Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Yesterday was a great day! My massage therapist gave me some super news, I had some relaxing shopping time with my sister, and enjoyed an hour long walk with the dog in the evening. But I need to give you some history before I tell you what my massage therapist told me that was so great.
3 months ago I had a massage. My massage therapist gave me some shocking news: in my mid 40's I was developing a hunched back with accompanying scoliosis. Although I knew my back was stiff and tight, I never realized it was that bad! I asked her the question burning in my mind: "Can I reverse the damage?" The answer: "I think so, but it will be hard work". That was just what I needed to hear. I have never been one to shrink away from a challenge, and this time it was my body giving the challenge, making my response vital to my own future. I also realized that this challenge would last longer than just until the damage was reversed. It would and will involve diligence and hard work for the rest of my life in order to live as pain free and stay mobile as long as possible.
Since that massage 3 months ago my daily walks have increased gradually from 20 minutes to about an hour, always followed by a half hour yoga session (I use a DVD). The increased activity followed immediately by targeted yoga stretching has been life-giving to me. I would (and do!) encourage anyone who is remotely interested to give yoga a try. Cardio is crucial, but should be followed by stretching. I never understood that fully before, but I sure do now! I don't subscribe to the Eastern religions that sometimes accompany yoga, but I definitely appreciate the increased flexibility and strength that comes with regular yoga practice.
The benefits have gone far and beyond strength & flexibility though. My mental health has benefited greatly from the yoga and fresh air & exercise as well. Spring is our busiest season for my husband and me (we own a small business), and in past years I have literally lost sleep worrying over / thinking through aspects of our business. Not this year. I slept well every night through the busy season. Those daily walks are an opportunity to work off built up stress and think through the issues of the day. Yoga also helps with focus and mental clarity. I have learned that first hand as well. In regards to relationships, the lowered stress levels have helped me enjoy family & friends more.
Before I sign off for the day, I must add that the determination displayed by other SparkPeople has been rubbing off on me. I believe I CAN accomplish better health, a healthier weight, and more endurance and stamina. I believe this because of the wonderful encouragement of others who have had huge obstacles and blasted right through them. Other Sparkers have proved the power of that first positive step, followed by another, then a third... all the way to the health they were searching for. I will continue this journey to health. It's not about perfection, it's about continuing improvement, never giving up.