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So I was out of yoga practice for a month because I had some toenail issues and was like, “it’ll hurt to do downward dog” because it hurt to wear close-toed shoes after a while. But now my toes are healing up, so I can get back into practice.

I have two DVD’s that I use to do yoga at home. I used to attend classes taught at the recreation center, but since we’ve moved, I’ve done yoga in the living room. I use 10 Minute Solutions Yoga for Beginners and Element AM and PM Yoga for Beginners. I like the 10 Minute Solutions Yoga better because it allows you to customize the workout and the 10 minute segments help make the hour seem like it’s going quickly. The Element DVD contains good workouts, too, but I feel like there’s too much downward dog in them. Downward dog is my least favorite pose. I’d rather hold a plank for five minutes without using my knees than do a bunch of downward dogs in thirty minutes or an hour.

I just cannot do a downward dog the right way. I am just physically incapable of doing it. Somehow I ended up with short hamstrings and years of yoga have made me more flexible, but not that much more.  I once had a substitute yoga instructor who was going around and helping people get into poses and when she tried to help me pull my bottom up higher I said “ow!” I couldn’t do it. And forget about putting my heels on the ground while in the pose. My regular teachers knew I just couldn’t hold the pose and knew enough to not try to force me into it. I talked to them when I joined their classes so they knew I was the one who needed modifications.

So I’ll do two or three downward dogs without grumbling, but more than that and I feel like an inflexible yoga failure. I know it’s a basic pose and you can move into all sorts of poses from it and that’s why you’re always doing it, but I don’t like it.

I think the hamstring problem is just something I’ll have to live with. The doctor who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia did tell me that I had really short hamstrings, and I have always been inflexible. I remember distinctly that when we’d do the President’s Physical Fitness test in elementary school, and I couldn’t stretch very far the gym teacher was like, wow, girls can usually do that. I have one sister who also does yoga and she has trouble with her hamstrings, too. I can’t touch my toes without bending my knees. I have never been able to do that. I can’t do a stick pose without bending my knees, and I think I could yoga every day and still never be able to do that. The only time I groan when I’m doing yoga is when the instructor says “This will feel so great in your hamstrings” because I know it won’t feel good for them at all.

At least this time the issue is not because of my fibro! That make me feel a little better.

It really does help me feel less pain in my body when I do the yoga a few times a week. I also do exercise that is supposed to be low impact–bicycling and walking–but they’re not always so low impact when you have fibromyalgia, so sometimes yoga is all that’s going to work. So I press on through those downward dogs and try to focus on what’s good about my workouts.

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