Yoga Archives

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

A couple of weeks ago, I had arthroscopic knee surgery because of a fall more than a dozen years ago. It was partially exploratory to determine the next step as well as to “clean it up.” The next two weeks will determine my options, but total knee replacement is not necessary.

In order to go through this surgery, I had to get a second opinion and while the second doctor determined that surgery is necessary, it was his opinion that a total knee replacement should be considered “just in case” I might need one down the road. On the other hand, my world-renowned knee specialist said you never replace anything that’s in good condition and basically, other than my knee cap, my knee is in very good condition. But the most important lesson in this is to prevent falls in the first place and to prevent arthritis from creeping in.

Fitness expert Sonia Gow, in a previous post, shared her expertise about why people fall. She mentioned that falls are not a normal part of aging.

Did you know that falls are a leading cause of hospital admissions for people over 65? For those over 65, one in three will experience a fall each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 to 30 percent of the falls result in injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, and head traumas with hospital bills averaging nearly $18,000 per patient.

According to Mary Tinetti, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, the more chronic health conditions you have, the more likely you are to suffer a fall.

  • Diabetes can worsen vision and desensitize nerves in the feet.
  • Depression can increase risk of falling.
  • Many medications cause dizziness and affect balance, especially sleep aids.

Other diseases causing a higher rate of falls include:

  • Circulatory disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Arthritis

Yoga and tai chi which has slow, rhythmic movements can help you with your balance. Don’t forget to strengthen your arms too since you can use them to steady yourself. Find a personal trainer or borrow/buy a DVD to help you.

Senior Aerobics

Stretching in Senior Aerobics

In my last post, I told you about my very close friend, my pedometer. Getting the recommended 10K steps is now easier — at least 3 times each week — because I found a new love: a light aerobics class for seniors. I have never taken aerobics, so I did not know how invigorating and uplifting it is. I stumbled upon this class as I was looking for a substitute for my Friday morning yoga class which is on summer vacation.

Aerobics is not exactly a substitute for yoga, but we do stretches and balance exercises that we do in yoga. This particular class has been going on for well over 10 years and is run by volunteers. One session was even led by an  89-year old gentleman. The most difficult part of this class is ringing the alarm clock to be present for an 8:30 a.m. class! But you’ll definitely be awake by the end of class and the music will have you humming for the rest of the day.

So, if you’ve never tried aerobics, I encourage you to do so. It will work your brain and your body — what a great anti-aging formula. For those in the Washington, DC Metro area, the class meets in West Springfield, VA and you can send me an e-mail (info@noranagatani.com) if you are interested. There is no charge, but we make a $1 donation to the church for the use of their facility. What a deal!

And now, I’m going to use this class as a warm-up before my yoga class when it resumes in September. What an unexpected bonus in my life!

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Polarity Therapy

Gus in his Polarity Therapy Studio

Is it possible to feel pain and ticklish at the same time? Is it possible that pain could feel good? These were the sensations I felt as I experienced polarity therapy along with acupressure and reflexology. Although Cosmos Yoga and Healing is closing its doors, owner Constantis “Gus” Christofi will continue his polarity therapy practice at a new location. You previously met Gus in this post.

According to the American Polarity Therapy Association,”Energy fields and currents exist everywhere in nature. Polarity Therapy asserts that the flow and balance of energy in the human body is the foundation of good health. In the Polarity model, health is experienced when:

  1. Energy systems function in their natural state, and
  2. Energy flows smoothly without significant blockage or fixation.

When energy is unbalanced, blocked or fixed due to stress or other factors, pain and disease arise.”

What makes Polarity Therapy unique is that they bring in other healing systems as well. For example, Gus used acupressure, reflexology, oils, and sounds.

To begin the session, I was lying on my back with my head on a wooden “half moon” pillow. It was very uncomfortable to start, but bearable. I was told to move my head back and forth for 100 times as quickly as possible. Simultaneously he was shaking my legs. He then informed me that our feet are the entrance to the inside of our body and proceeded to press certain points. Talk about being ticklish and feeling pain at the same time. He said to relax and as I did the sensations subsided. Whew!

He continued the session by bringing his hands over my left leg up to the crown and down the left leg (called balancing the long lines). When he felt any energy blockages at acupoints, he pressed hard. Ouch! He did the same to the back side with me lying on my stomach. Then he brought in accessories using a cream, a Neptune Fork for sound, and concluding with an oil for smell.

As a Cellular Response practitioner, I am interested in other forms of energy healing. I am amazed at all of the different practices. Since they all deal with energy, there are many parts that are similar. With both of our practices, we believe that we can facilitate wellness, but your body heals itself. I was fortunate to have met Gus and experienced Polarity Therapy. Gus practices in Fairfax County, Virginia and can be contacted by e-mail at cosmosyogahealing@verizon.net.

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Yoga: A Cure for Insomnia

In previous posts, I’ve talked about insomnia and have recommended cherries and walking to solve sleep problems. I was recently at a meeting where someone mentioned yoga as a panacea to sleep problems. So I visited Gus, who owns and teaches at Cosmos Yoga and Healing in Alexandria, Virginia.

Cosmos Yoga and Healing

Cosmos Yoga and Healing is especially designed for his students to walk into a calming environment. The color, music, and smell of the room will leave a person relaxed by the end of the session. Gus teaches the Iyengar school of yoga which stresses body alignment and aims to unite the body, mind and spirit for health and well-being.

How can yoga be a cure for insomnia? Gus tells me that it’s through correct breathing, stretches, and alignment of the body. Additionally, about 10 to 15 minutes is spent in meditation where one “centers” oneself as well as removes toxins from the mind. He says we have too many things in our mind and the correct environment will bring a different mood. Stresses such as driving in traffic, a bad day at work, kids to care for — yoga removes the stresses, balances the body, and helps you to see clearly. With your body balanced and your mind cleared — it will help you fall asleep.

Gus

Gus’s definition of yoga … “Forever Young.” He says that the most positive energy we can get is from the sun’s rays so he encourages his students to get fresh air. If you live or work in the Alexandria, Virginia area, plan to check out this studio and try a class. Click here for a schedule.