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Creaky joints? Gentle yoga might be for you

Special to The Recorder

“Sit with Less Pain” by Jean Erlbaum (Wisdom Publications, 200 pages, $19.95)

Yoga appeals to most adults, particularly those of us in our middle years. It seems to offer a more flexible body and a more serene, peaceful mind.

Nevertheless, yoga doesn’t always seem doable when one begins to get creaky joints. The yoga program on my Wii Fit device, for example, doesn’t seem to understand that my weak knee won’t permit me to assume many of its positions easily.

Jean Erlbaum has been helping older yoga enthusiasts find their comfort level for more than 40 years. Erlbaum is one of the founders of Green River Yoga on Main Street in Greenfield. She divides her time between Greenfield and Florida and specializes in classes for seniors in both locations.

Her new (and first) book, “Sit with Less Pain,” constitutes a basic yoga class. It leads the reader through a variety of positions. These positions can be accomplished two ways — on the floor with a yoga mat or on a straight chair. Readers are encouraged to try whichever method they find most comfortable.

In addition to general beginning and ending sections that focus on breathing and relaxation, the book offers chapters and sections to help the reader work on specific parts of his or her body, from the eyes to the feet. Erlbaum emphasizes the need to adapt each pose to one’s physique and comfort level.

“As you perform the exercises in this book,” she writes, “listen well to your body and honor its limitations.”

Illustrations by Michelle Antonisse depict people performing each pose, reinforcing Erlbaum’s verbal descriptions. The result is a clear, inviting book.

Erlbaum suggests that readers who don’t want to interrupt the flow of their yoga practice make audio recordings of their favorite routines after reading the book.

Readers may also purchase two companion CD sets to the book. One covers floor exercises; the other, chair work. On these recordings Erlbaum’s gentle voice leads the listener through the yoga poses. The sets cost $25 each.

The author writes that she hopes the book will help readers become more comfortable physically and that it will enhance spiritual practices such as meditation, which are often performed sitting down.

Talk, free yoga class June 28

Erlbaum will talk about her new book — and offer a free 30-minute chair yoga class based on the book — at Green River Yoga on Saturday, June 28, at 2 p.m. The yoga studio is at 158 Main St., above the World Eye Bookshop, which will handle sales of the book.

Tinky Weisblat is the author of “The Pudding Hollow Cookbook” and “Pulling Taffy.” She is always looking for new books from Franklin County-related authors to review. If you have a book suggestion, email her at Tinky@TinkyCooks.com. For more information about Tinky, visit her website, www.TinkyCooks.com.

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