The YOGI M.D. Podcast

A Yoga Practice at the Kitchen Counter to Improve Balance

Episode Summary

According to a Harvard Health Publishing article, certain medications affect your balance (anti-depressants, heart medications, blood pressure lowering medications, diabetes medications…to name a few). More medications mean more side effects, increasing the risk of falling. This is especially worse in elders, whose bodies metabolize drugs differently with age. Adults over 65 have been reported to take at least three prescription medications in a month! This information inspired this practice with my students - in a chair and at your kitchen counter… Be sure to wear comfortable clothes, practice in your sturdy shoes or bare feet (be safe!), and have water available to stay hydrated.

Episode Notes

YOGA PRACTICE FOR BALANCE IN YOUR KITCHEN

EVIDENCE:

According to a Harvard Health Publishing article, certain medications affect your balance (anti-depressants, heart medications, blood pressure lowering medications, diabetes medications…to name a few). More medications mean more side effects, increasing the risk of falling. This is especially worse in elders, whose bodies metabolize drugs differently with age.  Adults over 65 have been reported to take at least three prescription medications in a month!

PRACTICAL TIPS - Talk to your internal medicine or family practice doctor about your medications both prescription and non-prescription to make sure everything is up to date.

This information inspired this practice with my students - in a chair and at your kitchen counter… Be sure to wear comfortable clothes, practice in your sturdy shoes or bare feet (be safe!), and have water available to stay hydrated.

BREATH WORK - Sit in mountain pose (feet flat on the floor and parallel to each other, knees over ankles, hips under shoulders, back straight, shoulders relaxed, top of head touching the ceiling, and your head suspended over the center of your pelvis with your eyes straight ahead). Breathe in and out through your nose for a few moments. Notice …without judgment…your physical, mental, emotional, and energetic sensations.  (pause)  Notice the gentle rise and fall of your abdomen and your chest as you breathe in and out, respectively.  (pause)  Place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest. Imagine a tear drop shaped balloon surrounding your abdomen and chest, tied between your collar bones. As you inhale, fill your balloon from its widest part in your abdomen up to your chest. As you exhale, deflate your balloon from chest to abdomen, drawing your navel in towards your spine.  (pause).

Let go of your balloon and place your hands on your lap. Set your intention for practice today by filling in the blank at the end of this sentence…”I am…” Inhale your intention and exhale to let it go.

WARM UP

Neck Stretches - Rotate your head in one direction 3-5 times then change directions 3-5 times.

Place your fingertips on your shoulders and using the elbows as paintbrushes, make circles backwards 5-10 times, then forward 5- 10 times.

Lengthen your arms by your sides and turn your palms forward. Touch your shoulders with your fingers as you inhale and exhale to lengthen your arms, 10 times.

Bring both arms to shoulder height straight ahead with palms facing each other.

Open your arms to the sides on the inhale stretching your chest and exhale palms together, stretching your between your shoulder blades, 5-10 times.

Lift both arms to the ceiling with the arms parallel and palms facing each other on the inhale, and exhale hands to lap, 5-10 times.

Interlace your fingers and reaching for the ceiling, pressing your palms upwards.  Inhale to sit tall.  Exhale. Inhale and stretch from hip to hand to the right into side bend, looking up at the ceiling away from your side bend. Exhale to straighten. Inhale to the left, looking away from your side bend to the right at the ceiling.  If interlaced hands are uncomfortable, then place your fingertips on your shoulders and lift elbows to ceiling. Perform 5-10 per side.

With your hands on the lap and feet wider than hip width apart, rotate your torso in one direction, keeping your head and neck in line with the spine 5-10 times, then change directions 5-10 times. Exhale and squeeze the navel to spine when leaning forward and inhale when leaning back.

With your hands on your lap and feet back to mountain pose, round your back like a cat on the exhale, looking toward your navel. then look up at the ceiling while lifting your chest and squeezing your shoulder blades together on the inhale, 5-10 times.

Sit straight with the feet flat, rock the feet forward and back, balls to heels 10-20 times, rock the feet away from one another 10-20 times, then rock the feet side to side like windshield wipers 10-20 times.

Inhale and reach both arms to ceiling and exhale to hug the right knee into the chest. Be sure to keep your back from rounding and sit tall and shoulders relaxed away from your ears. Inhale to lift arms to ceiling and exhale to hug the left knee into the chest.  Repeat 5-10 times per side.

Bend your elbows by your sides and twist side to side, exhaling as you twist and turning your head in the same direction as the twist. Inhale out of the twist. Repeat 5-10 times per side.

SUN SALUTATIONS

PART ONE

Stand in front of the kitchen counter, in mountain pose with both hands resting lightly on the countertop.

Inhale right arm overhead to upward salute.

Exhale to the left, stretching the right side of your body.

Inhale to upward salute.

Exhale right hand to counter.

Inhale left arm overhead upward salute.

Exhale to the right, stretching the left side of your body.

Inhale to upward salute.

Exhale left hand to counter.

Inhale both arms up and exhale as you hinge at your hips and walk back to half fold (arms straight, hands on counter, back flat, head between your upper arms). Make sure your legs are straight and your abdominal and quadricep muscles are engaged.

Inhale to walk forward, lift your arms to upward salute.

Exhale hands to counter.

Repeat steps 1-12, 3-10 times.

PART TWO

From mountain pose with your hands on the counter, exhale to step your left foot way back, keeping the left heel pointing up at the ceiling, and bending the right knee over the ankle. Don’t let your knee go past your toes! Don’t worry if it takes you time to get your left foot back.

Inhale in right lunge and lift the right arm to ceiling.

Exhale as you bring your right hand back to the counter, hinge at your hips and step your right foot back so that it is next to your left foot to half fold (arms straight, hands on counter, back flat, head between your upper arms). Make sure your legs are straight and your abdominal and quadricep muscles are engaged.

Inhale to step the left foot forward, knee over ankle, right leg engaged and pressing through a lifted heel, lifting your left hand at the very end of the inhale.

Exhale as you bring your left hand back to the counter and hinge at your hips and step back to half fold (arms straight, hands on counter, back flat, head between your upper arms). Make sure your legs are straight and your abdominal and quadricep muscles are engaged.

Inhale to walk forward, then lift both arms to the ceiling in upward salute.

Exhale hands to counter, mountain pose.

Repeat steps 1-7, except start with stepping the right foot back first.

BALANCE PRACTICE

Front snap kicks - Stand so that your left side is next to the counter. Inhale and shift your weight to your left leg and lift your right foot off of the floor so that your thigh is parallel to the floor. Exhale to bend your knee, push through your heel, curl your toes into your shin, straightening your leg without locking your knee and inhale to release that leg and put the right foot down on the floor. Make sure your upper body remains still (don’t rock back.). Repeat ten times.

Face your counter and inhale to upward salute and exhale hands to counter.

Change sides.

RELAX

Sit in a chair and breathe quietly for a few moments, observing physical, mental, emotional, and energetic sensations without judgment.

MEDITATE

Sit in mountain pose with your hands resting on your lap with your palms up. Focus on the movement of your breath in and out of your nostrils. If your mind wanders (this is normal), gently bring your focus back to your breath. (one minute).

Namaste…