Yoga is Part of my Wellness Plan at Our Little House

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I finally started yoga again yesterday.

Before we moved, I began yoga, realizing I was hurtling toward middle age quickly. After watching my mother whither and die of complications from 65 years of smoking, I wanted to get into better shape and stay that way for as long as possible.

My mom began yoga, at about the same age I am now and while she remained thin and fit through most of her 70s, she regretted not sticking with it, especially when she began having balance issues.

I love it, because it not only provides exercise for the mind, but also the body and spirit through relaxation and breathing.

When we moved here, I left my yoga classes behind. I bought DVDs and had my mat, but I hadn’t been doing it that long in my classes and learning a pose that sometimes has you upside down while watching a television screen is pretty difficult.

As well, I didn’t have an instructor there telling me if I was really doing it correctly, thus accomplishing my goals.

Most of the time, my mat sat languishing in the bottom of the closet of Our Little House and I told myself our daily walks would be enough exercise until I could afford and find a yoga class close to home.

Last fall, a new studio opened up in the town nearest our house and I resolved, once I had my wheels back to give it a try.

After walking the hilly streets of Eureka Springs this past weekend and coming home with major hip pain, I decided now is the time.

I know many of our Living Large community who have made their move or planning one, are near midlife or older.

While health and wellness was something that was in the back of my mind, it reached the forefront very quickly when Dale was diagnosed with a chronic health issue before he even left the city.

When he was laid off, this health issue prevented us from getting health insurance on the open market due to this “pre-existing condition.”

If it weren’t for the section of the federal stimulus package that allowed laid off workers to extend COBRA, we would have been nearly two years without insurance. Given the cost of Dale’s medication that is, in part, controlling his condition, I doubt we could have even afforded to continue it without insurance. (I don’t want to debate politics on this forum, but the truth is the stimulus package helped us personally).

We’re at the age that our bodies are beginning to show signs of it. We’ve both had more minor health issues in the past four years since our move than in the entire 21 years of marriage previous.

For people (especially those entering mid-life) planning on making a move to a tiny or little house, or anywhere that requires a job change or early retirement, you should also put together a health and wellness plan.

Ours includes a healthier diet and exercise, but as we’ve found out, that isn’t always enough. Health insurance, especially at this age, is a must.

Are you entering middle age and planning on making a move? In addition to everything else, have you thought about your health and wellness plan? What type of diet or exercises are part of your plan?

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32 Responses

  1. Jane Boursaw says:

    I love yoga. Been doing classes regularly for about 8 years and realize how important it is the older I get. My yoga teacher is in her 60s and others in class are in their 60s and 70s and 80s. You see in them how yoga can help a person age gracefully and healthy.

  2. It’s funny that so many of my friends love yoga. But I never have. I’ve tried many different kinds of yoga and I find myself bored. Plus, I often end up getting injured: straining a muscle, that sort of thing. I know I’m the exception about not loving yoga. But it is so helpful for so many people.

  3. Merr says:

    I just returned to yoga after months of really getting deep into Zumba! It felt great. I’ve found that if I listen to my body, it tells me exactly the kind of exercise it wants and needs at any given time. I used to do more “flow” yoga, but this weekend I took a more basic, pose holding class, aimed more at beginners. The beauty about yoga is that you can take a beginner class and make it as advanced as you want.

    • kerri says:

      I like that about it too, Merr. I’m in a class with people who have been doing it awhile, yet I don’t feel really inept. People just kind of go at their own pace.

  4. Go reminder for me. I need to start doing yoga again too.

  5. Fran says:

    You go Kerri!! I LOVE yoga. I do mine from video’s and Netflix. I feel so much better when I stick to it. I have a very sore hip from the kind of work I use to do. When I do my yoga for a few days, it stops hurting. As soon as I stop, it’s back again.
    I also do pilates. It’s a lot like yoga as far as easy moves. I even have a video that combines them both. Here is the link to the video.
    I’m not sure if you would call me middle age. I’m 43 years young. But if I keep things moving, I hope to stay young in my body. So I am with you Kerri.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks, Fran. I do hope the exercise will help the hip. I also want to look into pilates. You bring up a good point. When does middle age begin? I’m 47, so not that much older than you! 🙂

      • Fran says:

        I’m hoping for about 65 to be my middle age lol. My dad is going to be 80 this month and you would never know it. The man is always going. He said that if you keep moving, You’ll keep going. That’s his motto for staying young in the body. So let’s keep a moving.
        BTW, if you try out pilates,you will end up loving it. I like to do pilates one day then yoga the next. Makes it fun that way. But I do mine at home. Not sure how I would do it with a class. But I bet that would be fun also.

        • Kerri says:

          I like that, Fran. That was my mother’s motto too, and she did until she could no longer catch the air necessary to keep her moving. Really, until she was in her late 70s, she looked and acted much younger. I think your dad is on to something! Thanks for the heads up with pilates. I notice my yoga instructor doesn’t teach it but I’m going to ask her this afternoon if someone she knows around here does.

  6. Sheryl says:

    What’s nice about yoga is that anyone of any skill level can do it. And, it helps the mind as it helps the body.

  7. I’ve now done yoga for 15 years — and can’t tell you how important it’s become to me. Highly, highly recommend it to everyone of any age.

  8. Cal Olson says:

    Glad to hear it, friend! Get down with your yoga self! 😀

    After bariatric surgery March 2010, I took an intro class in Tai Chi Jan 2011 – and am I ever glad! Yoga puts a little too much strain on my already-blown knees, but Tai Chi seems to do good stuff for every part of me – especially my mind.

