medium posts, Your body in Motion
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RA and Yoga

My first yoga experience was about 15 years ago. I belonged to Riverpoint, a sports and wellness club in Albuquerque. All classes were included in membership price. The evening I was at the club, a yoga class was just starting. I thought I would give it a try. I knew nothing about yoga. No mat and no clue.

I walked into an advanced class. I was so very fortunate to have an excellent, progressive teacher. She welcomed me. I was also welcomed by her class.  I took classes with her for about four years before she headed off to Costa Rica. She believed people should start where they are at. She said yoga is not competitive with yourself or with any one else. I learned good form. I bought a yoga mat and thanks to her I still have a yoga practice.

The first two years after my RA diagnosis I tried classes and just couldn’t do it. My feet and my wrists hurt too much. So I stopped. Looking back I could have done restorative yoga but was too warn down from the unremitting RA and two cancer treatments.

Now I have an issue with my back and hips. My doc had given me a sheet of exercises for my shoulder problems. Doing them daily, I pulled out my yoga mat and started doing my 15 minute yoga routine. It was during a forward bend, on the way down, that I noticed a book on my nearest book case. Back Care Basics is written by Mary Pullig Schatz, MD. It is billed as ‘a gentle and effective approach to back rehabilitation without drugs or surgery.’  It is a wonderful approach. My yoga education was with the Iyengar style of yoga as is used in the book. I have found poses specific to my needs to add to my routine now about 30 minutes moving toward an hour.

Yoga has always strengthened my arms and given me good flexibility. A tinge of back pain has given me the necessary shove back into a practice that is excellent for everyone suffering with joint diseases.

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