during the last class at her saying that “this pose” (can’t remember for the life of me now… but I have the audio of it so I should be able to figure it out… ) will get the synovial fluid moving.  I actually laughed at the comment… that is WHY I’m there… to try to get the synovial fluid moving… I got an early birthday present last night when he got me this book… I really like that

1. it tells me how to modify to meet the arthritis needs and what props I can use until (if ever) I can do them without the props… and most of the props are… a towel… the wall… a chair… nothing wild…

2. it tells me under what conditions NOT to do the poses

3. it tells me the purpose of the pose

4. it tells me how to avoid pitfalls (things like… remembering to breathe, open up your shoulders, start slowly… all kinds of things I would probably ignore if I weren’t deliberately reading them…

I absolutely love the chapter on the wrists and hands…

Ever since I fell roller blading (WEAR WRIST GUARDS for anyone who doesn’t know) and broke my arm (radius compound, ulna greenstick… pretty sure that is what started this mess… ten years ago) and my right wrist not working at all right… my wrists and hands have given me issues.  Sometimes better, sometimes worse… Rheumy told me that is why RA settled there so well… it likes boo-boo places like that…

ANYWAY… I love the book… I think I’m going to modify some of the poses and work up my own ideas on them… see where I can make them hurt less when I do them.

Sitting here now, enjoying the reading, the practice and the wonderful smelling breeze coming in through the windows…