Category Archives: Health

Yoga

I have just recently started going to yoga classes again. I need to have some form of exercise in my life, besides walking, and at my weight and general physical condition, yoga’s a good choice — it builds strength and flexibility while not putting so much stress on the joints, and is easily adaptable for different ability levels.

I found a nice studio here in town with a monthly membership, and since hub signed up with me, his company will reimburse the monthly fee as a health club expense — they will reimburse for gyms and other sports/health clubs as well.

Now, I don’t know a lot about the different types of yoga, so I can’t say if the studio is more one type than another. I’ve attended a couple of vinyasa sessions and a couple gentle yoga. They also offer hot, power, stretch, and eclectic. At this point gentle, stretch, and to some extent vinyasa are about all I can handle.

It’s all a workout for me. I sweat profusely, stretch and strain, work through stiffness and muscle cramps, adapt as best I can with all the excess me. I do not always flow smoothly from one position to another, and because of my lordosis, I have less range of motion on one side or the other depending on the pose. They keep the room a little warmer than I’d like, increasing the sweating so my palms sweat and I can’t hold downward dog as my hands slip on my mat. Getting the inhales and exhales right with the movements is difficult — I seem to be out of sync an awful lot. But I like that I can adapt as necessary, only moving as far as I comfortably can, using modified positions and aids such as blocks and straps, and if I absolutely can’t do a certain pose right now, it’s okay. I’m not being judged by what others can do, only on what is my best. Really not being judged at all… Just accepting that what I can do may not be the same as others, and it’s all okay as long as I am doing my best and striving to improve.

It helps that I feel sooooo good when I walk out of the class — all stretched and warmed up and moving easier. I know it’s silly, but it is so nice to be able to lift my foot up to put pants on without laying the pants on the floor or using my hand to pull up my leg. And that going up and down stairs seems easier. I’m really not in it for the spirituality component, but I do like that it really makes me focus on being in my body, feeling what my body is doing as I breath, as I move, and as I rest.

I’ve been going twice a week and plan to up it to three times in May — all gentle yoga. After that, I’ll see what I can add/change. I know it will be slow going, but I’m going to enjoy it.

H is for…

Health.

I’ve had weight issues for almost my entire life, except for a few years over high school and the first few years at university.  I don’t really know why. My family was not big on sports, although we did swim when we could (my Dad won trophies when he was in college) or rode horses. I personally walked and rode my bike a lot. And starting in 7th grade through my junior year in high school I played basketball and soccer and was on the track team — none of which I did well, by the way. My sister never did any sports. One brother didn’t. The youngest brother played football. I don’t think my mom has ever done any sports… So, no real tradition of it in my family. And we’ve all struggled with weight, from my parents to all of us and now our children.

But that can’t explain it completely.

What about food? I don’t remember food being a reward, but GOOD food was part of family celebrations — glazed ham for Christmas, my grandmother’s potato salad and watermelon rind pickles, roast beef, steaks, Beef Wellington, fresh fruit in cream, a variety of cakes and cookies at my grandparents. Food at home was a different matter. Often money was tight. I remember spaghetti with canned tuna in the sauce. Boiled wheat berries with sliced hot dogs. Liver and onions ~yuck yuck yuck~ And I remember my mom always being on one diet or another, which surely bled over into how we were all taught to relate to food. To this day, I have issues with realizing I don’t have to eat it all, that leaving some is good, that I can always get/make/buy more of whatever it is tomorrow, or next week, or whenever.

And as the years have passed, and I’ve given birth and raised three children, and worked long sedentary hours, had stresses over money and children and my marriage –  my body, my health, have suffered. There is diabetes on my father’s side, cancer on both sides (breast, pancreatic, multiple myeloma, skin). These are serious concerns. As of my last physical, I’m not diabetic, no breast cancer, but my cholesterol and triglycerides are high, my blood pressure can be erratic. I also have lordosis, a curve of my lower spine to the left which affects my entire back but primarily my low back, right hip and right leg. My neck is all wonky — x-rays a few years ago showed that the vertebrae no longer form a nice curve but are stacked straight and bone spurs are growing.

Losing weight, gaining health will certainly help with all of these.

But will it make me happy, or happier I should say? Hopefully. I already have so many things that make me happy — a beautiful home, family, pets, nature, books, musics, etc. But I know good health would help. It would reduce or remove not only physical stressors, but also emotional and mental ones. I know my husband would like it if I lost weight — although he does tend to be a major saboteur when I try. I worry that my kids are embarrassed by my appearance. I hate shopping for clothes. Those are things that could get better if I were healthier.

Everyday I just have to keep trying.

P.S. Please don’t take this as an opportunity to advise me on what I should be doing. Believe me when I say “I know”. I have read massive amounts of literature on the subjects of weight loss and health. I know what I should and should not be doing, the issue is putting it in to consistent practice. Feel free to encourage me in my efforts, but don’t preach at me.

Thank you.

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