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  1. #1
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Yoga - not the answer for everyone 50+

    It is snowing heavily and I am bored, so here is a controversial topic to wake folks up a bit.

    I frequently see Yoga espoused by folks as practically the answer to all of life's problems (or at least some of them).

    Is that true?

    A couple of recent articles dispute this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandsty...amage-body-row


    The offending article, which appeared across several pages of the paper's prestigious Sunday magazine (New York Times), was written by senior science writer William Broad. In it, he alleged that students and even "celebrated teachers" were injuring themselves "in droves" by over-ambitious and under-taught yoga moves.

    He also quoted at length the views of local yoga veteran Glenn Black, who seriously hurt his back after years of practice. According to Black, "the vast majority of people should give up yoga altogether" because it's too likely to cause them serious damage.



    How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/ma...pagewanted=all


    ... a growing body of medical evidence supports Black’s contention that, for many people, a number of commonly taught yoga poses are inherently risky. The first reports of yoga injuries appeared decades ago, published in some of the world’s most respected journals — among them, Neurology, The British Medical Journal and The Journal of the American Medical Association. The problems ranged from relatively mild injuries to permanent disabilities. In one case, a male college student, after more than a year of doing yoga, decided to intensify his practice. He would sit upright on his heels in a kneeling position known as vajrasana for hours a day, chanting for world peace. Soon he was experiencing difficulty walking, running and climbing stairs.

    ===================================================================================

    Yoga does not work for me, as my body does not, in any way, respond. My PT says I am naturally "tight" - she has been unable to loosen me up, despite daily stretching.

    Actually, I detest Yoga.

    So, to liven up a snowy cold morning . . .
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  2. #2
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    What was the question?


    I used to do Bikram yoga, but the instructors once almost had me rip a cruciate ligament in my knees to shreds, so I won't do it anymore. I'm sure it has it's place, though.

  3. #3
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    What was the question?
    "I frequently see Yoga espoused by folks as practically the answer to all of life's problems (or at least some of them).

    Is that true?"
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  4. #4
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I do some yoga and the problem is that it's not a power move. One of the reasons I quit a pilates course is that the instructor was a push push push type. She used to say things like "This should really burn." or "This never gets easier." Yes, some people seem to think it's all anyone needs to solve their problems. They seem to me to be "You should try to be more like me." People as well.

    DnvrFox: You have stretching in your sig. Yoga doesn't have to be any different.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Yoga? Isn't he the one that steals the pick-a-nick baskets?

  6. #6
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Yoga is good for everyone who listens to their instructor when they are taught to "listen to your body". It's called practice for a reason. Everyone is at a different point. Learning to breathe and focus your mind are key elements. Yoga is about being present.

    Obviously overly large classes with questionable instructors is dangerous when combined with hyper-competitive neophytes. Like many physical activities people bring a weekend warrior mentality. This is the antithesis of what yoga is about.

  7. #7
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    I think it boils down to having a good yoga instructor and using common sense.

    "He would sit upright on his heels in a kneeling position known as vajrasana for hours a day, chanting for world peace." Kneeling for hours a day? This would hurt whether you were in a yoga pose or not.

    All of the yoga instructors I've had have mentioned that if a pose hurts or is uncomfortable, don't do it. I currently take a restorative yoga class once a week and the instructor gives a couple of variations for each pose so that they are comfortable for everyone.

    There are some poses I won't do, such as plow and wheel, because they put pressure on my back and neck. But they don't seem to bother the super-flexible lady on the mat next to me. If yoga doesn't work for you, don't do it. But that doesn't mean it doesn't work for other people.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    It is snowing heavily and I am bored, so here is a controversial topic to wake folks up a bit.

    I frequently see Yoga espoused by folks as practically the answer to all of life's problems (or at least some of them).

    Is that true?...
    Yoga does not work for me, as my body does not, in any way, respond. My PT says I am naturally "tight" - she has been unable to loosen me up, despite daily stretching.

    Actually, I detest Yoga.

