Twenty years ago I started practicing yoga by choosing a routine from the back of Youth, Yoga and Reincarnation (a book I never finished reading but oh the appendix is worth the $1.50 used price). Over time I’ve modified that basic yoga routine to suit me. I took other yoga classes, studied dance in various forms, learned about muscles and stretching and what my body in particular needed. I now have a modest little yoga drill that works for me. When I do the exercises I go at a pace that works for me. (A very very yin pace.) I try to associate breathing in and out with the up and down of the motion and generally at my weakest will repeat three times or hold for three breaths.
I haven’t done yoga in over two years. Health issues blah blah blah. On Tuesday I asked my vestibular rehabilitation therapist (aka balance therapist) how long she expected I would need to do my balance exercises. She said that ideally I would do them for the rest of my life, once a day. This was momentarily crushing. It felt like she was saying I would never be healthy or “normal” again. Not that I ever was normal, not that any of us really have met normal, not that the normal in my head is the normal that exists on average. Normal bah!
After a day of digesting this news I decided to start doing yoga again. For me it is a gentle daily exercise that I already had a habit around before I started experiencing all the things that led to brain surgery. I realized I could modify it to include my balance exercises. That way these exercises are just part of what I do, not something I do because I had a hole in my head (SCDS).
My balance exercises are divided into three parts for me: sitting, standing, standing ankle thing.
Sitting: Sitting with good posture, thumbs become the focal point. Hold thumbs about 10″ from face, each one in front of a shoulder. Look thumb to thumb holding on each thumb for three seconds, moving slowly with eyes between thumbs. Move thumbs to about forehead and heart height and look thumb to thumb again. Shift out to shoulder height again, one up, one down and look thumb to thumb. Shift which is high and which is low, look thumb to thumb. Change to holding one thumb in front of face, this time moving head/vision left right, up down, diagonally both ways. Then change to holding head still and moving thumb while following thumb with eyes (left right, up down, diagonally both ways). Feel very bored but also headachy and tired.
Standing: Standing with good posture, first time through with feet shoulder width apart, second time through with feet together, third time through with feet shoulder width apart and eyes closed (third time is an advanced exercise lately added.) Move head up and down, side to side, top corner to bottom corner (both sides), focusing on what is visible when eyes are open.
Standing Ankle Thing: Standing with feet shoulder width apart lean forward and back only bending at the ankles. Remain very very aware of feet and ankles.
[modification] I plan to do Standing Ankle Thing before Chest Expander, Standing after The Stork right before Neck Rolls, Sitting will go where Eye Exercises currently is in addition to those mild yoga eye exercises. [end modification]
I’m also generally modifying my yoga again. Definitely no inversions.
These are the pages I created ten years ago with the complete list of modified yoga from which to pick and choose. I’ll need to make a new entry with modified yoga and balance exercises as described above.