A Cup of Coffee – Linda Tries Yoga

Welcome back! Last week, we talked about different ways to approach an elder heart experiencing dementia. If you missed that blog and would like to catch up, click HERE.

My husband, who also somehow ended up being my boss at work, suggested to me a couple of weeks ago that he would be interested in reading a blog on Yoga. I have to admit, at first I was like, how boring. I feel like everyone who wants to know about yoga, already knows about yoga, ya know?

But then I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to test out a bunch of yoga poses for my readers, as a 59-year-old, overweight woman, and report back to them what the experience was like!”.

So can I just say, that was the single most idiotic thought I’ve officially had in 2023? Let’s start there. I want to follow up this statement by saying, “You’re welcome”, because after you read my report, you will either feel reallllly good about yourself, or you will thank me for taking one for the team.

So let’s get at it, shall we?

Go to the experts

I decided to go to the John Hopkins web page to find out what type of yoga they deemed beneficial because I figured as long as I’m trying these poses out, I should also educate all of us on their health benefits.

Pose number one

The first recommended post was The Tree Pose.

Why it’s good for you: “Yoga improves strength, balance, and flexibility. Slow movements and deep breathing increase blood flow and warm up muscles while holding a pose can build strength“.

Alrighty then. If you say so. I struck the following pose in my Diva Den: Balance on one foot while holding the other foot to your calf or above the knee (but never on the knee) at a right angle. Try to focus on one spot in front of you, while you balance for one minute. 

I had to stop and draw a sketch of what this might look like. The right angle, but not touching the knee challenged my lack of spacial ability. I finally had to Google the pose and then I went, “OH…Duh…”. If only…

As I struck “the pose” my entire body lurched to the left. Now, this made good sense, since there should have been a leg there for support, and yet, there was none. I repositioned myself, and tried again, this time with better results, although to achieve said results, I had to wave my arms franticly in the air to gain and regain my balance. It took me several tries before I was somewhat stable.

Then, the goal was to find something in the room to look at and balance for one minute. My eyes wandered the room, searching for something worth looking at for a full 60 seconds, and I finally settled on a knot in the wood on the floor. Up went the leg, the tree pose was had, and about 10 seconds into my pose, I started to realize that I desperately needed to sweep my Diva Den. Yes. My head went there.

I tipped over around the 40-second mark, and then I had to stop everything and sweep.

4/10, don’t recommend this pose.


Pose number two

The next pose was called The Cat-Cow Pose. Fair enough. I like cats and I now felt like a cow, so I thought it was a good fit.

Yoga, they said, helps with back pain relief. GOOD! I could use some of that.

Yoga is as good as basic stretching for easing pain and improving mobility in people with lower back pain. The American College of Physicians recommends yoga as a first-line treatment for chronic low back pain“.
I was so excited to try this one. Here were the instructions:
Get on all fours, placing your palms underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. First, inhale, as you let your stomach drop down toward the floor. Then, exhale, as you draw your navel toward your spine, arching your spine like a cat stretching. 

Wait. What? My first attempt had me literally placing my palms underneath my shoulders, with my cheek flat against the rug and my knees tucked under my hips, like a baby in the fetal position. “This can’t be right,” I thought to myself. As for letting my stomach drop down toward the floor, no problem. My belly hit the floor before I did.

Once again, I took to Google for a picture. I could see this would be a pattern.

They would have been more descriptive to say, “Get into a crawling pose“. AH!

So down I went. The key word to focus on here is DOWN…because once you are down, you must be able to get back up. After arching my back like a cat, and paying close attention to my breathing (mostly because I was starting to panic about the fact that I now had to get back UP), I slowly moved my body into a sitting position to contemplate my next move.

As I sat on my carpet, I remembered some advice my mother-in-law once gave me. She said, “Honey if you have to get down on the floor, look around while you’re down there to see if there’s anything else you can do while you’re doing what you went down there to do“. GREAT advice, by the way.

So I looked around and sure enough, there was a pen that had fallen off my desk and rolled away, and a bottle of air freshener that was suspiciously in the same vicinity. I blame my cat.

I grabbed them both and flung them up onto my Diva Bed to retrieve later after I figured out how to get up off the floor (every Diva Den should have a Diva Bed, by the way). The bed ended up being a great tool as I was able to crawl to the bed and slowly use it to hoist myself up. Whew!

I rated this one a 6/10 and recommend use with caution.

Yoga for arthritis

The next thing John Hopkins stated was that Yoga can ease arthritis symptoms. They didn’t give an exercise to back up this statement, but they did give me a link to studies that could possibly back it up in general. No pose for this one, and I was ever so thankful for that.

Gentle yoga has been shown to ease some of the discomfort of tender, swollen joints for people with arthritis, according to a Johns Hopkins review of 11 recent studies“.

Pose number three

The next pose they recommended was The Downward Dog Pose. I had seen this one many times on social media, so I felt confident that no Google assistance was necessary.

This time, the reason for the pose was that Yoga benefits heart health. We can all use some of that.

