Yoga Suits Her
I've been teaching yoga since 1980. A lot of my identity is tied up with being a yoga teacher. What does that mean? What should that mean? On this site I explore my personal journey and provide commentary on the state of yoga in the twenty-first century. I invite you to have a look and see what may be here for you.
Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar
Featured videos from my YouTube channel
I've been adding meditations, short instructional video and an ever-growing selection of complete yoga classes. Click on any of these below videos to view them directly. Or click on the button below to explore the entire channel.
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All of my videos are also available on this website.
Anticipating (dreading!) hip replacements
Many of us are getting to the age where we are starting to wear out. Or, at least our joints are. Over the last few weeks, I've spoken to three people who are in need of hip replacements. All of them are yogis. All are active in life, and this deterioration of their joints limits them in the things they love to do. Naturally enough, people are fearful about submitting to orthopaedic surgery. They dread the pain to come and the expense of major surgery.
Hip surgery is a daunting prospect for anyone. Fortunately, the first suggestion of the surgical option usually comes well before the actual operation. You have time to get used to the idea. Nevertheless, a visit to the orthopaedic surgeon starts to shape your thinking towards the inevitable. This is especially true when the levels of pain and physical limitations are increasing.
If like me, you try to find natural ways of dealing with health issues, surgical intervention is scary in the extreme. I am now twelve years post double hip surgery. My artificial hips have given me my life back. I'm indebted to modern technology and to the highly skilled surgeon who did my operation.
Yoga practitioners who are due for a hip replacement will have to make some sacrifices before life becomes all sunshine and roses again. In the lead-up to surgery, you are likely to have been in discomfort, developed a limp and become limited in many activities.
The poses that you formerly preformed with ease may have become inaccessible. If you had a strong practice, you need to adapt to gentler and more reflective yoga routines. Making such changes takes humility and dedication to self-care. Yet these are often the very qualities that wane when we are in pain.
If you are an independent person, you will need to become reliant on others, both before and after surgery. That’s just a given. I found it difficult to ask for support. But asking for help became one of the most transformative “gifts” from the experience. You know those kinds of gifts where you say, ah, you shouldn't have.
As you may have done already, I surfed the internet to see what types of surgery were available. As well, I looked at all sorts of prostheses. I came to realise that I had no idea what was best. The amount of information that is available is staggering. You could even watch an entire surgery on-line (I didn't). Rather than relying on Dr. Google, I trusted the surgeon I chose and simply followed his advice. When you get right down to it, the orthopaedic surgeon you choose is the expert.
If you're curious about the kind of surgery I underwent, it's called a posterior hip replacement. Ceramic linings and titanium devices were installed to replace the parts that had worn out. My orthopaedic surgeon told me these would give me strength and durability for restoring the mobility and balance I'd lost.
Your yoga life after surgery
When quizzed about my post-op rehabilitation, I'm invariably asked if I can do everything I used to do. Absolutely not! For one thing, I started yoga when I was 27, and I'm fifty years old. So, I am limited compared in the range of movement I now have. For a hyper-mobile body type like mine, I needed to learn to make my hips stronger and more stable. Most yoga students need to work on strength and stability rather than cultivating ultra-flexibility.
I returned to teaching yoga four months post-surgery and took it slowly to recover and rehabilitate. When I had my five-year check-up, my surgeon was pleased with my progress. He even asked if he could have access to some of my published writing to share with his patients who are yoga practitioners.
The cost of the operation and subsequent physiotherapy can be considerable. On top of the costs associated with surgery, you need to take some weeks off work for a full recovery. But this is an investment in your future - not something to economise on. Time off could even be viewed as a personal retreat for a yogi.
I want to share a power point presentationI created last year that includes photos of the poses I found that were soothing and helpful pre-op. You'll also find images of the postures I did post-op as my range of movement was slowly restored. Typically for me, I couldn't resist including some show-offy pix as well, two taken before the hip surgery and then one of me 7 months post-op on a slack rope at the Nevada Burning Man Festival.
