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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Trying yoga

Well, I completed workout no. 64 on my wii Fitness Coach. Some of the workouts weren't wii workouts but DVDs instead. My Fitness Coach allows me to substitute other types of exercise and get credit for them. And what good is the credit? Well, it earns me additional wii workout spaces and wii workout music when I do use My Fitness Coach. Who wouldn't want those!??

I think it's good that I am still using this program. Because it keeps track of the frequency of my workouts I am more inclined to get it done. It makes me accountable in its funny little way. So I do it. At least fifteen minutes at least five days a week. It isn't much but it's how we get used to it. Further, I have found that if I do one of these little workouts before I go out I am indeed moving better. Not always a lot better but a little is a lot.

In fact, I keep thinking of the recommendation by that British arthritis organization: a little and a lot. Do a little but do it a lot. More and more I just get off the couch, wander around a bit, sit down again. I try to do a little a lot.

Now that I have been doing these little workouts for a while I am branching out. I am interested in yoga. We hear that yoga is good for arthritis. And my arthritis RX exercises are based in part on yoga. So when I got an email from Amazon several days ago advertising a Yoga for Dummies DVD for $5.99 I went to Amazon to read reviews and hunt down more yoga DVDs that might be suitable for me. The descriptions of the DVDs sounded good, all of them offering opportunities to skip poses, choose workout levels, and use alternative moves. Even though the descriptions and reviews did not specifically mention arthritis I thought they'd be worth a try.

Today I tried two of the DVDs: Yoga for Any Body and Yoga for Dummies.

I first put in Yoga for Any Body. The DVD is divided into several sections: an interview with the yoga teacher, a discourse on yoga definitions by that same teacher, and workouts divided into beginning, intermediate, and advanced. The beginning sets include several options. I chose the morning workout.

The yoga teacher starts right out sitting on the floor, cross-legged, and goes into the first position. She does not remind us to breathe nor does she spend much time describing the posture. I think one could follow the moves easily enough - if one were without physical limitation. She did not offer alternative positions or options. I hunted around on the DVD for some hint on how to use this DVD, because it felt to me like I was starting in the middle. I found nothing that met this need of mine. I decided to try another DVD.

After my aborted effort with Yoga for Everyone I put in the Yoga for Dummies. This DVD is organized in a way that made a lot more sense to me. The organization is simple: she offers twelve different "poses", which she calls the Daily Dozen. She tells us at the start that we can choose among the twelve, focus on just one if we want, or go through the entire dozen. I went through all twelve today.

But that doesn't mean I did all of the poses, frankly. I simply could not do all of them. However, she does offer alternatives for some of the poses. Some alternatives made the moves easier for folks like me, some were intended for those who wanted to move in a more advanced way. Throughout each description, which was detailed and included detailed information on breathing, the leader emphasized that the intent was the important thing. Not everyone can do every pose perfectly, and one should not push beyond comfort. I found her emphasis on doing what you can an important one. I like this DVD and expect to use it again.

However, there were times while doing these poses that I actually started to cry, just little tears, just a little whimper. Not because of pain but because I felt so limited in my function and wondered if I were so disabled that I would never be able to do this. I am always happy to start where I am and improve little by little but it seemed impossible in this case. I was already testing DVDs that proclaim they are for "every body" but they aren't.

It's the same thing I ran into with the wii workout: no recognition of physical limitations beyond being out of shape. I remembered, too, a comment on Amazon that responded to complaints that My Fitness Coach does not make any allowances for disabilities. The commenter said the workout does not advertise itself as a workout for those with disabilities. So there. Get over it.

I am not ready to get over it. I can't imagine nobody has considered this situation. There are so many of us with arthritis and with such a need for yoga for us. So I decided to do a simple search: "yoga for arthritis".

And it worked! I found several websites discussing yoga and arthritis and some that actually offered DVD workouts for us. I was so excited I ordered a double-DVD set from Ageless Yoga: one DVD is for floor and standing routines, the other for chair and standing. I look forward to reporting on these DVDs here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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