    So, to liven up a snowy cold morning . . .
    I am with you on this. I too am extremely tight and nothing has made a difference. Interestingly, just this morning my wife (who likes yoga) and I went to a new spinning/yoga class at the gym - 45 minutes of spinning followed by 45 minutes of yoga. I stayed for the yoga session this morning to appease the wife but I did not enjoy it and will skip it if we go again. Probably worth pointing out that my extreme tightness has been lifelong and hasn't interfered with life activities. I played roller hockey into my late 50s, ski (snow and water) snowboard, windsurf, scuba, walk and ride. Never had an injury I would attribute to my lack of flexibility although I suspect I would have been a lousy stunt man or special ops soldier.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Yoga? Isn't he the one that steals the pick-a-nick baskets?
    No, he was the catcher for the Yankees.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tony2v's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    Yoga is good for everyone who listens to their instructor when they are taught to "listen to your body". It's called practice for a reason. Everyone is at a different point. Learning to breathe and focus your mind are key elements. Yoga is about being present.

    Obviously overly large classes with questionable instructors is dangerous when combined with hyper-competitive neophytes. Like many physical activities people bring a weekend warrior mentality. This is the antithesis of what yoga is about.
    My teachers also remind us to modify if the pose is too hard. I been practicing yoga for seven years, I go to Vinyasa class twice a week and have a weekly private Pilates session.
    The key to my practice is to listen to my body, but I do push to a point of discomfort, but never to pain.

  11. #11
    Senior Member locolobo13's Avatar
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    From the article:

    "...she had to lie at an odd angle so the next student did not have his feet in her face."

    The moral of the story is don't take any class where the next student puts his/her feet in your face.

  12. #12
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Yoga and I get along like oil and water. We don't mix it up together. Tried a number of times, but I'll leave yoga to others.
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
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  13. #13
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee View Post
    Yoga and I get along like oil and water. We don't mix it up together. Tried a number of times, but I'll leave yoga to others.
    Those that have the body/joints/whatever to be successful in Yoga believe that, because it works fine for them, it should work fine for everyone else,and is the panacea for all problems, and if we don't like it, or do well at it well, there is something wrong with us or our teacher or whatever.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  14. #14
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Those that have the body/joints/whatever to be successful in Yoga believe that, because it works fine for them, it should work fine for everyone else,and is the panacea for all problems, and if we don't like it, or do well at it well, there is something wrong with us or our teacher or whatever.
    Yep, I've been on the receiving end of that several times. Wish I was more flexible, but I'm not. And yoga didn't help.
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  15. #15
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    My wife and I have private lessons with our yoga teacher every week. She knows I'm a cyclist so tailors the exercises for what I need.
    I also use this to help me.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  16. #16
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Those that have the body/joints/whatever to be successful in Yoga believe that, because it works fine for them, it should work fine for everyone else,and is the panacea for all problems, and if we don't like it, or do well at it well, there is something wrong with us or our teacher or whatever.
    We get people on here all the time that can't believe someone can ride more than a mile without huffing, puffing, and puking. We all encourage that person to keeping riding and stick it out and "it" will come. Those that persevere do so at their own pace and take to their desired level OR QUIT. Quitting is always an option

    Lastly, I think there are very few 50+ that think anything is the panacea for all problems.

  17. #17
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    We get people on here all the time that can't believe someone can ride more than a mile without huffing, puffing, and puking. We all encourage that person to keeping riding and stick it out and "it" will come. Those that persevere do so at their own pace and take to their desired level OR QUIT. Quitting is always an option

    Lastly, I think there are very few 50+ that think anything is the panacea for all problems.
    Err . . . Again, the attitude tht somehow not doing Yoga makes one a quitter.

    I don't eat hot mexican sauces, either - they hurt my tongue. I guess that also makes me a hot sauce quitter. Is there such a thing as "Yoga snobbism"?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Yoga has been a disaster for my wife. Following the direction/instruction of a series of "more qualified, better trained, more highly educated" instructors has not been the panacea each had promised. While I understand that there are good teachers and bad teachers, how is one to discern the difference? Each instructor to which she was sent was touted as being better than the previous. Yet, none could fully appreciate the unique challenges her body faces from massive doses of radiation as one of the first child survivors of renal cell carcinoma. All were absolutely sure that they could provide relief to a body damaged by radiation therapy delivered at a time when such therapy was very much in the experimental stage. I can understand the excitement and enthusiasm one feels when finding a discipline that brings benefit to his or her life. I do not, however, understand or appreciate the too often seen "Oh, this will work for you. Just listen to your body." comments by those presenting themselves as highly knowledgeable. When your body's neurological system is not capable of providing information to which one could listen, such comments are flippant expressions of, "Oh, it's your fault if it's not working for you." I imagine by this time you detect the residual anger and frustration that still lingers.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  19. #19
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Obviously it's each to their own, YRMV.

