Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wellness Break --- Day 4/56

Walk: Whole Foods Van Ness
Distance: 2.4 miles and home yoga

Image result for downward dog

We interrupt our latest cruise through the Scottish Galleries Art and the Brooklyn Museum Costumes to bring you a wellness reminder.

Specifically a reminder that, no matter the body, we all lose flexibility as we age, and one activity affected by ongoing tightness is walking.  For example if there is tension between our calf muscles and our heels, we can tend to catch our toes, stumble and fall.  Since our bones also weaken with age, falls can lead to fractures - especially of the hip. Then there is the potential hospital care, etc, etc.  (I have friends who remind each other daily "We cannot fall!")

The good news in this dire recital is Yoga!  In the case of the calf-ankle connection, the good news in particular is Downward Facing Dog which works that area as well as many other parts of ourselves. In many yoga modalities, Down Dog is the most frequent pose in each practice session.  For good reason: it inverts us so prana can flow to our hearts and brains; it strengthens the hands, wrists, shoulders; it opens the entire back body from the feet, through the length of the spine into the arms and hands.

And more. Like all active stretching*, Down Dog improves mind/body connection, alignment of joints, mental focus.  And more.

There are modifications depending on your physical condition.  For instance: bending your elbows and doing down dog from your forearms, keeping your knees bent, straightening one leg at a time/bicycling them, simulating the pose against a wall, table or chair, or other modifications you might invent.  And Ciwt always recommends a warm up of your choice to prepare for more demanding, fully extended poses.

Image result for downward dog

*Also, bike riding, swimming, doing the stretches in the classic Anderson book "Stretching." Tai Chi is great. Too there are excellent alternatives to hatha/movement yoga (which she teaches): restorative, Iyengar, chair yoga, yin yoga. The main thing is being present (which usually means listening to your breath and body)  in whatever active wellness you choose. 

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