Since I was banned from my tennis league by my doc and physical therapist, I have been looking for ways to exercise. I admit I have gained weight over the last two (inactive) months and am not pleased with my Pillsbury dough boy middle. I am an athlete that likes to mix it up, so off I went to a yoga class that promised relaxation and “gentle” poses, along with meditation. I have done yoga before, so I wouldn’t look like a complete idiot.
It was great and it was hell. Things I could do before were suddenly out of reach, and one pose was simply not be tried secondary to pain. I admit, I did cry in my dark corner of the room, out of shear frustration, The kind instructor would point out which poses I should not attempt, which helped, but the competitive part of me simmered in silent anger that I was hampered. By the end of the last chanted meditation, I regained my center, and limped out (really!), putting on my dilapidated Birkenstocks in a nod to my inner yogi.
BUT! The next day, I felt the best I have in a long time, and actually did a 12 hour shift with less of my usual stiffness.
Here are a few well studied benefits of yoga. Links are in blue, so click ’em if you want the study. Here’s what yoga does:
- lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and has positive effects on cholesterol.
- benefits women with breast cancer. They have improved quality of life, and decreased psychological stress. This is true post surgery, during chemo therapy and during radiation therapy.
- improves low back pain. (But you have to keep doing it!) Note that this study says that Tai Chi has similar results…Maybe I will try that next.
- improves depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I wish we could offer yoga in my hospital. So many patients could benefit, and I am confident that none would be harmed!
‘Nuff said. I think yoga could help just about anyone. The key of course, is getting people to do something!