    Make you a deal – stick to your yoga, and I’ll keep workin’ the Tai Chi, and we’ll both be around a lot longer to compare notes!

    • kerri says:

      Glad to hear from you, Cal, it’s been awhile! 🙂 I think I would like Tai Chi, too, and it may be better for my stomach as well. I had trouble doing some of the bends and getting into balls because of a stomach surgery I had nearly 8 years ago. My stomach is sewn in place so it didn’t want to move into some of those positions! I’m going to keep at it though. Check in and let us know how you’re doing!

  9. Heather L. says:

    What’s wonderful about yoga is that you can start it at any age. And the more you do it, the more benefits you see. It’s amazing what it has done for me.

  10. Steph Auteri says:

    I’m not entering middle age, but I’m still working toward big changes. I turned 31 the other day and found out that, despite having been trying for over a year, I’m still not pregnant. My husband and I plan on getting some tests done to see if there’s a medical issue.

    In the meantime, I started doing yoga in my living room almost a year ago because I wanted to be healthier once I did get pregnant. But like you said, DVDs can be tough to follow, and you never quite know if you’re getting those poses exactly right. So earlier this week, I joined a yoga studio two minutes away from my home. I’m already addicted to the ways in which the classes are pushing me to do more.

    I love how yoga stretches me out and relaxes me and makes me feel stronger. I love how it feels like a cure for everything, because it’s not just about physicality. It’s about mindfulness, too. Kudos to you for finally joining that studio!

  11. Alexandra says:

    I should do yoga, too. For now, I walk when I can. It is not easy getting old. My husband is 73, I’m 64.

  12. Good for you Kerri. I think yoga is the best way to go. Our library has classes – maybe I can get involved in the near-by future.

  13. V Schoenwald says:

    I just started my yoga practice as of last night at a Wed class at 5:30 pm. It is at the Curves for Women studio we have here.
    I had to start a more vigorous cardiac plan as my doctor chewed on my butt for quite a while Tue morning. I have health issues from Thyroid cancer, and have some cancer markers now, and a colesterol of over 400 now because of not having a thyroid, so I am getting slammed from all directions.
    I am 53 and take care of 2 elder parents and have a disabled partner now, plus me so I am stressed beyond anything plus work at my own business, so I am stressed.
    For a very long time, I could not afford to join a gym or anything, it is unaffordable, but joining curves is a little more affordable, but it ticks me off as I have to pay to get better. I cannot walk or bike in my general neighborhood, too many gangs and drug dealers, and I cannot find anyone to walk with, unless you have armed security, it makes it no fun at all.
    I loved yoga years ago, when I had my back surgery, my physical therapist was from New Delhi, India, and he was the one who started me on yoga in depth, and I fell in love with it. But life got in the road and with taking care of too many people’s needs, I let my time go also. We must learn to say NO to things sometimes, and say to ourselves that we as a human are important to ourselves and our total well being, or we cannot take care of the others around us.

    • Kerri says:

      You do have to take care of yourself first, especially when mired in care taking. I hope you feel better than I do this morning after beginning yoga. I feel like I’ve been beat with a stick!

      • V Schoenwald says:

        I felt like I had seen the front end of a Peterbilt going westbound this morning, and I did not go to my cardio session and I don’t think that I will go for Fri at 11:30 am. I am sore and I knew that I would be.
        I will resume cardio on Monday at 9 am.
        When I start an exercise program, I have to ease into it. My spine is so stiff with Titanium and any muscles that rub that hardware are SOOOOO SORE it isn’t funny.
        Take care

        • kerri says:

          Oh, my. YOU take care this weekend! My muscles were sore and my leg muscles still are, but I’m pretty good today.

  14. Olivia says:

    I’m not very good at making plans and following through, I confess. I did yoga years ago but my tendency to turn it into a competitive sport (which, clearly, it isn’t but I am just a very competitive person who turns everything into a competition, alas) worked against me.

    So – what now?

    We do eat very healthily – always have. Vegetables are my favourite food group (weird, I know) and, due to my celiac disease, I am not tempted by junk food or sweets, unless I make them, as I can’t eat them. I don’t have a sweet tooth – but maybe a “chocolate tooth”?

    I like to walk, garden and other activities that provide entertainment while I am also exercising. I can’t exercise just for its own sake – I once belonged to a gym but hated it. Walking on a treadmill seemed pointless – I’d rather walk outdoors. I snowshoe in the winter and, if DH ever gets an outdoor shed, I’ll get a bicycle. I love to dance (12 years of ballet as a child) – maybe find a dance class somewhere but then they’d probably try and instruct me and I prefer to do my own thing.

    What do you do with someone like me? I am naturally uber thin and, as a Canadian, have health coverage, thankfully. I can’t imagine being without health coverage. Since DH retired we no longer have dental insurance and vision care is cut back as regards prescriptive lenses. My glaucoma check-ups and meds are covered because that is “medical” (as if a rotten tooth, for example, is not?)

    Congratulations on your plan, though.

    • Kerri says:

      My mother was naturally uber thin too, Olivia. Unfortunately, I took after my dad’s side. Short and stout.
      One of these days, maybe America will wake up to universal health care.
      It sounds as though you do a lot without having a “plan,” and that’s probably better. I don’t like gyms either, but I do enjoy yoga (although it killed me yesterday because I’m so out of shape). Ordering an all terrain dog stroller for Molly next week so we can begin our walks again. She cannot take walks anymore due to that heart condition and I know if we all left without her, she would just stand at the door and jump and bark and that wouldn’t be good for her either.