Tag 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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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

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.

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.

Yoga… Day 1

Well, yesterday was my first day of yoga.  Sixty min a day once a week is going to be the perfect amount to get me started.  I tried “taping” the class… but my nano won’t pick up enough to make it very useful.  I will try with my little voice recorder next time.  It seems to do better.

The class made me sore, but sore in a good way.  The teacher gave us a pretty thorough amount of information on poses… and after class people were kind of pulling together into a team to talk about how NOT a total beginner’s class it was and how fast she went and how they thought everyone did.

There were some people in class who were WAY good.  I followed along with the lady next to me.  Apparently that made me seem to be a better than average person.  interesting.

A couple people commented on how far I could take the poses since this is my first class.  I figure my Rheumy will kind of comment somewhere along the way.  She already made the comment that I should, based on where I am in my disease, hurt way more than I do and be less limber than I am but the stretching that I do in the morning after I work out (which I SO have to get back to…) is having its effect.  I’m glad it is. Maybe if it wasn’t… I would have gotten help sooner… but it is what it is.

Now… I need to get a listing of all of the poses that we did and start looking them up and getting a better idea how to do them RIGHT and how to move from one to the other.