I've only done a little bit of yoga (during medical finals, found it helped with stress).
My boyfriend's mother is not a very healthy lady... she is anxious and morbid and rarely leaves the house. She sees a multitude of doctors and psychotherapists and seems to be getting worse not better. She is not very proactive in trying to help herself - she's more the "my illness prevents me from doing" type of person. Recently she is having problems walking (which is admittedly exacerbated when she knows you're watching her - she's not too bad if sneakily observed) which she says her doctors reckon is due to "being tense". She now takes a stick everywhere with her and can only walk around 20 yards.
I am a bit exhausted with her and know she has no interest in helping herself (she also refuses to eat and pretends she can't swallow, except she can apparently swallow cake), but I am in the middle of writing her a list of activities and tactics that have helped me when I have been depressed or stressed. Now I do 20 mile hikes and circuit training and the like (I found high levels of activity was the only way to beat the low mood out of me) and I'm not about to start suggesting that. I wondered about some gentle yoga for her. Would anyone have a book or dvd or type of yoga (or any other exercise) they could recommend? I would like to give her something practical and achieveable that might help with the muscles spasming. it would have to be something she could do at home. She does also have a degree of arthritis in her knees so she should avoid any strain on them - she can manage stairs fine though (she only needs a stick to walk when she is in other people's houses).
(Apologies for my unsympathetic tone, I have had such a weekend with her!!!)
Yoga expert I am not. Yoga exerciser I am. I have helped heavier people find material on yoga. "Big Yoga: A Simple Guide for Bigger Bodies" is a book that has gotten good reviews. Better would be the DVD "Heavy Weight Yoga: Yoga for the Body You Have Today." 20 reviews all 5 star on Amazon is normally good to go. It runs $22.
Having arthritis myself in the hip (yeah at age 31), I can tell you that yoga has been huge in helping the pain. Movement and mobility are stressed for natural treatments for arthritis. I have not taken any pills for mine in a few months. I keep my 180 day supply of naproxen on my desk as a symbol of determination.
Good luck with your mission. You definitely have an uphill battle ahead of you.
The physical exercises will help. Any physical exercise will help. If she does not come to yoga with a mindset of seeking self-improvement, however, I do not think she is likely to benefit much. "Yoga" means "discipline," ya know, and it doesn't really sound like that's what she's looking for.
Aww, you didn't sound unsympathetic at all. I can appreciate your frustrations.
Believe or not, I have a "Yoga for Dummies" DVD. It's easy to do. There are modified movements for different levels of activity. Might be a nice place for her to start.
No expertise from me either. Anecdotally, yoga really helps me with spinal arthritis and keeps my mobility from getting any worse. But, I feel that it is the type of thing that you have to really want to do to get much benefit out of. Just "going through the movements" doesn't help that much, and those people end up avoiding the movements that would help them the most. On the Biggest Loser show, almost everyone hates it when Bob makes them do yoga, and they feel it is a waste of time (it is a waste, if you have that mindset). Yoga might be good, if she has already shown some interest in it.
With careful observation, listening, and trial and error (over years, fighting off the urge to be pushy), I finally figured out what works for my 80 year old mother. She is now doing a mix of recumbent bike, elliptical, and other machines at the senior center, and loves it. She used to walk a lot in her early sixties but has had some knee problems that stopped her. The key was figuring out something that would give her a similar sensation as what she enjoyed doing in the past, and that got her out of the house around other people more (instead of buying exercise equipment for her basement/dungeon).
It wasn't as "smooth" as I have portrayed. I tried to "talk her into" several other things first that didn't work out (mostly because I was too pushy).