About 7 weeks ago I began the (Hatha) Yoga. I knew I needed to get my body back into shape, become more flexible, gain my balance, and maybe become stronger. Those were my goals. I've exceeded them in only these few weeks--a little over 2 months. Today I was able to reach a goal of a shoulder stand and holding it for 3 full minutes. I was also able to stand on one leg while the other foot was planted on the inside of my thigh. It's called Tree Pose and this is it below. To put simply, my goals of this summer have not only been matched, I've exceeded them. I've also found my inner peace.
While I have been off for two weeks, I took walks out in our park that my husband manages. It's about a half a mile to the observation deck, which possibly stands 20--not sure, I haven't asked anyone how high it is, but it's a great view! And I took a large towel for spreading out on the deck, and my yoga book and did workouts that lasted 30-40 minutes. Sitting in a lotus feeling the breeze on you, blowing your hair, watching the birds, or hearing their music--now that was an experience! I've always loved the outdoors. I've always liked little adventures that got me away from people/noises. I managed, during the dry days, to be able to go up and enjoy my work out in the quiet outdoors.
When I began reading the book, I took some of the claims of Yoga being able to cure conditions as varied as constipation, gas pains, sunken chest, round shoulders, nasal drip, fallen arches, sciatica, bursitis, menstrual disorders, aching back, and aching psyche with a grain of salt. But, I'm a believer in natural healing. As these weeks have passed, my husband claimed he didn't see me humped over first thing in the morning when I tumble out of bed. Posture--which has always been a problem, since I do have scoliosis. Pain there has been adjusted. I'll have to see how I hold up going back to driving a bus, but I think I've built up muscles in my back by doing the leg lifts. I intend to continue these exercise in definitely. This has been the only regiment of exercises I've been able to continuously do, every day (even if it's for 10-15 min in the morning).
Those who do other forms of exercise like jog, or weights, the adage "No pain, no gain" is what you live by. In Yoga you never do that. You're never putting your physical body through torture--which is why I like it!
There was another gain from Yoga. Inner Peace. Tranquilness. The stretching exercises are the calming part of the whole thing. Some are as easy as rolling your head, slowly one way and then the other. Some are pressing the shoulder blades in while holding your arms straight out. Anyone can do these. The neck rolls you hear the grinding, of course. In these past weeks the grinding is not as much as in the beginning. My hand exercises have helped the pain in the joints. That's definitely surprising! One of them is designed to keep the knuckles from becoming huge, and deformed as with aging. Both my sisters who are 10 and 12 years older than me have the crooked fingers of rheumatoid arthritis. I didn't want that happening to me, so I've begun doing these simple hand/finger exercises for them.
This month I turn 61. I'm healthy, and want to keep it that way. I don't like doctor visits. My BP is good. All vitals are good. Mentally, I've had to work at putting depression at bay. I will say this, Yoga has helped in that. I've also re-discovered me. Not exactly who I was, way back when. But who I am NOW.
In the couple of months I've gotten on this regiment, I've found I could do this. I've found results faster than I could with anything else. Since I have bad knees, jogging is out. I really don't recommend it to anyone. Walking is better. Do a good hike up and down hills, you'll get your heart pumping in no time.
Yoga has helped me. I think I'd like to look into Tai Chee, eventually. Another calming exercise that has same effects/benefits for people in their 50's and beyond.