Never too old

Do you ever think you are “too old” for something and not do it?

If you are like me, you qualify your accomplishments or endeavors with the phrase ‘for my age….’  or ‘at my age…’  more often than you’d like to admit.  I need to stop.  So do you.  Age is nothing but a measure of how long you’ve been awake in this body.  The longer the better actually.  The longer you are awake the more you know.  Why do we worship youth as the best state in which to exist.  Take comfort in knowing we are all aging at the same rate – one day at a time.  The older we are the more (not less) we should do.  It may take longer to get there but don’t not do it – because of your age.   It is UTTER PROFANITY.  For that bad habit, I wish there was Nicorette to chew on.

This post was inspired by my musing over starting my Ashtanga Yoga practice, at my age (44).  Am I crazy?  Do I have enough time to coax my body in this:

BKMSAstanga400[1]

Hell, yes.

Am I too old? hell no!

Many of you know that Ashtanga yoga  – like Bikram, Hot Yoga and others – is a particularly rigorous and athletic form of yoga.  But yoga is a chameleon and can meet you where you are serving your own unique needs.  There are so many great approaches.  In Restorative Yoga, for example, the yogi holds poses – often propped – for long, slow, delicious and sometimes profound releases.  I  have experienced great emotional release and cried openly in yoga class because of all the mess an memories held in my hips.  Many others have too.

back_pose[1]

Source:  www.domarcenter.com

Girlfriend, I will never be too old for that.

I believe Ashtanga has found me at this point in my life on purpose.  It takes patience and focus to practice one’s way to to this:

ICP

Source:  www.yoga.sportsxfit.com

And this:

Ashtanga-Yoga[1]

Source:  www.mat-yoga.com

I can virtually feel what this feels like to do this and I like it.  I like it a lot.  We can be attracted to the prize and have not the patience for the process.  Ashtanga yoga – really all yoga – is a process.  For now, I can do this:

000_2247

And this:

000_2252

Apparently I am not the only one who has wondered about Ashtanga and age.  From Ashtanga Yoga Productions, I found this:

David:

I want to ask you if one is 47 years of age and in good health condition is it possible to practice ashtanga yoga even if you’re not that flexible? I have been practicing vinyasa for the last 5 – 6 years. I can do most asanas very well but some like the full-lotus or pigeon I still cannot do fully but I continue to work on them. So is it possible to practice ashtanga (at least finish the entire primary series)?

Thank you for your message. Yes you may benefit from Ashtanga. There is a great benefit to age, maturity. Well most of the time. As we age there is greater understanding as to what we can and cannot do. Typically we gain a better sense of who we are. This is an important characteristic in life in general and certainly is an aid in developing a satisfying yoga practice. I know people that have begun the practice of Ashtanga at the age of 70 or even 80. Everyone may gain benefit whether in the form of increased flexibility, strength or calmness of the mind. The degree to which you experience these things will be unique. Each one of us has different body attributes that have been molded by a unique set of genetics, life experience, physical activities, lifestyle and diet. All of these things combine to form our physical and emotional state of existence. Ashtanga Yoga is an incredible tool that seeks to balance our strength with flexibility and to bring about a sense of wellbeing on an emotional and mental level. A steady and regulated practice over a long period of time is the catalyst to these changes. We must be patient and listen to our body and progress at our own pace. By focusing on the breath and moving with awareness then our yoga body/mind grows like a tree. It requires steadfast care and watering through the avenue of conscious and diligent practice. It is best to learn under the guidance of a teacher if at all possible. Check to see if there are any in your area and begin to practice slowly. If there are no teachers accessible in your area there are many books and other forms of learning as well which could be utilized as a second choice. Whether you practice the Full Primary Series or not does not matter. The real depth of yoga is determined by the focus and intent of the practitioner and not the particular asana or Series that is being done.

I love the last line.  The real depth of yoga is determined by the focus and intent of the practitioner,  not the particular asana or Series being done.  Or, I might add – the AGE or the EGO of the practitioner.  Leave your excuses off the mat.  Bring what you have.  It’s more than enough.  If you have a little age on you, you are lucky.

What has the ‘age excuse’ kept you from?

GIVEAWAY WINNER:  My blogging  and running buddy, over at happilyeveralone won her very own copy of Claire Dederer’s book:  My Life in 23 Yoga Poses.  Send me your information (clairhnorman@aol.com) and I’ll be sure it gets to you

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3 thoughts on “Never too old

  1. Wow, this post came at a great time for me. I’m 45 and have been battling various running injuries for a couple years now. I love to swim, but have terrible form and have never done it for exercise, just for pleasure. Just last week I signed up for my very first swimming lesson. When I signed up, the young man asked “Is this for your child?”. I had to laugh. I said “Nope. It’s for me.” I’m about to head off to my first lesson and just read this post. Perfect timing! I’m proud of you for embracing the Ashtanga practice and look forward to hearing about how it goes. I’ve never tried restorative yoga, but perhaps that’s what my injured body needs right now.

  2. Wow, I just read about winning the giveaway! Double bonus! I’m very much looking forward to reading this book and am planning to buy another copy to gift to a friend. Paying it forward…. Thank you so much!!

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