You have read about yoga, you have recognized that it might be good for you and you have thought that you may try it one day. You have even collected couple of brochures and perhaps even made an attempt to visit a yoga studio in your local neighbourhood, but hesitation prevails. OK, I have heard it all before, I get it.
Yes, I understand, picking up yoga when you are ‘50 something’, can be daunting. I can hear the justifications flying…but I am not flexible…but I am overweight…but I am [fill in the blank another excuse]. There are many questions, many doubts and so many concerns. Trust me you are not alone.
Surely it would be better if you had practiced yoga from the age of 5? However, in a Western society, yoga in its current shape and form took off around 15-20 years ago and has only now reached its apogee. On every corner there is yoga studio. Splashed all over health magazines and social media are images of young bodies performing intricate yoga poses. It is no wonder that people like you are so intimidated by the prospect of starting up yoga.
I am here to help you to overcome your fears and aid you to become the healthy person you have always wanted to be. Lets stop and think for a moment: at 50 you could be in the middle of your life! Imagine that you can jump the other half with all the knowledge and wisdom that you have today. Your current state of health may be reasonable right now. However, if you could practice something that will not only improve your health, but also lengthen your life expectancy, wouldn’t you do it?
Let me invite you into my world. I am 62, a yoga teacher and I run Avirit Yoga & Wellebeing Centre a yoga studio in Ormond, Melbourne. I have serviced people from the South-East suburbs of Melbourne for 20 years. I have practiced yoga for 25 years. The age of my students varies from 25 to 78. As I get older and my students do too, their passion for yoga grows exponentially. I can see with my very eyes, people’s lives being transformed. They become alive, they feel happy and less stressful.
One can practice this eternal discipline at any stage of their lives, regardless of any reservations. There is no contraindication to yoga practice except ignorance. If you can get out of bed, you can practice yoga. Contrary to a popular belief, yoga is not a bunch of weird looking poses, that a bunch of weird looking people perform on a whim. Yoga is an art of living. If practiced regularly, it enhances your state of health and wellbeing, regardless of age.
Embrace the real essence of yoga. It is not just merely the physical exercises, but it is a philosophy that leads you towards spiritual growth. You may have heard of the word ‘hatha’. It contains of two words in Sanskrit (ancient language) meaning: ‘ha’ (sun) and ‘tha’ (moon). It unites two opposite polarities: masculine and feminine, hard and soft, hot and cold. Yoga is the union between the body and the mind, connecting and uniting them together.
There are the list of the benefits of yoga that I experienced myself and observe in my regular students:
Then, find a yoga teacher who understands the aging body and go to yoga classes where students are of a similar age to yours. When you choose a yoga studio, be aware that a professional yoga teacher will ask about your health and will guide your practice based on its current state of health. A quality teacher should design or adjust poses to suit you. As one of my colleagues once said: “We match the pose to suit the body, not the body to suit the pose”.
Another important point: find a yoga teacher who you comfortable with. If, for whatever reason, you are not comfortable with the teacher - find another one. At the end of the day, you are the one who needs to enjoy it. There is always a teacher for every student.
Once you are happy with your teacher, the studio and the time of your classes – stick to it. Do not let any excuse to take you off the road to a happier you. Consistency is the key to success in every endeavours: work, relationship and yoga too. There is a long journey ahead of you, hopefully another 50 years. Best of luck.
Founder of Avirit Yoga & Wellbeing Centre