Yoga Can Help with That…Mobility Edition

By Jennifer Dixon MBA ERYT 500 – Last Saturday evening, my family was leaving church (our church is awesome, it has services on both Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings, so we usually opt for the Sat evenings to give us one “lazy” morning a week with our super busy schedules,) and my son who is not quite 18 months old–he’s the second child so who has time to remember how many weeks/months/days old they are anymore?!?!–well, my beautiful son who LOVES the word NO at this stage was refusing to put his coat on.  Here we were in the middle of the children’s church area and I have a toddler running around screaming, “NO” “No” “NO” to my husband and I as we try to chase him down and put the darn coat on him. My daughter, very wisely tells us, “He’s being naughty.” (thank you for that observation sweetheart, now you stay right here… as we run off to grab the wily little sucker.–whom I absolutely adore, mind you!)

Since the fight was starting to escalate, I finally caught up with him, pulled him over into the corner and just sat down beside him for a good tickle and distraction game as I slyly put the coat on him.  My husband came over and said something about how on earth am I on the floor with him, and I had a few strange looks as we giggled and played the new put the coat on game, and victoriously, I got my handbag, diaper bag, and son’s (now coated hand), and we all got up and made it to the car without any meltdowns (miracles do happen everyday folks).

The next day at the studio, a brand new friend came in, nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, almost in tears, wanting to try yoga.  She was in her mid-50s, dealing with arthritis and the loss of mobility and overcoming 30 odd years of never doing anything for herself. (This is a story we get A LOT…Listen, if you don’t read one word further, YOU ARE WORTH IT.  YOU, my beautiful friend, are worth taking the time for yourself to get, regain ,or stay healthy.  It is hard to balance it…you know, life, kids, work, clean house, etc etc, but YOU….You are worth the time, effort, money to take care of yourself.  Your beautiful family will appreciate the extra boost of energy you get from a yoga class, your spouse will really like the new stamina and range of motion (insert wink here), and your colleagues will be amazed at your new overall demeanor, outlook, and ability stay cool under fire.  Trust me, speaking from experience here!)

So, back at the studio, my new friend and I were talking and getting set up for her first week of classes, when she was telling me about how she’s the least flexible person on the planet, and the idea of sitting on the floor was even a challenge.  That’s when it hit me. You know, like sometimes something super obvious comes and smack you upside the head and you hear a little, “duh” in your ears. Sitting on the floor is challenging!

I’m not sure when that happens, looking at my kids, they are up and down and all over, so it’s clearly after preschool, but at some point, the idea of getting down onto the floor becomes an idea that you may scoff at.  You are not alone. As Americans, we sit…a LOT, just not really on the floor once we get past kindergarten. Since we are propped up in our super squishy, or super supportive chairs, we rarely move through the full range of motion in our joints, and BAM, before you know it, you have kids, or grandkids and they are running away from you as you try to put their coat on them and you can’t get down on their level to entertain/distract them because you have lost that range of motion.

I don’t say this to discourage you, I say this to tell you that you are not alone.  In fact, in this article the CDC says that the number of total hip replacements will continue to grow over the next few decades, going from 138,700 in 2000 to 310,800 in 2010. In the graph below, you can see how folks starting as low as 45 have started to see an increase in total hip replacement just since 2000!  (that’s less than 20 years!)

Percent Distribution of Total Hip Replacement 2000 – 2010

(taken from this same CDC study)

I want to talk about two big deals that you and I MUST pay attention to.   The CDC says:

  1. The rate of total hip replacement more than doubled for those aged 45–54 over the 11 years from 2000 through 2010,
  2. The rate of total hip replacement increased among older age groups as well from 2000 to 2010: by 85% for those aged 55–64 & by 62% for those aged 65–74, & and by 68% for those aged 75 and over.

We are not alone, however.  When I went to research hip replacement statistics in India, I found one super interesting statement at a site trying to sell me data on the new growth expected for joint replacement in india.  This article out right said that the increase was due in large part to several factors, but the one that stuck out to me the most was,

High prevalence of arthritis primarily in north and south India and increasing prevalence of osteoporosis among post-menopausal women in urban areas who follow a sedentary lifestyle have stimulated the growth of the joint replacement market.”

So it seems, our friends to the east are starting to become more like us.  This seems so funny to me, because my teacher, Manju Jois, a septuagenarian, sits on the floor with us for hours on end. He does this literally around the world all year long.  At the end of a long practice session, we take a 20-30 minute break to snack, clean up, etc, then we spend another 2-3 hours huddled around him on the floor as he tells us stories, teaches us mantras, pranayama, chants, etc (all designed to help cleanse and strengthen the body.)  Manju talks about sitting on the floor, in fact. He says if we practice the yoga, it will help us to be able to sit on the floor then you won’t need things like hip replacement surgery.

Granted, I know that’s rather simplistic and anecdotal, but I can’t help but see my contemporaries that do not practice yoga (my husband is one of these) that struggle to get up and down from a chair let alone the floor, and then I see folks that incorporate regular yoga practices into their life (like I do) and sitting on the floor becomes a non-point, it is just something that’s done.  

How amazing is that?!?!  

Inside Thrive Yoga and Wellness, we have men and women of all different ages (I’m serious, from the teens up through the 80s) that regularly come in and sit on the ground with me, and we SMILE about it!  My wonderful, dear, adoring husband can’t do that!! (I am working on him folks, I’m working on him!) According to the CDC, this goes against the standard!

I ask you this, which is better, incorporating a beautiful, challenging yet relaxing physical program into your life that can help you maintain mobility despite the ravages of time, or maintaining status quo and becoming a number in the hip replacement statistic?  Of course, practicing yoga can’t guarantee you will never have any health issues or replacements, but I can promise you that with a regular yoga practice, you will be able to gain (or regain) mobility that you thought was gone forever. When you bring a regular yoga practice into your life, you will experience more energy, deeper breaths, even more, strength than you thought you would ever be able to accomplish.  Along the way, with a regular yoga practice here at Thrive, you will even even create relationships with new friends along the way to help encourage and motivate you on your wellness journey.

If you are thinking about yoga, or if you are tired of being tired and sore, and stiff every day, I invite you to come check us out today.  We are conveniently located in the heart of E. Brainerd, near the interstate, shopping mall, and even the back roads to N. Georgia. In as little as one hour a few days a week, you can change your life.  Let us show you how.