Over the years I've received emails and phone calls from teachers and students who are thinking about undergoing hip replacement surgery. If you are considering the operation or know of someone who is, I'm happy to have them contact me via 'Yoga Suits Her'.
Hip replacement surgery is a daunting prospect for anyone. Fortunately, the first suggestion of the surgical option usually comes well in advance of the need for the actual operation. You have time to get used to the idea. Nevertheless, a visit to the orthopaedic surgeon starts to shape your thinking towards the inevitable. This is especially true when levels of pain and physical limitations are increasing.
If, like me, you try to find more natural ways, of dealing with health issues, then surgical intervention can seem scary in the extreme. Now that I’m five years on the other side of double hip surgery, I can say that your hip replacement surgery may give you your life back. I’m thankful to modern technology performed by a highly skilled surgeon.
The Previous 4 Posts
We have to be very discerning when seeking out elders. One giveaway of elderhood is the acceptance of age. No one wants to become infirm in body and mind but there’s a grace that comes with acceptance of wrinkles, grey and thinning hair and stiffening joints.
Yes, I think that a hallmark of an elder is acceptance of imperfection, one’s character flaws and personal failings. Foibles and follies when cooked in the cauldron of life experience can create something like wisdom.
I’m still in elder training, not that I’m not old enough. The thing that I’m learning and trying to practice is authenticity, speaking my mind, hopefully without doing any harm, and holding to values without being rigid. Performing yoga poses is easy compared to this late stage of focus. It takes perseverance to keep after the truth; it’s often still buried under conditioning and wanting to please.
Bones represent getting down to basics. We might talk about the bones of a story. Diving deeper we say, I knew it in my bones. When Estes features bones in her stories, they represent the stripping away of the outer self – of the persona, or social mask – in order to contact one’s essence.
The theme for my yoga classes during the month of March is ‘The Quality of Balance’. Like last month’s theme–Befriending Backbends, I thought, gee, I wonder if we can make the sometimes pesky balancing poses more enjoyable, more user friendly. Cultivating balance is a key factor in ease of walking, standing, most any movement. And then there’s lifestyle balance, emotional, mental balance, spiritual balance.
The Incident Last week I had an accident with my car. Ironically I was pulling into Old Bar Automotive to get my registration check. The car was sporting four new tyres to help guarantee that my Kia would pass inspection. I missed the garage's dirt driveway by just...
It's been out of print for 15 or more years but now it's back. It's available as a paperback as well as a range of digital formats for different devices. The design of this edition is modelled as closely as possible on the original release from 1997.
(Note: Book retailers set their own prices that are all different and constantly change. It's worth shopping around for the best price.)
Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Teach Yourself Yoga. Just ask and quote ISBN: 978-0-6487945-0-9.
Please send me feedback about the book. I'd love to hear about any errors or problems with eBooks on various devices. And please review the book wherever you get it. Reviews will help more people discover the book.
Yoga Basics Pack. $24.95
10-week beginners Yoga course.
Specially designed for beginners, Yoga Basics is an easy to follow program for better health, flexibility and peace of mind. This pack contains 10 beautifully illustrated cards, one for each week of a ten-week course that tie a clear, practical and portable guide to getting started in yoga.
Yoga Tool Kit. $24.95
10 beautifully illustrated cards that give clear, practical and portable programs to meet a variety of needs. The customised sequences help provide holistic healthcare – better health, flexibility and peace of mind – so you can stay on top of your daily requirements with a safe and effective regime. Practices for boosting the immune system, insomnia, menstruation, post travel, low backache, stress and anxiety relief, fatigue, encouraging mental balance, managing menopause and regenerating.
No, I'm not selling yoga mats or clothing. I don't even have a t-shirt... yet. But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want. Have a look, I'm never sure what you'll find.