As we close out 2016 and enter a new year, I wanted to share how my movement, yoga, and self care routines have evolved and what is working very well for me at this time. People ask me all the time, how do I exercise with a 13 level spinal fusion? Yoga ? How ???? Well, it's not easy and can require a high level of mindfulness and self care ...
At 41, my body requires a new level of movement and mindfulness. After about a year of experimentation, I have developed a routine that works well for me now. This will probably evolve again in another year or more, but this program is therapeutic, efficient, and is multi-modality. I don't feel bored with it and it moves quickly!
First, I do not attend any public group classes (yoga, barre, etc etc) anymore. I've just found that my body has become too particular and sensitive, and requires too many modifications for group classes. So I'm saving my money, and doing everything in my home. I spend about 30 minutes to an hour with this in the morning, and I like to get up about an hour before the family so it works for my schedule.
1. I begin on my yoga mat centering, breathing, and welcoming myself into the day. It is usually still dark so I might light a candle or two and sprinkle some essential oils around. I'm not much for listening to music anymore, so many times I will play a podcast of something inspiring or of interest as I begin to move. I am into The Liturgists, On Being, Bliss and Grit, and The Deconstructionist Podcast right now.
2. I move organically for about 15-20 minutes. These days this looks like my variation on the Bowspring Method. I like using the Bowspring because it really fires up my lower body, glutes, and hip stabilizers which are key to low back health. My heart rate is usually up and my legs and glutes are working hard, yet it is still a mindfulness practice. I have to really be in my body to do this right! Don't let the curves of the bowspring throw you, it's a directionality more than an appearance. Bowspring takes some work! Here is an example of my work with the Bowspring and how I'm adapting it to fit my fusion ( I am fused T3-L3 ).
3. I then pick up my 3 lb weights and move through a series of upper body resistance training. Triceps, biceps, and shoulders. I have to be careful not to overdue this as my upper back and neck flare up VERY easily. No overhead lifting. 3 -4 sets of 10 with little breaks, and good form is the key. This maybe takes another 10 -15 minutes. I'll throw in a minute - 2 minute plank and side plank (left side only for my scoliosis) for good measure!
4. If I still have time, or if my body feels like it, I will do some resistance flexibility exercises.
5. Finally, a brief rest using the posture pump for my cervical spine. I LOVE this thing! Don't pump past 2 pumps when you first use it and I would not recommend this with a cervical fusion. Make sure you are physician clear for cervical traction. I've made the mistake of pumping too much and it leaves me a bit sore. Moderation these days is the key.
Give it a try ! Let me know how you are doing and what you are doing these days to take care of your body, mind, and spirit.