Thursday, May 22, 2008


Last night I finally made it back to the yoga mat. For one reason or another, I hadn't practiced in two or three weeks. I sorely missed it. Not just because I'm happier, calmer and have an overall better sense of well being when I maintain an active practice, but I was also just sore. These muscles need to stretch around these bones.

Lately I've come to realize just how important healthy bones are to a person, especially to women. Two weekends ago, my grandmother fell and broke - shattered, actually - her hip and her wrist. I saw her at the hospital after the surgery to help repair the breaks and immediately went home to take a calcium supplement.

I thought of this all last night as my yoga teacher was lecturing the class on the safety of headstand prep. Headstand, and all yoga inversions, are widely beneficial to the body, but they can also be dangerous, so it's important to work up to the pose. One of the benefits of headstand is that the pose strengthens the top part of the spine. While the teacher was introducing the pose, she mentioned she works with seniors and has seen an epidemic of hunched shoulders and curved necks due to osteoporosis of the spine. Then she said, most of that generation of women never got the chance to mindfully do weight bearing exercise to help stave off osteoporosis.

It was an aha moment for me...of course, my grandmothers at the age of 30 didn't spend a Wednesday evening enjoying a night of yoga. They had kids to tend to and a house to run. Sure, they got plenty of exercise working in the yard and maintaining a home, but I don't think they were pondering the benefits of headstand. I felt at once humbled and proud. I know in these bones of mine, how lucky I am that these women went before me. I now have the opportunity to practice yoga and maintain a home. So I can benefit both from their experience and from headstand.

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