April 14, 2015

Yoga IS For Everyone! by Maureen Littlefield

If you are 65 or older, with one or more joint replacements, you may think YOGA is not for you.
Consider my story:

     It begins when I first started to walk and my parents noticed I walked with a limp. My left leg was smaller and shorter than the right leg. Years of traction, braces, and physical therapy did not make me better. The Physicians did not know what was wrong. My parents had Pulmonary Tuberculosis and there were no cures in the early fifties and they passed away. When I was nine, my mother’s sister and her husband took me in their home, and my brother and sister went to other relatives. In those days no one could afford to take all three of us and raise us together. My Aunt Ruth, who I loved very much, took me to the University of Illinois where they said I had Tuberculosis of the left hip joint. My siblings did not contract the disease and I see it as fortunate that it settled in my hip and not in my lungs as I would not be here now.
When I was 15yrs old, my entire hip joint was removed and replaced with a portion of my fibula bone which is called a hip fusion. After 2yrs of medicinal treatment and the surgery my TB was gone. That hip fusion served me well for 31yrs, but the down side was that all of my muscles on the left side from the knee to lower back shriveled up
due to lack of use. So, in 1993 at the age of 47, they took down the fusion and put in a new artificial hip joint. What a joy this was as after much therapy I could ride a bike, bend over and tie my shoes and do many other everyday tasks.

     So, this brings me to the present. In 2012, at the age of 65, I had a left knee replacement and I was told “you need YOGA”.  This is not a direction in which I would have gone for exercise as I did not know or understand the value of YOGA. Now, after three years of taking YOGA classes, at least three to four times a week, my strength, flexibility and peace of mind have greatly improved. I had then and still have the good fortune to have Tracy Von Kaenel as my YOGA instructor. Tracy’s YOGA community is energetic, warm and supportive. She consistently brings a creative skill to each class (no two classes are alike) and more importantly she mentors each of us individually according to our need. She walks around the studio during class observing and making suggestions to modify our YOGA practice to our benefit.

     I am grateful for the progress I have made, in spite of many limitations, thanks to the unfailing skill, encouragement and good cheer Tracy brings to each class.