Monthly Archives: March 2010

Yoga for Stress relief (Mountain Pose)

Okay… I’ve decided to really start writing down some of the poses that I find helpful.

Yeah… it sounds like a big deal.  It is standing up… that’s about it…

Don’t do this pose if you have plantar fascitis.  Don’t do this pose if you have sever imbalance.  Modify the time you are in this pose if you are in pain, particularly in your ankles.  Modify this pose by standing with your back at the wall to help with the “I’m going to fall” feeling.

Respect the natural curve of the spine…

This pose helps keep you in focus… focusing your gaze at a spot on the wall in front of you helps… so does closing your eyes but closing your eyes makes balance harder… and places awareness on your feet being connected to the floor (very grounding).  Think about the way your breath feels entering and leaving your body.  DON’T think about work or stress or anything that will make you tense.

1. Stand straight with your feet together.  If you can’t do together and touching, spread them just a bit.  Hip width apart works great.  It gives you are more sturdy base.  Balance, the best you can, so your weight is distributed across the four corners of your feet (both feet… 8 corners)

Take a deep breath to center yourself and enliven your body.  Firm your abdominal muscles… pull your belly button in towards your spine.

2. Spread your toes out like a fan if you can.  If you can’t DON’T… there is no right way, no wrong way… just the way that you do it to be true to your practice and true to yourself.

3. Distribute your weight evenly across both feet… again… the four corners of each foot.

4. Lift the kneecaps by tightening the thighs.

5. Move your thighs back and tailbone in.

6. Straighten the arms, palms facing in.

7. Pull your shoulder blades back and lift the chest.

8. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed.

9. Look straight ahead.

Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.

Focus Points: Don’t just stand passively! Activate every part of your body, from your heels to your head.

To add to the pose, you can stretch your arms up over your head towards the sky…. reaching up but keep your gaze forward.

to add more to the pose, clasp your hands over your head if you can to stretch the shoulders more and deepen the pose.

DON’T add more if you can’t… this is to make you feel better, not worse!!!

Other Benefits: Strengthens and tones the whole body. Improves alignment. Creates balance.

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Early Morning Thinking

Happy Sunday Morning. Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines. Robert Schuller I have a warm fuzzy (okay… okay… I cut her hair so she is pretty much fuzzless) dog curled up at my knee and I’m thinking.  It … Continue reading

An ODE to naproxen sodium

Okay, well, it sounded like a cool title.

Today is International Purple Day… a day to raise awareness of Epilepsy world wide.  It was started in 2008 by a nine year old girl in Nova Scotia.  SHE is an inspiration…

Last night, I went to the Round Rock City Council Meeting to accept the Proclamation of Purple Day in Round Rock Texas.  It meant a lot to me and I really don’t know why… other than this town actually took the time to respond to my email campaign and to reach out to its citizens…. it mattered.

Before the meeting, the Mayor came and introduced himself to me.  I’m impressed by our mayor.  He has a good handshake… not the I’M A MAN WINCE BEFORE ME kind of handshake that I have come to fear (heck, I fear a lot of handshakes… but those are the worst on my knuckles)… not the oh… you are a girl… I will be weak and patronizing kind… those are easier on the knuckles but not on the self esteem…. he had a gentle warm and welcoming hand shake.

And  purple tie!  It made me smile.

This morning I got an email from the news paper wanting to do an interview (okay… it is a weekly paper with a limited distribution, but it IS a newspaper… and it will help get the word out).  I know there will be a photographer and the reporter. Okay, the reporter is female, which means the hand shake will be less intense.  Not sure about the photographer.

I pride myself on my handshake.  I refuse to wince.  I refuse to have a wimpy handshake.   I know that I base a lot on the way someone shakes hands and I figure other people do too.

SO today, I am bowing to the patron saint of naproxen sodium.  I don’t hurt badly enough to take the anti inflamitories (even though my knuckles probably could use the help… something is up with some extra stiffness and extra achey-ness… ).  I think the little blue pills (not the tiny blue pills… the ones in the stomach yukky isle… those are for other purposes…. grin) but the little bright blue pills that make the hand shakes magically not so bad.

This is important.

This matters.

As much as RA matters to me because it is personal and it is mine and I’m trying to live with it and embrace what I can do and what I can affect… Epilepsy matters more because she is my kid and it matters.

Happy Purple Day.

Go Grapes!

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Simply Yoga: What I am Not

Yesterday I went on adventure.  Okay… it was a LITTLE adventure, but it was fun and it was something I had wanted to do for quite a while. I went to the library. Not the one I usually go to… … Continue reading

RA can contribute to pregnancy problems… hmmmm

I have read, several times over the last few days, the article here on how women with RA seem to have a higher rate of pregnancy complications.  My rheumy told me that miscarriages can be connected to RA, and this article explains that low birth weight.

It makes me go… hmmm

It might help explain both kids being several weeks early and both kids being light for gestational age… not sure if it really could, since I had kids 18 years ago and 15 years ago… and RA was diagnosed 4 months ago (wow.. been an eventful 4 months)… but it makes me wonder.

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I don’t think it’s strong… I think it is too stubborn to give up.

It’s been another not so great day. The weekend, on the whole, wasn’t horrible.  The 10 MTX did hit me hard but it wasn’t totally unexpected and a little extra nappy poo helped.  Tea helped.  Hot bath helped.  It wasn’t … Continue reading

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Work From Home Fridays

I love work from home Fridays… especially this time of year.  It isn’t too hot to actually sit outside and it is warm enough for sun tea and birdies singing.  I am wearing one glove because for some stupid reason my … Continue reading

On Yoga

The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
Robert Cushing

Today was yoga day.  The last two yoga days were great.  The first one was too fast but not bad.  The second one was dead on.  This morning when I got up, my ankles and wrists and knuckles hurt more than “normal”.  I took the new medicine (anti-inflamitory) and it is NOT what I was hoping for.  It did take a bit of the edge off… but not a whole lot… By the time yoga was over, I wanted to rip the instructor’s skinny little head off.  It wasn’t her fault, it was mine.  I was trying to keep up and my body just wasn’t cooperating.  My bad.

