Do you know someone who has fallen recently?
I – sadly – happen to know five people who have recently fallen. (weird right?)
(BTW I am wishing all of you a speedy recovery and much love!)
All these people are women are between 50 and 60, none of them unhealthy or suffering any sort of impairment that I know of.
Each has their own story and circumstances surrounding the fall. One was walking and the surface of the sidewalk was uneven, one was on a ladder, one was hiking, one walking on a slippery surface ….
Of course, external circumstances played a role in what happened in each case. An accident can happen to anyone, no question.
The problem with focusing on external factors exclusively is that it can start to make our world smaller and smaller. We say to ourselves – “well, I can’t do that anymore” or it becomes a subconscious fear. We think it is a ‘natural part of aging’ and it lets us off the hook. Less physical confidence means less independence.
The changes in our balance and core strength that start to happen in middle age are sometimes imperceptible to us. We think our balance is fine because we never really test it. We look at falling as something ‘old’ people need to be afraid of.
A fall in middle age can lead to long term consequences though. My mom fell when she was in her 60’s and her shoulder has always hurt after that, to the point were now she is on powerful pain killers all the time. She needs them but the side effects are nasty.
So what makes a fall? What do we mean by poor balance? and how can we improve it?
There are many things that can effect your balance, including ‘core’ strength, hip strength, foot and ankle mobility, agility and mental focus.
Yoga can help with all these things.
In our classes we practice first thing by focusing the mind on the breath. It may seem easier some days than others, but the point is you practice bringing your attention to where you want it and that is a skill that I truly treasure in my life. When your mind is going in a hundred different directions, remember you always have your breath.
I teach a lot of moving/balancing poses as opposed to long hold static poses as I believe this more mimics real life situations. We stretch toes and feet almost every class. We don’t leave out plank pose (core) or hip strengtheners (standing postures) because they are to hard, I want you to be challenged in a safe way. We do self massage and stretching to relax and loosen up. We learn agility getting up and down from the floor.
Taking care of yourself is so important in order to live life to the fullest, but sometimes we put everything else above it. Have you made your well being your highest priority? The time to do it is now. I can’t tell you what your priorities are, only you can decide those. Your overall health is connected to your mobility and both are something you will miss if you don’t have them. Stay strong and active as long as you can. Yoga and walking are a potent combination if you do do both with care and intensity.
If you have been missing yoga class lately, remember, what you don’t do has consequences. My words may sound harsh but I am passionate about this and you should be too.
I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty and I’m especially not trying to say a fall is your fault!
I’m just trying to say I miss you 🙂
Here is a line I love from a classic book called “The Teachings of Don Juan”.
Don Juan says to Carlos Casteneda,
“The problem with you is that you think you have time.”
In order to provide you with more opportunity to practice – I am offering Friday night workshops – everything from active to more passive yoga both of which are important.
I hope to see you on the mat.