Fitness Magazine

Starting to Move Again

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Nina
Starting to Move AgainRecently Shari and I wrote a post recommending a sequence to someone who had lost confidence in her body after a fall (see Regaining Stability—for Free!) Another reader left a comment on that post that made me realize what an important topic this was:
Omgosh. I ....this took my breath away. This is exactly what happened to me! I was this vibrant, moving being....then a stupid, nasty fall (via a piece of gravel on the sidewalk) ended all that. And my subsequent life mirrors your friend's. Thank you SO much for giving us hope!
It seems that after experiencing a fall, many middle-aged and older people may become fearful, which can lead to inactivity. That inactivity in turn leads to stiffness, weakness, loss of balance and/or loss of agility. So I decided to learn a bit more about the woman who left this comment, and to see if there was something we could do to help her regain her confidence and start to move again. Everyone has different issues, so before making recommendations, I asked her to fill me in on any physical problems she had. Here’s a condensed version of her reply:
My sacrum got cocked (like it often does) and that triggered a bout of sciatica - the two sent me to the ER. The cocked sacrum was the result of some incorrectly done crunches plus my bete-noire, a fibroid that spans the entire back of my uterine wall.
I've had two motorcycle accidents (about 20 yrs apart) and now just have that North Dallas Forty thing going  (the opening scene, with Nick Nolte in the bathtub - painful).  Also, I have had shoulder surgery (torn rotor cuff with a bone spur sticking through it)— that one is healed.
Last thing that happened was about 18 mos. Ago—striding down the street, I twisted my ankle on a piece of gravel and went down like a sack of potatoes.  Banged up my left knee and hip (that poor hip gets so much grief), wrenched my back, and damaged the OTHER shoulder in the fall, which is why I have no flexibility or confidence whatsoever. So I can’t extend my right shoulder much. I also have two discs in my neck that are bone on bone, though I keep those pretty limber, most days.
So that's the litany of ick.  Other than that stupid fibroid and the post-injuries I’m actually pretty healthy and very strong (except for that shoulder – but I can still lift between 50-100lbs with my arms at my sides – just not extended).  Mostly I'm just stiff and achy and need to get back to moving around - your post on 'regaining stability' resonated so deeply, Nina.  

After learning about our reader’s situation, I decided to take her case to Baxter, who pointed out to me that certain physical problems, such as the fibroid and the new shoulder injury, needed to be addressed by a medical professional. He agreed that while our reader was seeking medical help, she would also benefit from a gentle yoga practice that allowed her to start moving again. A short, daily, gentle yoga practice would be helpful to her allover physical health and would allow her to start increasing her flexibility, as well as her confidence.
In her case, because she has a history of low back and other problems, he recommended that instead of having a single sequence, she should alternate between three different sequences. I was happy to find that two of the sequences were already on the blog! (So if you’re a new reader and want to start practicing some short sequences on your own, be sure to poke around through our archives to see the various sequences we’ve been posting.)
The three sequences are:
1. Baxter’s classic Low Back Care Practice (see Low Back Care Practice). Because hip openers are helpful for low back problems, this sequence includes stretches for leg and hip flexibility.
2. Baxter’s classic Mini Restorative Practice (see Mini Restorative Practice). A restorative practice will help reduce stress. Long-held passive poses also gently stretch your muscles.
3. Our new Gentle All-Around Practice (see Gentle All-Around Practice), which I'm just posting today. This practice includes shoulder stretches to increase upper body flexibility and standing poses to improve balance and stability.
My hope is that practicing these sequences on a regular basis will, over time, restore her flexibility, balance, and feelings of self confidence, and allow her to be a “vibrant, moving being” once again.
And although we came up with this set of sequences for a particular person, all of them would be suitable for just about anyone who is starting a home practice. And it just so happens we’re in the first week of the new year! So if any of you have made resolutions to start practicing yoga at home, give any or all of these sequences a try and let us know how it goes.

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