By Paula Hamilton



Featuring Susan Winter Ward
Yoga For The Young At Heart Series

I really like Susan Winter Ward. Maybe it's her yoga style, maybe it's the strength, health and vibrancy she exudes, maybe it's just nice to see a confident, beautiful woman who has graying hair, or maybe it's that she does a really nice Hatha Yoga workout.

Whatever the reason, I am sure yoga enthusiasts will like this 40- minute video that fills a much needed void. Namely, a yoga session that you can do from a chair. One that's designed to counteract the dreaded malady facing most office workers "creeping chair spread". You know, that fatigued feeling you get from sitting all day and that spread out look that gravity causes, making our thighs and bottoms take on the pear shaped look which is great for diamonds, but terrible for body shapes.

The tape is patterned after the cassette of the same ilk and name. Thankfully, for we visual learners, someone has taken pity on us and made it into a video. I liked the workout and the stretches were truly invigorating.

The tape is segmented into sections: Breathing (this alone felt great); Head, Neck and Shoulders; Hands and Wrists (excellent for carpal tunnel); Arms and Upper Back; Hips and Lower Back; Hamstrings and Forward Bend; Abdominal; Feet (this is glorious) and ends with Meditation.

If you are fortunate enough to be an employee of a progressive company who has a corporate fitness center, or just high enough in the chain to have your own office (with privacy) and a one-hour lunch break, this may even be something you could do at work. Though, I would recommend bringing a change of clothes! At least, leave the heels and skirt behind. Unfortunately, if you are a cubicle dweller, I'd wait until you get home.

Most companies find maternity leave a challenge, paternity leave is out in the ozone, and yoga from your desk? Well, put it this way, they want you fit (read, less sick days) but just don't do it on their time. Besides, why turn on the office pervert. As far as an exercise program for the disabled or physically challenged is concerned, honestly it would depend greatly on exactly what your disability is. For instance, several exercises would require weight-bearing ability, and balance control. Most require full range of motion in the upper and lower extremities. For some people this would not be possible. If, however you are looking for a low-impact exercise program that would assist in reconditioning, this may be ideal. Again, it would depend on your limitations and endurance. But, as with any exercise program, you have to build up to it. What you can't do the first twenty times, you may be able to do the twenty-first time. Go slow and ease into it.

Whenever I have had questions or concerns about exercises (as in the months that followed last years motor vehicle accident, where my back was weak and I wanted to avoid further injury), I asked my chiropractor to review the tape. I then followed his recommendations, and avoided those exercises he deemed unwise. If you travel a lot, sitting in a car, or airplane; take this with you to your hotel. It will keep you fit and as a bonus it will fill up your time so you don't get into trouble. Well produced and edited, it is easy to follow and flows along. Try it, you'll like it. More good yoga stuff from Susan Winter Ward!

For more information call 1 (800) 558- YOGA (or 9642 for those of you who hate to spell).


Featuring Susan Winter Ward
Yoga For The Young At Heart Series

Next to Yoga and Herbalism, another favorite subject of mine is Women's Health; especially Women's Reproductive Health. For far too long menopause has been a taboo subject. Men didn't understand or want to hear about it; and still don't. Other women would freeze if it was discussed publicly.

And those going through it felt alone, confused and ripped off. Society was telling them they were finished as a female sex object; nature was telling them it's time to give away the stored-up baby things, and their bodies were doing frightening and unusual things that left them standing at the pharmacy with a prescription for estrogen and a bottle of vaginal lubricant.

Well, it need not be anymore. Thanks to women like Dr. Christiane Northrup; the many beautiful, vibrant and sexy post-menopausal Hollywood women of today; Susan Winter Ward and many others. Menopause is a point on the cycle of life, not the period ending a woman's life sentence! The horrible agony of loneliness, fear and misinformation of even a decade ago can end today. This tape is a great place to start.

Yoga's many documented health benefits include: increased strength and flexibility, a balanced endocrine system, balanced nervous system, increased bone strength (due to the fact it is a weight-bearing exercise, which increases bone density), decreased fatigue and increased immune system function. But some of the best benefits yoga provides for women are: calmer mind, massage of the reproductive organs, easing of pelvic congestion and decrease of headaches and mood swings.

Joined with the vast array of herbal compounds that are designed to assist the female reproductive system, and books by people such as Dr. Northrup, menopause can finally be the natural, transitional change that it was meant to be.

Susan Ward's video is fantastic. She presents a one-hour Hatha class with REAL WOMEN (i.e. all shapes, sizes and conditions). They ease in gently and ease out gently and the session is not difficult to do even for a beginner. Just go easy on yourself and stick with it. Many alternate poses are presented as well; use them if you need to, your body will tell you if you do. The tape ends with extremely gentle restorative poses that are demonstrated by a much older woman. (Three cheers!)

If you have ever been afraid to try Yoga, or have thought you are too old, too out of shape, too whatever to do it, please reconsider. This tape won't bite, I promise. The benefits are too numerous to mention and women need a special place inside themselves where they can go and be affirmed, be nurtured and be OK with who and what they are.

Don't do menopause alone, not in this society! Allow yourself to be nurtured, be brave. It's natures way of saying "You are done pleasing everyone else, now go please yourself. What do you want to do, who do you want to be?" Menopause is an opportunity. Learn Yoga, it won't let you down, and will serve you well. I give it two thumbs up and a high five.

For more information call 1 (800) 558-9642.


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