I had to give up Bollywood aerobics for a while because flinging my arms about caused some distress in my left shoulder. And I haven’t done errand-walking for several days, because spending 5-10 minutes in an air-conditioned car is more appealing than walking for 30-40 minutes in 95 degree heat. But I have remained faithful to my yoga class. The main reason that I have stuck with it is that I always feel upbeat afterwards and this feeling lasts throughout the day. The other observation I have made since starting yoga is that while I am home, I am completely focused on whatever project I am working on, whether it be studying Spanish, writing, answering emails, working on my temple website, or learning more about my computer. Regrettably, this level of intense concentration does not carry over to housework and I often forget to let the cat in.
I have searched for research on the health benefits of yoga. I found one source today, a book called Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Older Adults: a guide to holistic approaches to healthy aging. “Yoga postures promote increased blood circulation, internal organ massage, improved digestion, limber muscles and joints, oxygen increase, improved lymphatic circulation, and overall better mood.”
I can’t attest to the worthiness of this source, but my teacher — the eighty-plus- year-old who can approach a pretzel-shape in some poses — commented that someone once told her that yoga helped prevent arthritis pain. She didn’t believe this until her doctor took an X-ray of her spine and said that she had more arthritis than he expected for someone who had never complained about it. She told him she had not complained because she was not aware of it. Also, a class member who works at a university medical school said that the latest research indicated that yoga was good for cardiovascular health.
This information and my personal experience have convinced me to continue doing yoga as long as I can, despite the strong possibility of disappointment that I will never be able to wrap my ankles around my neck.