“Regular yoga practice may reduce levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthier hearts. Several of the factors contributing to heart disease, including high blood pressure and excess weight, can also be addressed through yoga”.

Instructions: Get on all fours, then tuck your toes under and bring your sitting bones up, so that you make a triangle shape. Keep a slight bend in your knees, while lengthening your spine and tailbone.

I got down on the floor and quickly decided that I needed a modified version of the downward dog. This body wasn’t having it. So I went to the computer and pulled up a pose fit for an unfit person. Me. I’m the unfit person.

Yoga U understood my needs. Enter, The Puppy Pose. You get down on your knees, then lay your upper body on the rug with arms outstretched (see picture at the top of this blog). This is a pose that puppies take when they want to play. So, did I mention I have three dogs? That I work from home? Yeah…this was THEIR favorite pose of the day and they pig piled onto my back, licking me until I screamed for mercy.

I scored this one another 6/10 and don’t recommend doing it if there are dogs in the room.

Pose number four

The next pose was called The Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose.

This pose was touted as helping you sleep better.

Research shows that a consistent bedtime yoga routine can help you get in the right mindset and prepare your body to fall asleep and stay asleep”.

Instruction: Sit with your left side against a wall, then gently turn right and lift your legs up to rest against the wall, keeping your back on the floor and your sitting bones close to the wall. You can remain in this position for 5 to 15 minutes. 

This pose was surprisingly easy to do (minus that pesky business of getting back UP after you’ve gone DOWN). I was able to complete the task, and I felt like I could do this daily.

I gave it a 9/10 and recommend having a stool or something nearby to help with the “mount and dismount” if you will.

The good points

The next “positive” thing said about Yoga was that it can mean more energy and brighter moods.

You may feel increased mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and fewer negative feelings after getting into a routine of practicing yoga“.

OK, John Hopkins…I could really use this one, but there was no recommended exercise to go with it. I’m going to assume that Yoga in GENERAL will gift me a better attitude.

For this idea of this, I give it a 10/10. A for effort, and all that.

The final pose

Number 7 on their list of poses was The Corpse Pose (Savasana). I kind of feel like this pose was rightly left for last, because well, by the time I was done with these poses, let’s just say I wasn’t feeling well.

The article said, “Yoga helps you manage stress“.

According to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that yoga supports stress management, mental health, mindfulness, healthy eating, weight loss, and quality sleep”.

Instructions: Lie down with your limbs gently stretched out, away from the body, with your palms facing up. Try to clear your mind while breathing deeply. You can hold this pose for 5 to 15 minutes.

THIS POSE ROCKED. “Do it for 5 to 15 minutes”…pfffttt…I went 30 minutes, NO PROBLEM. It had me doing what I do best, which is lying down! I did this one in my bed, because my body hurt so badly at this point that I figured a soft spot was best, and I was so good at this pose that I actually fell asleep for a bit! And it promotes weight loss! Double score!

I scored this bad boy a 15/10. I love my job!

Final points about the benefits of Yoga

John Hopkins went on to say that Yoga connects you with a supportive community and that it promotes better self-care. There were no poses to go with either of these points. Sorry (not sorry).

Participating in yoga classes can ease loneliness and provide an environment for group healing and support. Even during one-on-one sessions loneliness is reduced as one is acknowledged as a unique individual, being listened to and participating in the creation of a personalized yoga plan.

The U.S. military, the National Institutes of Health, and other large organizations are listening to — and incorporating — scientific validation of yoga’s value in health care.

Numerous studies show yoga’s benefits in arthritis, osteopenia, balance issues, oncology, women’s health, chronic pain, and other specialties“.

Let’s wrap this up, shall we?

All in all, this was a great experiment…for you, Dear Reader, not for me. I think moving forward that I will first try the “Sit and be Fit” videos before putting together a Yoga routine, but hey, you do you. I promised you at the beginning of this blog that after you read it you would either feel realllly good about yourself (because you are able to do all of these poses), or be thankful to have dodged a bullet. It’s all up to you now.


As always, this blog is not a replacement for sound medical advice. I am not a doctor. Please make an appointment to see your healthcare provider and put a good plan in place that works for you and the needs of your body.

That’s all I have for you this week, dear reader. I’ll see you back here next Wednesday to share another cup of coffee. Until then, be good to yourself and each other.

Mind, Body, Spirit…Osteopathic Doctors treat the whole person, not just the ailment. Is your PCP a DO? Would you like to learn more about Osteopathic Physicians? Click HERE!


  1. I started practicing yoga about 2 years ago as an overweight 59-year-old and am now an average-weight 61-year-old who practices daily. Probably the most beneficial thing I have learned from my practice is the benefits of proper breathing and the fact that most of us have no real idea whether we are breathing properly most of the time or not. It is so beneficial to health in so many ways. If yoga is a bit too strenuous I would recommend Qi Gong. There is a guy on youtube named Lee Holden who is a great teacher and guide.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for your comment, Brenda! I will absolutely look into Qi Gong!

      Warmly, Linda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *