Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
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My Yoga Routine

The first thing I do every morning (after waking up that is) is a short yoga routine. I didn't get it anywhere specific, I just gleaned it from various sources including some magazines and some back stretches from my doctor. Yeah, I had been doing yoga irregularly for quite some time, but after throwing my back out, my medical doctor suggested that I do yoga every day to help prevent that. So I have, and this is my routine.

  • The Cow. This is where you get on your hands and knees and try to lower your belly and raise your head… to make you look like a Bessie about to be milked… yeah, it helps if you moo.

  • The Cat. This is the opposite of the cow where you stick your back in the air as high as it goes. These first two are good warmups and you can repeat them.

  • The Cobra. Shift your body slightly forward and drop your hips to the ground while keeping the arms straight up, you'll stretch out your upper back and shoulders (see this illustration).

  • The Child. Drop back on your haunches while keeping your hands in the same spot on the ground (I guess this is called the Puppy). Once you are flat, put your arms to the side (like this better illustration).

  • The Moon. My four-year old and I call this the moon, but the idea is to straighten up until you are kneeling. Then fall off of your heals to one side and raise your arms above your head, reaching one arm over your head to the side your feet are pointing. Hrm… these descriptions are much easier to demonstrate than describe, but the end result is looking like a cresent moon. Now do the other side.

  • The Corpse and Torpedo. Now lie down on your back. This is my favorite pose… the corpse. Now raise your arms above your head… that's what I call the torpedo.

  • Wind-releasing Pose. Raise one knee and with your arms pull it into and to the side of your chest. You should feel it in your butt cheek. Now straighten that leg and do the other one (see this illustration). It is called the "wind-releasing" pose for the obvious tootin' sound that often accompanies such a position. Really.

  • The Little Boat. Now if you are to do both legs (keep the knees apart so that you can pull them closer), and you'll feel it stretching out your lower back. Rock side to side and make a fog horn noise.

  • Back Twist. While on your back with your knees bent and apart, drop your knees to one side. Relax your shoulders and feel the stretch in your legs. Now move one knee on top of the other to get a good twist in your back… remember to relax your shoulders. Obviously, do this on the other side.

  • First Teeter Totter. While on your back with your knees bent and apart, raise your butt off the ground and clasp your hands together beneath you.

  • Running Out of Names. While on your back with your legs flat and your arms above your head, lift your legs. Yeah, but its a good burn. While keeping your legs slightly above the ground, raise your back off the ground and balance on your butt. Here is a picture of my daughter at age two doing this pose.

  • Second Teeter Totter. Lower your legs and put your hands on the ground beside you. Raise your butt off the ground to make a triangle. Since I don't know the names of these, they are the names my daughter and I gave them.

  • The Table. Now raise your knees in the air so that your belly is horizontal. My daughter always says "I make a liddle (little) table, because I just liddle."

  • Back Twist Revisited. Now put your butt back on the ground, and place one arm on the opposite knee and twist the hell out of your back. Do the other side.

  • Butterfly Groin Hell. While sitting on your butt, put your feet together (remember the butterfly stretches from gym class?) now lower your head and touch your nose to your toes. If you are like me, you can't even come close, and its quite agonizing. I often try to make myself feel better by doing the Noble Pose.

  • Shoulder Stretch. Finish off by sitting in the half-lotus position, and stretching the arms above your head with the heals of your hands higher than the fingers. When you bring your hands down, you are ready to keep sitting and meditate on just how inflexible you've become in your old age.

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