Exercise needed: Growing old gratefully... but a little grace wouldn't hurt either
November 5, 2012 10:03 AM   Subscribe

I'd like recommendations for books, sites, or online or downloadable videos for gentle yoga or similar exercises for increasing flexibility, that I can do at home, starting at rank-beginner level.

Age is catching up with me, and I notice with alarm that I'm way more stiff and physically inflexible than I used to be (also fatter, now that work means a lot of butt in chair time, and I'm not able to take long walks every day -- but I don't expect this to fix that).

However, I've been lucky and I don't have back, knee, neck, etc, problems even though people 20 years younger are complaining of such things. I'm so grateful that I don't have any chronic pain like that... and I'd rather not borrow any by attempting overambitious or ill-advised positions or repetitions!

I just want to spend maybe a half-hour every day (should be more, and I may opt for more, but I want to be realistic about what I will actually follow through with) with a gentle routine focused on flexibility that I can do in a small space, without equipment other than a mat and maybe small barbells or other small item(s). I'm pretty much starting at zero, and would like to begin with really basic stuff and grow to more/better, without wrecking any part of my body, which has been very, very kind to me, despite myself. I'm not interested in going to a class or gym.

(I also wouldn't mind any similar suggestions for at-or-near-the-desk exercises for during the day.)
posted by taz to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Mobility WOD is my go-to - it's a series of daily videos talking about ways to increase your mobility and flexibility in different parts of your body. It's recommended you just start at the beginning and work forward - each video will give you a specific "assignment." It does assume you have access to a couple of simple tools - a foam roller, a lacrosse ball (get a lacrosse ball! they're GREAT!) and a stretchy band thing and somewhere to tie it.

Here is a video aimed at the problems of sitting too much just as a teaser.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:19 AM on November 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I really like the Beginner's Workout of Wai Lana Yoga.

The focus is more on holding poses than moving through poses, and I find it gentler and easier than Vinyasa yoga, though I adore vinyasa yoga.
posted by zizzle at 11:07 AM on November 5, 2012

Book: A Morning Cup of Yoga
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:25 PM on November 5, 2012

Yoga for Dummies is actually the only yoga-thing I've ever been able to do/understand/maintain. The older edition (I had it in about 2001?) had an 8-week course (4 units that you do for two weeks each), but the newer edition seems only to have the first bit of that. Which is maybe ok, since that's pretty much all I did for about two years. It magically continued to be challenging even as I got stronger/more flexible. Which was nice.

What I liked about it was that it explained how and why to do things - move into and out of this pose in this way this many times because reasons, hold it for 6-8 breaths, that sort of thing. They also explain how not to injure yourself and they have notes next to some poses that say 'Don't do this if you have high blood pressure/neck problems' or 'If your knee hurts when you try this, do it like this instead'. They also present things in a 'this can be whatever you want it to be' sort of way, and let you drive how you want to interact with yoga - mild exercise/flexibility, intense exercise, spiritual practice, relaxation, whatever. They tell you how to make your own routine, how to join poses in a good way (so one type of pose gets compensated for by the next). And it covers things from geriatric chair exercises to ... other stuff I didn't get to, since I never really went off Beginner 1, Part 1.

I totally need to pick it back up again, since I'm currently pre-square-1.
posted by magdalenstreetladies at 12:38 PM on November 5, 2012

posted by scribbler at 7:26 PM on November 5, 2012

Lilias, Yoga and You has been my friend since 1972. Hmm, that's what, 40 years now? Gentle, sensible Hatha yoga. She had a series on PBS in the 1970's that was my intro to yoga and I still practice them today. Here's a link to her books and a link to her DVD's. Hope you find Lilias as helpful as I did!
posted by Lynsey at 2:14 PM on November 6, 2012

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