Lately it seems a gal can’t toss an empty poptart wrapper without it landing on the doorstep of a Yoga Studio. With endless choices like Hatha, Iyengar, Bikram, and Tantric, hot, cold, naked or power, it makes you wonder if there really IS a type of yoga for everyone.
The one thing I HAVE noticed about this whole Yo-splosion thing, is much of it seems to be aimed at the 20 something crowd. If it’s really that good for an aging body, why not forget the friggin’ Hipsters, and throw us over 40 crowd a bone?
Wouldn’t it be sweet if someone came up with the ultimate studio, where there are poses we can get in and out of without (much) help, in a space filled with other people who wear yoga pants because they’re comfy and they...expand? They could call it Lifelike Asanas: Yoga for Middle Agers.
Lifelike Asanas: Realistic Yoga for the Middle Aged Crowd
1) Tree Pose is for building balance and stability. For those of us who have neither of these, there’s Tree Falling In Wind Pose.
2) Warrior 1 Pose strengthens legs and opens the chest and shoulders. It’s also good for opening up the bladder, giving rise to the Bladder-Control Gone Pose. Because these days sneezing, coughing, laughing and running are all guaranteed ways to wind up with wet pants.
3) Cat and Cow Pose strengthens the back and pelvic area. The Holy Cow! Pose is much more useful, since it can indicate to others that your back is out…again!
4) Lord of the Fishes Pose stretches the hips and cleanses the internal organs. The Oh Lord, My Hip Pose is a much more appropriate name, since that is EXACTLY what the over 40 crowd will be screaming.
5) Downward Facing Dog Pose gently stretches and strengthens the whole body. The Downward Face-Plant gently informs the body that flat surfaces are deceptive bastards (I practice this one often.)
6) Squatting Pose strengthens legs and ankles and relieves constipation. Squatting Tiger, Constipated Dragon Pose is the pose most often executed in the bathroom, the morning before the ceremonial taking of the stool softener.
7) Half Lotus Pose is wonderful for opening the hips. Can’t Open Pose is not so wonderful, indicating the pharmacy forgot and put the childproof lids on your medication again.
8) Half Revolved Belly Pose is good for strength and flexibility of the spine. Half Colonoscopy Prep Pose is good for tying your stomach in knots in preparation for Full Colonoscopy Pose.. (It’s only “Half” because you’re still awake and dressed.)
9) Reclined Hero Pose stretches the thighs and groin. Help I’m Reclined And Can’t Get Up Pose comes directly after falls on slippery surfaces. Or non-slippery, depending on your level of klutz.
10) Corpse Pose is used at the end of class to allow the body to relax and process everything that’s gone before. Are You Still Alive? Pose is most frequently practiced in an attempt to get some peace and quiet, since faking your own death may be the only peace and quiet you can get. (The pose is so named due to this usually being the first response you’ll get when a family member finds you in this pose.)
* As it is with EVERYTHING in life, if you have health problems or physical limitations, PLEASE talk to your Doc before you dive in and start any new exercise regimen!
That being said, Yoga really is a great way to keep your muscles a little less stiff and improve your mental state (especially for those of us living with a chronic illness). There are easy poses that can even be done from a seated position in a chair.
Here are some cool resources I found, both articles on the benefits of Yoga for folks with chronic illness and a few of the books I’ve tripped across in the past on Amazon.
A great article from the New York Times from way back in 2005, so it would seem this is turning out to be a well-kept secret. “Chronically Ill Patients Turn to Yoga for Relief” Another article outlining the benefits of yoga for people with chronic illnesses. “Yoga improves mood, reduces inflammation, and relieves chronic diseases”
“Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing” by Timothy McCall
“The Book of Exercise and Yoga for Those with Parkinson’s Disease: Using Movement and Meditation to Manage Symptoms” by Lori A. Newell
“The Book of Exercise and Yoga for Those with Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Related Conditions: Using Movement and Meditation to Manage Pain and Improve Joint Range of Motion” by Lori Newell
“The Book of Exercise and yoga for Those with Multiple Sclerosis: Using Movement and Meditation to Improve Balance and Manage Symptoms of Pain and Fatigue” by Lori Newell
“Yoga for Fibromyalgia: Move, Breathe, and Relax to Improve Your Quality of Life” by Shoosh Lettick Crotzer
“Recovery Yoga: A Practical Guide for Chronically Ill, Injured, and Postoperative People” by Sam Dworkis
Mr. Dworkis also has a web page ExTension & Recovery Yoga