    My wife has been doing yoga for about 10 years on and off and when she's on she is easier to get along with.

    My experience was that it was interesting. Laying there breathing, slowly stretching and waking up the next morning with face muscles and others that I didn't even know I had going "What did YOU do to me?!!"
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
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    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Err . . . Again, the attitude tht somehow not doing Yoga makes one a quitter.

    I don't eat hot mexican sauces, either - they hurt my tongue. I guess that also makes me a hot sauce quitter. Is there such a thing as "Yoga snobbism"?
    Well, sure. There's snobs about most things. (many forums here as evidence)

    I re-read NOS88 post and I think the problem is the cancer treatments are so toxic and powerful that nothing can really mitigate them. My wife was a recovering cancer patient post-treatment when she started Yoga. It was a very gentle way for her to regain that body awareness that chemo can destroy.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    If I gotta look up words, it's not worth my time.

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    Is yoga a exercise or religion?

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Well, sure. There's snobs about most things. (many forums here as evidence)

    I re-read NOS88 post and I think the problem is the cancer treatments are so toxic and powerful that nothing can really mitigate them. My wife was a recovering cancer patient post-treatment when she started Yoga. It was a very gentle way for her to regain that body awareness that chemo can destroy.
    Actually Tai Chi has provided a level of relief not found in other approaches. She got lucky.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  23. #23
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony2v View Post
    My teachers also remind us to modify if the pose is too hard. I been practicing yoga for seven years, I go to Vinyasa class twice a week and have a weekly private Pilates session.
    The key to my practice is to listen to my body, but I do push to a point of discomfort, but never to pain.
    I take yoga from an Iyengar teacher who has been thinking very hard since those articles came out. First, he always tells us to not go farther or more intensely than our body likes. Like my PT who said I could bike while in rotator cuff therapy as long as I don't cause the injury any pain. He also starts the class by going around the room to see who has what discomforts and issues that day, and then gives special cautions on some positions to specific individuals - in my case on lower back and on hamstring tightness.

    he's eliminated several types of inversions and modified them for less stress on the neck, and always teaches fine points that are intended to minimize stressing. He says part of this is due to his Iyengar orientation, and some is due to having taught for several decades. He's trying hard.

    Regarding 50+ or even 50+++++ yoga, I've been doing some chair positions at work to help my neck and keep more alert, counteracting the effects of my unresolvably poor computer screen position. I invented one that I use surrepticiously while on stage in long choral concerts like Handel's Messiah, to gain some rest while standing. I've been thinking about trying to teach some very simple things to the people at my mother in-law's adult foster care, like elevating the chest and rotating the shoulder blades toward the chest combined with mild breathing (I know, sounds irrational, but then you should try a voice lesson!) for them. But these are extremely sedentary people - some are wheelchair-bound. My wife's mom at 92 is the most agile of the bunch - a terror with her Rollator!

    One comment he made - it is easy for an advanced practitioner of asanas to become too loosened, and that tendons that are too loose don't stabilize the joints as they should. Yoga has eight limbs, and asanas are only one. Ethics and reduction of ego are among the others. He said it should be hard because you should find the limits you may live within, so you can grow in that space.

    I wonder if long-windedness is a side effect of yoga?

  24. #24
    Slogging along rubic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
    No, he was the catcher for the Yankees.
    I see what you did there. Yogi Berra.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    Err . . . Again, the attitude tht somehow not doing Yoga makes one a quitter.

    I don't eat hot mexican sauces, either - they hurt my tongue. I guess that also makes me a hot sauce quitter. Is there such a thing as "Yoga snobbism"?
    yes, there can be yoga snobbism, just as in cycling or lovers of Denver's fantastic Hispanic cuisine. But if something is harmful, quitting can be wise - spend your time where it's well-spent. But similarly, if it doesn't meet your expectations, perhaps they were too high in the first place. Why were they too high? Well, that can get complicated - believing an advertiser is inherently risky, and how many sole businessmen are not advertisers? But believing perhaps because you heard what you wanted to - we've all done that and learned by fits and starts, perhaps. "fool me twice ... "

    And btw, I'm not sure I interpret Big Aura's comment as you do.

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