Increase flexibility, breath and blood flow with gentle yoga

Ray Smith, center, co-owner of NorthStar Fitness on the north side of Richmond Square, leads a class of chair yoga in stretching neck muscles while practicing deep breathing. The chair yoga class is great for those who have limited mobility or who have difficulty getting up and down on the floor. NorthStar has a variety of yoga classes and times suitable for men and women over the age of 50. (Photo by Liz Johnson/Richmond News)

By Liz Johnson, Richmond News Staff Writer – Living 50-Plus

I lifted weights for more than 10 years, proud of my muscular arms, legs and back. Combined with a very active 22-year career in the supermarket industry, I felt great, healthy, flexible and superhuman at times.

It all came crashing down on me 20 years ago with the onset of fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome. The workouts suddenly stopped. I wasn’t sleeping, and I endured surgery on one wrist at a time and was out of work for a year. My active lifestyle had ceased cold turkey.

The only thing I could do was walk – three miles a day for that entire year I was out of work. I didn’t recover well from the surgeries and had constant pain, so returning to weightlifting was not going to be an option.

As for the fibromyalgia, I pushed through the pain in order to keep my position with the company I worked for.

One day, I discovered yoga after seeing a Jane Fonda advertisement. I purchased her tape and began practicing, taking it easy on poses that might aggravate my still-painful wrists.

I began to feel better. My joints no longer ached. I became flexible once again and the deep breathing eased the stress of my job.

The complete story is in the Living 50-Plus section of the Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 Richmond News.

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