Stand Up Straight!

My posture isn’t what it used to be. Okay, it was never great but I saw my reflection in a storefront window the other day and I look hunched over, not the Hunchback of Notre Dame hunched over, but it didn’t look good. I’m guessing it’s from using the walker for the last five years. I only use it when I’m alone outside but maybe that was enough for my back to get lazy. I’m six feet tall and even with the walker extensions it’s a bit short for me. My back has been feeling sore as well, so I bet my bad posture is to blame.

Instead of running to the doctor to see what he thinks, I went on You Tube and looked for back exercises, specifically yoga stretches. I found two that I will share with you. They are both gentle and that’s a win for me.  I’m not into any intense exercise and that includes yoga.

Along with the yoga, I’m more conscious of my posture when walking or standing. If my shoulders feel too far back, then I’m standing correctly. I know because I watched myself in the mirror. It feels weird probably because my back got used to hunching over. Eventually it will feel better.

This one is meant for people with scoliosis but it’s really good for anyone who wants to gently stretch their spine.

This video is similar but a shorter session:

Be well and sit up straight!


Third Age Yoga For Seniors

Yoga helps make my life better. Before yoga, my lower body was stiff from the radiation treatments and I couldn’t bend over at all. My muscles were so tight, they felt as though they would tear. It took a year of daily practice to get me limber. I still have balance problems, along with neuropathy but I feel better and that’s all that matters to me. My muscles will stiffen up again if I don’t practice daily, so yoga is at the top of my “to-do” list, no matter what else is going on. It’s an important part of my self-care routine, something I didn’t do enough of before I got sick.

There are many yoga videos on You Tube and that’s where I find teachers who I can keep up with. Going to a physical class is too hard for me because of my mobility. I’m sure the instructors wouldn’t be happy if I scratched their beautiful floors with my walker either, so practicing at home is a good option for me.

I’ve already shared a few yoga videos with you, but in my opinion, it’s always good to have many choices, and I don’t know about you, but I like to mix things up. Doing the same poses everyday gets a bit boring, so here’s a new video especially for seniors and those of us who want a more nurturing, relaxed yoga.

Be well and practice daily self-care,

Downward Dog

cat downward dog

I’ve been practicing “modified” yoga four years now. One day in the middle of my radiation treatments, I bent down to pick something off the floor and my lower back muscles felt like they were going to tear off the bone. I stopped midway and couldn’t touch the floor, even with my knees bent! Most of my adult life, I went to the gym on a regular basis and was in pretty good shape, that is–until cancer. I would spent weeks lying in bed, getting up only to use the toilet and shower. My body was too sick and weak to do much else, but when I discovered I couldn’t even bend over, that was when I changed my behavior. No matter how sick and tired I felt, I would not allow my body to shrivel up.

I found YouTube yoga classes and followed along as best I could. There were several geared to seniors which were about all I could handle when I started. They were done sitting in a chair. Then I moved up to regular beginner videos. I still those. I doubt very much if I will ever do the fancier poses I see on the cover of Yoga Magazine and I’m ok with that. At least once a week I do restorative yoga. It helps me relax and is my favorite yoga practice. Halfway through the sequence, I feel my body tension let go.

Before cancer I dabbled in yoga and two of my favorites were child’s pose and sun salutation. It took me a year to get back into a full child’s pose. My lower back was that tight! The radiation shrank the tumors along with the surrounding tissue, including muscle. My doctors told me only the tumors would be affected but they were wrong. The skin on my lower body, front and back turned grey and took nearly a year to clear up. I’m glad I couldn’t see what the inside of my body looked like!

My body still has issues, mainly balance (due to the chemotherapy attacking my nervous system), so the standing poses are modified. I usually use a chair for balance. I enjoy downward dog pose but couldn’t go all the way to the floor, until I watched a yoga instructor show her students another way to do it. She started on her and hands and knees and pushed herself up. I got excited and thought I can do that! And I did! I can’t stay in that position as long as I do using a chair because my arms are weaker than I thought, but I will keep trying. It took a year to perfect child’s pose and I won’t give up on downward dog. Hopefully, I will rebuild muscle in my arms too.

If you want to do something, no matter what it is, keep trying. Spend time doing it everyday and don’t worry about your progress. The point is to keep doing it. If you’re wanting to try yoga, focus on yourself and not what the other person is doing. Someone told me a long time ago, that yoga is not about doing the perfect pose, it’s a life style.

Practicing yoga to the best of my ability is something I will do the rest of my life. I learned if I miss a few days, my muscles tighten up again and I don’t want that. Each day I set aside at least ten minutes for yoga, along with 20 to meditate. It’s my time and I’ve learned if I don’t make time for myself, I will pay for it down the road. My health is my responsibility and priority.

Be well and make time for you!