I have recently started doing yoga regularly again after getting away from the practice for quite awhile.
I don’t really know why I ever stopped doing this thing that made me feel so good. When I started practicing in my early twenties I felt like I had discovered some kind of secret, a physical, mental, and spiritual gift.
Why would I stop doing that? I don’t know. I just forget that I hold the key to my own health and happiness sometimes, I guess. I figure I’m not alone in that.
I started back up with yoga because I have a sharp pain in one knee that I am sure is caused by a tight hip on the same leg. My hip/butt has never been the same since I jumped up off the couch one day about 6 months ago to prove to Jeb that I could still do a certain cheerleading stunt that involves standing on one leg and holding the other straight out in the air with my arm. A picture will probably explain it better.
The sound of ripping construction paper that came from the underside of my right butt cheek followed by burning pain that dropped me to the floor was my body’s rebuttal to the foolish assertion that I could still pull off this maneuver on a whim without any stretching or warming up. Genius!
It took a long time to feel better and I still feel the tightness in that glute/hip every time I bend over to touch my toes. I know that tight hips/glutes can lead to knee pain and I am far too young to be feeling brittle and rickety, so I decided it was time to get my stretch on.
The first few sessions were slightly demoralizing as I realized how tight all of my muscles were and how immobile my shoulder and hip joints had become over the years. Use it or lose it is definitely true in the case of flexibility.
Now I’m starting to make gains with each session. My heels get closer to touching the floor with every down dog. The tops of my toes touch the floor in the plow shoulder stand (which is a great pose for relieving neck pain but does offer an unfortunate extreme close-up view of your stomach’s fat rolls). My hip and knee are slowly getting less painful, too.
Yoga makes me feel better inside and out. It’s not only a physical practice, but a mental one, too. I have one of those chattery brains that never shuts up and the practice of yoga–with it’s slow movements, deep breathing, and awareness of mind and body–helps to calm it down.
The final relaxation at the end of practice is the icing on the cake. It feels so good to lie there listening to soft music and relaxing each part of the body in turn. It works! You actually can feel your toes and your forehead and your jaw relax.
I have tried many different classes and DVD’s over the years but my favorite, and what I still do today, is the same DVD that I started with many years ago. It is called Total Yoga*, you can click on the link to check it out. It covers the whole body, the narrator explains what each pose is good for (such as opening the hips or relieving lower back pain), I don’t get annoyed with the instructor like I do with other DVDs, and it is good for a beginner or someone more advanced.
*This isn’t a commercial by the way, I just like the DVD. But…if you do happen to buy the DVD by clicking on the link I would get a small kickback from Amazon because I am an affiliate, which is nice.
And now I will end this post the way all yoga practice ends–by saying namaste, “The light in me salutes the light in you.” (There are different translations but that is the one I like best).
Thanks for reading! Do you do yoga? Where is your favorite place to practice?
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