By Renee’ Fulkerson
/ˌindəˈpendənt/ adjective – not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.
“I wanted to remain independent in old age”
synonyms – self-sufficient, self-supporting, self-sustainable.
My experience with this has happened within this last year and got me looking around at folks moving through their daily lives.
I grew up in Southern California and spent every summer (June, July, and August) in Baja California
. At my grandparent’s house on the beach until I was well out of high school. In both geographical locations, the weather was mostly sunny and warm and, I am a fan of warm and sunny. I spent most of my days wearing cut-off Levi shorts, tank tops, and flip flops.
In other words, closed toes shoes, socks, pants, and jackets were far and few in my everyday life.
I do everything in my flip-flops (called slippers here on the Hawaiian islands). Not the best option for most of my outdoor projects. When I was thinking back to my 16 years living in Big Bear, I still spent a great deal of time in my flip-flops. I had a large yard/ garden in the mountains like here on the island. Consequently, digging, raking, weeding, etc. yes in my slippers. I have also done many hikes, walks and, dancing in my flip-flops. Side note ipanema slippers are my favorite.
Last June as my family and myself were preparing for our annual summer mainland – mountain road trip. My flip-flop existence took a turn for the worst. I was outside in the garden digging with a shovel pushing down on the metal piece with the arch of my foot and, I felt a stretch and pull of discomfort and, my heart dropped as I knew I had injured my foot. I hobbled into the house and began icing three to four times a day with a frozen bottle of water, lightly massaged the surrounding areas (directly rubbing a soft tissue injury may make it worse), and slept with my foot wrapped in an Ace bandage
When arriving back on Kauai and to this very day, September 9, 2019, I continue to feel some pain in my foot. I have continued my normal daily activities at home (although I wear shoes and socks now while gardening). YogAlign, snorkeling, and continuing icing and wrapping have kept me comfortably active. In my humble opinion being sedentary after an injury is the wrong way to go – the body wants to heal and, circulation is necessary. I have purchased a new style of flip flops during the healing process OOFOS Recovery Footwear.
As I began looking around me one day while I was out running errands in my OOFOs feeling comfortable, confident, and mostly pain-free when I noticed how many folks were not stable on their feet. Young and old, small and large, black or white. It did not matter their health or lack of was hindering their independence. Canes, wheelchairs having to be pickup or dropped off from the car, and needing a partner’s arm for assistance was what I was seeing. Again these were not just mature folks (who can also stay very independent). That’s when it hit me the quality of your health is a direct reflection of your level of independence or lack thereof. I think most of us would agree it is hard enough to ask for help. Much less be reliant on somebody to get you around physically. I could not imagine my life without my physical independence.
What have I learned:
- Directly – flip flops/slippers have a time and place.
- Staying physically active is a necessary component of independence.
- Moving in proper posture and alignment while performing tasks keeps you less likely to get an injury.
When I teach SIP-ups in YogAlign class, students prepare their bodies by moving into proper alignment for optimal results. Injuries are less likely to happen when the body is in proper alignment.
- Students begin by lying on their backs with their knees bent toward the ceiling.
- Then they place a yoga block between the meaty part of the inner thighs.
- Their shoulder blades under them create and support the natural curves in their spine. Do not draw the belly button to the back body (flattening our natural spinal curves).
- They place hand over hand, palms facing up and supporting the Occipital Bone on the back of the head.
- When they lift the elbows, they raise them high enough to see their Peripheral vision turning on the arms.
- With a lion’s exhaling, they let out all their breath.
- Next, they look up at the ceiling, take in a full diaphragm SIP breath, squeeze the block between their knees, engage the core, and lift with the SIP inhale. (maintaining an open front line – no chin to chest).
- And S-hale like a snake before they come back down.
I may see a student pulling from the neck with their hands or rounding the spine by pulling their chin to their chest. I would request they come out of the posture immediately. Why? Because they would be doing more harm than good to their body. We do not want to rob Peter to pay Paul. Again it is more important to practice a yoga posture correctly to receive the optimum benefits than doing more harm than good.
I wish us all to be proactive in maintaining our independence – you don’t know what you have until it is gone.