Sunday, October 11, 2015


Lately I've been having a rough time of it.  I am feeling the despair of a quitter.  Things are not going my way with irritating consistency right now.  My disability problem with my left knee seems to be coming back after all my hard work to correct it.  But, also, with the change in weather my 68 year old body is sounding alarms all over the place--the shoulder, the neck, my good leg, even my chest.  Sometimes I even entertain the thought that I'm 'just too old', whatever that means!  I guess it means I am considering quitting on my health and just letting myself die from self-neglect.

I look at Arthur's you tube video, but then I discount it because I am much older.  I try to talk myself into a better frame of mind, but then my body reminds me of defeat.  So, how can I get out of this funk?  Well, that is what my supportive community is for, but if I never let them know my despair they can not help me.  And....I have to remember those times when I was in this dark place before and managed to get through it.

Life doesn't improve in a steady upward scale toward the coveted goal.  No, it sometimes goes down a slippery slope only to go up again toward the goal.  But, if I don't keep faith and keep working with consistency and fortitude, how do I expect to go back up toward my goal?

It would help to remember those times when I've been on the edge of the black hole before.  Like, when my 21 year old marriage ended with the words from the husband I still loved so much, "I want a divorce".  Wow, was that a roller coaster ride up and down so close to that black hole.  How about the first year of my 26 years of sobriety from alcohol.  That was a toughie.  How about when my daughters didn't want to talk to me for ten years.  Look how close they are to me now!  The abuse in my childhood was no easy ride either.  So, why would I quit on myself now?

So, I am here blogging to remind myself, "Don't you DARE quit on yourself, Kathy!"  Even if I am not able to turn around my disability all the way,  I have to remember there are millions who live with disability.   I mean, did Helen Keller quit?  No, she did not.  She used her many disabilities to better humanity, and she did it with grace and humility.  I am sure she had some bad days near the black hole, but she sucked it up and marched on.  And now, I will too.

If any of you feel like you're close to the black hole, reach out to others who know how to be constructively supportive and gather faith in yourself so you can crawl away from the edge of that black hole.  I'll be crawling away with you.  I mean, after all, we have one of the greatest support groups available to us through DDPY.

Monday, September 14, 2015


I just did my first STAND-UP workout.  I was amazed at how weak my balance is during this particular workout.  I quiver and I shake and I fall and I can't reach the end point of the poses.  Oh well, better roll my sleeves up and practice, practice, practice until my muscles (and brain) gain enough confidence and strength to get the job done!  LOL

Aging, infections (especially ear infections), head injury and many medicines may also result in a balance problem, but I have done of these situations going on, other than aging at 68-1/2 years young.  I read where eating low-salt (low-sodium) or salt-free foods, and steering clear of caffeine and alcohol could help, but I am doing a vegan, salt free eating plan, and I don't do caffeine or alcohol in any form.  Low blood pressure can aggravate balance problems and may be managed by drinking plenty of water, avoiding alcohol, and being cautious regarding the body's posture and movement, such as standing up slowly and avoiding crossing your legs when seated.  I don't have any difficulty from that either.

I think in my case I lack reliable sensory input from the coordination of my vision, my inner ear balance and my proprioceptors (those sensors of position and movement in my feet and legs).  Since good balance is so dependent on good muscle strength and joint mobility, my previous sedentary lifestyle of sitting for hours studying for my college classes have most likely compromised my strength and mobility causing my balance problem.  As we humans get older it is a very common mistake to ignore our strength and mobility skills and make us ever so prone to falls.  It is often said that after an elderly person falls, it is often a trip to the old age home that comes next!  SO, I WILL BE WORKING MY BUTT OF DOING STAND-UP UNTIL I GET BACK MY BELOVED BALANCE SKILLS!  YOU CAN BET ON IT!!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


The practice of yoga and doing stretches are very effective ways of discovering our imbalances.  People are created with different builds and bone lengths which means joint flexibility will vary greatly between individuals.  However, our personal flexibility can vary greatly between two sides or our top vs. our lower section.  During our daily regimen we may hardly notice the flexibility differences between our dominant side and our non-dominant side, especially if we have been sedentary for a fairly long length of time, hunched over a desk, particularly.  Mother nature didn't design us for computers and desk work!  When I recently went back to college for three years I had tons of homework, so not only was I slumped over a desk during classes, but also slumped in this position at night sometimes until midnight.  There are areas of our body where the pain and problems of a muscle imbalance do not present at the muscles which are too tight and lack good flexibility.  Yes, sometimes the pain is present from this imbalance in a totally different area.  These are hidden trigger points, and they will refer their pain elsewhere.

Practicing yoga and stretching are two things that can help us diagnose our imbalances.  As we stretch out areas that have long been jammed up and inflexible, usually there is a 'domino effect'.  In other words, the stretch may loosen a specific point in a muscle, but not yet loosen the entire 'anatomy train' of muscles that are tight areas that link to other muscles or other fibers of the same muscle.  As we continue stretching in your daily workouts, this 'anatomy train' will eventually release itself totally and we will have restored range-of-motion.

On another topic, I would like to provide a hint for easing the work load of the wrists when holding some of the yoga positions.  Our wrists are not accustomed to dealing with the body's weight bearing down on them in so many of our poses.  Not only should we flex them back and forth after the pose, but it also helps to grab the wrist that had just sustained the load by encircling tightly with the fingers of the other hand and shifting to and fro so that we are stretching the soft tissue (muscle and fascia) back and forth over the hard tissue (bones and ligaments).  This is a little hint I give from thirty years of doing hours and hours of massage on clients.

Happy stretching....

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Workshops & Certifications

Those of us that are part of the DDPY family are very fortunate indeed.  This isn't just a simple program where you buy a DVD set, slap it into the player and practice by yourself.  No indeed....there is a wealth of interaction on the member's portion of the DDPY website.  Once you're part of the family, you never have to be alone.  If you have a problem or a spot of trouble, there is always someone that will be willing to help or empathize.  There is even a chat available and it is busy throughout the day with only occasional lulls.  There is even a radio show exclusively for DDPY that we can listen to weekly.

There are many workshops that are available in many various locations.  I have signed up with one being held not far from me in Baltimore, Maryland for February 6, 2016.  I am so psyched.  I will have the opportunity to meet DDP himself.  I hope I'll meet some of you there too!
This gives me six months to work through the rest of the workouts that I have yet to cover.  I am currently working on two of my favorites--Below The Belt and Diamond Cutter.

I am hoping that I might be, one day, able to apply for certification I.  I will be saving my pennies and by the time I have enough for the application fee, I should be quite proficient!  LOL  Since I was a full-time medical massage therapist for thirty years, I have a lot of contacts in my area of past clientele and friends that might be interested in instruction.  I am retired from massage therapy now and living of off social security, so this type of certification might give me the opportunity to make a little extra 'mad money' for the extra joys of life.

Yes, we who are part of the DDP Yoga family are really enjoying the best yoga has to offer!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

How I Stay Motivated.....

My brain is so restless.  It comes up with ideas and schemes that I sometimes must laugh at.  My brain speaks to me much more than my heart does.  In olden times, the human race had much more time to ponder nature, their own bodies, their next food source in order to stay alive, etc.  Now days we are slaves to the time pressures of modern society, science and technology.  Is it any wonder that we lose touch with our heart and what it's trying to tell us.

Here are some of my brain's conversation:

"I'm an old lady.  I should just give up trying to fight weight gain and inflexibility.  After all, old age is unkind to us humans."

"I deserve that ice cream.  After all, I don't get many rewards out of this life anymore, so why not 'treat' myself?"

"I am done trying to fit into my clothes that no longer fit.  After all, every time I diet and get down to my correct weight, I just regain it all back and more!"  I am so tired of this Merry-Go-Round.  I'm just gonna wear sweats and too large tee shirts to cover the gut I have."

"I'm too old and unsteady in my balance to do yoga.  I might fall and break a bone, and then what!?!"

Well, that's only a sampling.  There is many more examples, but you get the gist.  Now, what does my heart have to say when I give it half a chance?:

"You can do it!  Just give yourself time and be careful not to hurt yourself!"

"You do deserve rewards in life.  And, what better reward than good health and flexibility!"

"You will lose weight and be able to keep it off if you put nutritiously dense foods into your engine instead of industy-prepared or fast foods."

"Yes, it's true you are shaky when doing the poses.  And, yes,  you are 68 and getting older as the world spins.  But, muscle and bones are God's great creation, and they are redeemable with consistent, well thought out exercise and stretching."

"What have you got to lose--well, I'll tell will lose flexibility, you will lose the battle against obesity, and you will fight injury and lose health."  "So, get on the mat, Baby!"


Friday, August 28, 2015

Staying On Track With The Dietary Plan

Two years ago I practiced DDPY when I first bought the package.  I did workouts from June 18, 2013 to August 6, 2013.  I then put it on the shelf to collect dust, however, out of necessity, I started again on June 20, 2015.  Why did I stop?  Well, I believe it was lack of motivation because I was overweight and lacked energy.  Why was I without energy?  I believe it was because I WAS UNWILLING TO FOLLOW THE DIETARY SUGGESTIONS!  When I kept gaining more and more weight and along with that higher and higher blood pressure, I finally became willing to get serious about the program in June of this year.  Now I follow the dietary suggestions religiously, and to lower my blood pressure without medication, I it was suggested by a doctor to follow a whole plant food diet with no vegetable oil.  For me in particular, that means NO MEAT, NO FISH, NO DAIRY, NO EGGS, NO VEGETABLE OILS (I even won't be taking in any olive oil), and PLENTY OF COMPLEX STARCHES, VEGETABLES AND FRUITS, with some nuts and avocado occasionally.  By following this strict eating plan to lower my blood pressure, I went from 170/110 to a normal 121/83 in only a week!

But, for those who don't need to address heart disease issues, the DDPY dietary suggestions are usually enough to get your health back and find your energy again.  And, this is an important part of being able to stick with the workout program in my opinion.  By eating the 'no dairy, no gluten and no sugar' way, one would gain the ability to practice the workouts with enough energy.  Of course, the poses will still be a challenge, but that is what the workouts are all about--challenging ourselves.

However, on this post, I'd like to address the problems one might face in following the dietary suggestions when out in public and when eating at others' houses.  I have found a really awesome little food carrier fashioned after the Asians that transport their meals in stackable pots.  I found a selection of these stackable pots made in stainless steel and of different sizes.  They are awesome for when I go out to places where the food is not made according to the dietary standards I need to follow, so I carry food with me.  I will often tell my host that if they would care to, they can bake me a potato or steam a vegetable, and I will add the rest out of my little carrier pots.  This plan has been working like a charm, and my host is not offended or perplexed about inviting a vegan to lunch or dinner.  This would also be handy for those following the DDPY dietary restrictions.

Here are pictures of the handy dandy pots and the insulator bag (purchased separately at WalMart) to store them and keep them cold/hot that I bought at Whole Foods:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Resolving a disability Part 2.....

I was doing well on the no sugar-no gluten-no dairy DDPY dietary suggestions, but I was still plagued by cravings.  However, it was what I needed to begin loosing weight and gaining energy and motivation to keep on track with my DDPY workouts.  However, after reading up about high blood pressure solutions on the internet, I also became no meat- no fish- no eggs- no vegetable oil (which means also, no virgin olive oil), and this took my blood pressure down to normal within a week, just as the eating plan I found on the internet said it would.  There is a video on Netflix called "Forks Over Knives" that explains the eating plan I am currently on, and it is for life.  When I was on this plan for only a week, all my cravings left me, and I didn't miss meat, fish, dairy, eggs or oils at all.  This makes me a very happy no-oil vegan!

Now that I had all this extra energy, keeping up my workout routine was easier than before--in fact, I am very happy and motivated to do my workouts now.  In fact, I was so motivated that I added daily biking to my exercising, and after a month or so of daily long bike rides, my knee started to go bad again and I had to use my walker for two days and then the brace for some time until it calmed down.  I had overdone the biking without any rest days.  I am not 30 years old anymore!!!  I just wasn't use to having that much energy!  LOL

I had to make a decision with this new re-injury--Do I continue with the workouts?  Or, do I stop until my knee is better?  I decided to continue the workouts and modify when necessary.  After all, Arthur did the workouts on leg appliances and knee braces.  I did not want to loose momentum.  As it turned out, this was a sound decision.  I could actually gauge how well my knee was healing by how much less I had to modify the poses.  At the same time, I kept up my growing strength in the other areas while my knee was healing.  As my knee got better, my stretching routine started to reveal other areas of my knee that were not releasing well.  I knew the area at the Fibular Head had been tight, but now I found that the medial area above my knee, the ADDuctors, were also too tight.  Once I released them through stretches and deep tissue massage, then I notices that the muscles below the knee in the medial area were also now too tight.  Our muscles are joined together by fascia that create what massage therapists call an 'anatomy train'.  As we release tight areas, we often find more of the 'train' that is tight, and we need to hunt down any part of the 'train' that still is tight in order for a full recovery of that area.

On a DDPY radio show Arthur was being interviewed.  Stacey Morris asked a very good question about how to increase flexibility.  Arthur answered that he uses five-minute stretches consistently so that stubborn areas release better.  I tried this with my knee, and it works!  As a massage therapist, I know that muscles have 'memory'.  These five-minute stretches help the tight area lose its previous holding pattern and help erase that 'memory' of shortness from before.  My knee injury was an old injury from my youth as a kick-butt mountain biker, so it had quite a long 'memory' of being too short and learning to function in that dysfunctional way for so long.  The five-minute stretches may seem too long for some people, but the muscle seems to need that length of time in order to reset its length and hold it.  I find that slow progress is important with the five-minute stretch because a change in muscle length will often make a muscle and even surrounding muscles more vulnerable to injury.  So, I went about stretching by slowly increasing the length of stretch.  As a massage therapist and guitar player, my dominant side shoulder was starting to shift forward and create neck troubles.  So, I did the five-minute stretches for the anterior neck and shoulders too.  Slowly my muscle unbalances are rebalancing.  I sure am happy about all these awesome changes!