Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Yoga follow up

As I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to start doing yoga, partly to fill the space left by the absence of decent fishing and boating weather, but also to try to encourage my aging body to be stronger and more flexible. A couple of people were interested to hear more, so this is for you.

I ordered a yoga mat and some knee pads and found some videos on YouTube. The course I plan to follow is a thirty day course. I also have a backup just in case it proves too demanding to start out with. The backup is the same instructor, Adriene, but is yoga for seniors, possibly more suitable. I also found her yoga for beginners which I will save just in case.

While waiting for the yoga mat to arrive I decided to do a test, of myself more than the yoga course. I used a couple of small floor mats, not nearly as spongy as a yoga mat, but all I had. The first time I managed about fifteen minutes. That was when I ordered the knee pads. I have arthritis in my knees, most of my joints actually. These pads should make it easier. Despite my knees, and only doing fifteen minutes, I was surprised to notice that I felt very much better than usual, the joint pains were improved and I was moving with more energy.

The second day I didn't get much further than the 15 minutes, but I did establish that my hands and wrists might not allow me to fully cooperate with some of the movements. I have arthritis in both but the main issue is my left hand. I had surgery on that a number of years ago, LRTI or to be exact ligament reconstruction and tendon interposition. 

Silver ring splint
I developed Dupuytren's contracture after surgery. As a result I can't flatten the palm. This due to the thickening bands under the skin which restrict the movement of the fingers. In fact, the little finger is being curled into the palm and no longer straightens. The impact is that my hand has lost all muscle and the thumb joint is seized and no longer works. I normally wear a splint on my thumb, this helps to compensate for the useless, seized up joint and does also improve my grip, slightly. But, it would be even more painful to try to do yoga while wearing it.

from this website

All this to explain why any exercise that requires putting weight on my hands, such as downward dog, is not just difficult, but it is also painful. My hope is that if I persist, my hands just might get better, better than they are anyway. It certainly won't stop me because I do know that forcing my hand to stretch is good for it.

mat and knee pads

Finally, my yoga mat and knee pads arrived. The third day. This was my first day to attempt to do the complete session. I nearly did. I had to take a couple of short rests, partly to take the pressure of my hand but mainly because my upper body muscles were surprised to discover that they had not been retired. This session was a whole lot of downward dog and plank exercises, but I did complete it. The pads helped my knees, but it was still very hard on them. However, the reward was worth it. I definitely feel better, muscles and joints feel like they have been brought out of retirement and are at least halfway, willing to cooperate. The physical energy is also noticeable and welcome.

My intention is to repeat the Day 1 session until I can complete it without taking a break and then move onto Day 2. I still have the yoga for seniors on standby but I am not ready to give in yet.

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