This post is written by Sara F, a graduate of our 200-hour teacher training program. She’s been our a familiar face on Sunday nights, hosting at the front desk during our 6:00pm $5 Basics. Keep your eyes open for Sara on June 1 at 1:00pm for our Yoga in the Park: Pride Edition.
Have you ever been in a yoga class where the teacher instructs a pose, and you either stand/lay there knowing the pose won’t work for your body, or you silently struggle into it and hope it will end soon?
Or, on a more positive note, have you been in a yoga class where the teacher offers variations of a pose, often with different props? If the teacher gave different options, you have experienced accessible or adaptive yoga, which offers solutions that allow people of allabilities and body types to practice and benefit from yoga. At Queen Street Yoga you may have heard teachers refer to pose options as “bus stops,” and how far you ride down the bus route is up to you.
Arlene started coming to my classes ten years ago, when I was teaching out of a small rented space in Waterloo. One day after class she came up to me and said something I have never forgotten. With a big smile on her face she exclaimed, “I think this yoga is actually making a difference! Yesterday I was playing with my grandkids on the floor, and I realized that for the first time in years, I was actuallycomfortable sitting on the floor with them!”
I think back to that story often. It has stayed with me and became my inspiration for learning how to make yoga more accessible and useful for people in their golden years. Arlene, who was now completely sold on yoga, rallied a crew of friends to help me get a Basics class going at a time that worked well for everyone. I have been teaching that same group of students now every Wednesday morning for the past 8 years. It’s been fun and fulfilling to learn alongside those folks, many of whom are 60-75 now. One of my students, in fact, just turned 85! These past 8 years of teaching this demographic of “goldeners” and the continued studies I’ve been doing in strength and functional movement, led me to develop courses and special content for people 50+, specifically myYoga for Dynamic Aging course that launched last spring.
Hold on a second! I can hear you saying. I wear practical, supportive footwear. I don’t even wear high heels! It is *not* my shoes.
I know. Your shoes may seem like a smart choice. But…it’s probably still your shoes.
Alright, the shoe thing is a bit of an oversimplification. Your feet probably hurt for a number of reasons. One is that our culture has created a flattened world so that our ankles, calves and feet are conditioned to walking only on artificially flat and hard terrain. This has consequences for our feet and our whole bodies, as our feet are deprived of the different kinds of movement and conditioning they would get if they had to walk on different textured and varied ground. And don’t even get me started on how much we sit. So partially your feet hurt because they don’t move enough, in enough different ways.
Many of us do. Many of us use computer stations or laptops that are not positioned well for us to maintain healthy posture. Andy, Leena and I have become aware of the effects of non-ergonomic computer use while we’re working away at the studio, and we’ve been experimenting with different ways of elevating our screens, keyboards and mice so that we can work in a more optimal position for our spines. Check out the various desk arrangements we’ve experimented with. We are lucky to have lots of yoga blocks around to play with! Over the course of the day, we alternate between standing and sitting desk arrangements. (Read more about the benefits of standing desks in this article). We also try to take regular stretch breaks (which sometimes turn into dance breaks in the front studio) to move our bodies and rest our eyes.Continue reading “Enliven Your Spine with an Ergonomic Desk”