It was really hard on my woohoo… because I’m really liking yoga.

And I’m nothing if not a typical Type A… as soon as I liked Yoga, I went out and got a used Let’s Yoga for the DS, I downloaded a Yoga app for Squirrel’s ipod touch so I can learn (when he isn’t using it) the poses and what the poses help with… and a book from the half price book store…

What I’ve learned is…

Yoga is for everyone… even if you aren’t flexible.  That means it is great for RA… you can modify poses and you can do only what you can do.

There is no success or failure, no good… no bad… just be true to yourself… true to your practice.  You can only make yoga your own if you are being true to yourself.

Three things to remember…
Move Slowly
Breathe Deeply
Work at your own pace

If you do these three things, any movement can be yoga.  It is 99% breathing.

Remember, yoga is like just about anything else you do, it is difficult before it is easy.

Sit down in a chair, put your hands on your knees, breathe deeply… fill your chest… fill your your chest clear down to the bottom of your stomach.

Today, yoga practice kicked my butt.  I totally modified my poses and went into child’s pose several times when I just COULDN’T keep up with the class.

There is a girl in my class who has arthritis in her toes… not RA, which she said she is forever grateful for… no $*^t… but she says what she finds absolutely most important is to do things for herself.  Do things that she can do and make time for herself to be gentle with herself, to be good to herself, to do what she needs to do.

Hello… wow… okay, I can listen now!…

If at first you don’t succeed… AKA a little good news

Okay… something is definitely wonky on wordpress for me (thank you, Scotty for giving me the heads up…)… so I will try again…and again (I only had to publish this one three times…

Okay… so it is a Mary Sunshine kind of day yesterday.  It may not last, but I’m enjoying it while it does.

Went to Rheumy today.  I spent the majority of the day taking stock of myself and of how I am feeling both physically and emotionally.  I have known that I’ve been feeling some better.  After the last doctor appointment I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to be too optimistic, but hey… I am terminally optimistic and a disgusting morning person so… it is hard to get away from.  I know the bump on my knuckle is smaller and I can almost make a fist even first thing in the morning without aleve.  And I know I haven’t taken prednisone in almost a month.  I walked 9 miles Sunday (I really enjoy our weekly walk in the park) and I even made 3 miles at lunch yesterday at the gym (the hot shower felt fantastic!).

Doctor confirmed that I’m not sniffing something good… not even sharpie… When I started this ‘adventure’ I was up to 26 joints affected.  Today (even in the rainy weather) I was only achey a 2 and she only found 7 joints still swollen.  My right hand, of course, will be my problem child.  IF YOU ROLLER BLADE WEAR WRIST GUARDS!!!

She said that my body is running right now on the 6 MTX level… while I’m taking 8 a week… so I should keep getting better and better (especially when I will be starting on 10 pills Friday).  And I don’t have to go back until May.

She did start me on an anti-inflamatory med for days (like while Squirrel was in the hospital and stress was a 14 on a scale of 1 to 10) and aleve doesn’t really take the edge off and suggested zantac 150 to keep from the anti-inflamatory eating holes in my stomach.  But I don’t think I will really need them much.  Will carry them just in case, but will think very hard before I take them.

I got an ‘atta-girl’ for taking Yoga class and she said that, even after the class, keep it up.

AND she told me that I need to push for blood work for Squirrel because Keppra tends to mess with blood counts.

I was thinking a lot about why I have all of this going on… and I was thinking a lot about how there is a purpose for everything and there is very little “chance” in life… and I realized that I can honestly say to Squirrel (not just a mommy saying it but really meaning it) that pills can be truly crappy but your body does adapt to the new meds and the side effects get smaller and smaller and you will eventually realize that the feeling better is just there and not always the crappy feeling.

Am I mary sunshine?  Probably.

On The Eve of Another Rheumy Appointment

Tomorrow afternoon is yet another Rheumy appointment.  Today was lab day (oh joy).  Now, I sit and take stock of how I’m feeling.  I have a nice hot cup of Chai White Tea (it was on sale this morning on the way to the lab and tea is becoming more and more of a staple) and I’m listening to the wind chimes singing through the open windows.

It is spring in central Texas.

I’m chilly (that, I think, is the biggest down side to feeling better from the MTX and my biggest complaint to the meds side effects… I’m TERMINALLY cold… I can fight the tummy yukkies… I feel like a dork at 77 degrees curled up with a blanket and wearing a hoodie).

Today, I’m counting my blessings.  My toes aren’t hurting (even after the 9 plus mile walk yesterday), not my ankles or my knees.  My knuckles are a little stiff (maybe a 2) but not hurting too much and my bumps are going down.  I have music to listen to (love streaming dtuneslive.com).  The sun is shining.  The windchimes are singing. Tea feels wonderful.  Squirrel hasn’t seized yet and her month is just about up (January 26, February 21… one more week until maybe I can take a deep breath).  Yoga is helping my mood and my breathing.

While we were on our walk yesterday, I was checking in with my body and realizing that I’m breathing better than I had been.  I’m not sure if I can put that down to any of the meds or not but I’m feeling better that way too.  It might be due to actually taking my singular every day too… something.