Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The top of the cliche list

I've been practicing yoga seriously since the beginning of the year. Perhaps understandably, I now notice references to yoga quite frequently. But it's not just me. I got back from a yoga weekend Sunday evening to see this article on The Group News Blog. Surely this means that yoga and that other subject beginning with Z have hit the top of the cliche list.

The same event was covered in the New York Times; I thought the comments were hilarious.

Labels: ,

Monday, September 17, 2007

Danger! Knowledge workers pay heed!


My NU students from last year will remember that I was in bad health then -- it was pretty obvious. At one point I could not sit, stand, or lie down without pain, which made it difficult to sleep, work or enjoy myself. You may imagine how debilitating that was.

My bad health was a product of three separate problems, which I won't detail. I have been treated for all, with some success, to the point that one of my colleagues today said I was in a "suspiciously" good humor. I like to think I'm normally like that, but who knows...

The reason for this blog post is to bring to the attention of students and colleagues -- all of whom are or hope to be "knowledge workers," and do or may sit for hours at a time -- to the terrible fate that awaits them if they don't take simple measures now. It's called "bad back." It should really be called "weak core muscles resulting from restricted activity."

On top of more exotic maladies I had just got too immobile, leaving my older and less flexible spine insufficiently supported by my too-weak torso and hip muscles. It crept up on me; I'm hardly the most sedentary person you know.

Since about January I've been doing yoga, following a TV program on "Channel One -- Body Mind and Spirit" (home also of programs on "The Other Side" and the newer but now infamous "Bollywood Workout") which spares me driving to an in-person class. The program is called Living Yoga and has done me a world of good; especially after I bought the two DVDs sold by the same teacher.

More recently I have been recommended the anti-pain program of Pete Egoscue. His on-line presence puts me off a bit, but his book Pain-free at your PC (in the NU library) is very sensible. His approach is based on the idea that modern conveniences allow people to adopt a more and more restrictive range of movement, with the result that muscle groups both get weak and fall out of balance. If the balance is corrected through simple exercise, and balance is maintained, the pain goes away without drugs, surgery, or expensive new furniture.

The Egoscue Method is entirely consistent with the yogic view of the body, and some of his exercises are very familiar, but he has a few non-yoga exercises that have done me a lot of good in a short time.

So there. I've done my duty. Please think about this issue before you have to think about it!

Labels: , ,