It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln
You are never too old for yoga.
Maintaining a flexible moving body is essential as our bodies age. Maintaining balance is crucial as we age. While our practice may evolve from vigorous to less vigorous being aware of the changes subtly and dramatically may keep us safer from injuries, while maintaining elasticity and range of motion within those changes. Maintaining control and awareness over the body enhances an intuitive sense of balance. Yoga can reduce stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, improve memory and concentration. It may be a time to begin to explore the deeper aspects of yoga through meditation, breath awareness, and contemplation bringing meaning to all that we do. Practicing yoga fosters community at a time when we may feel less connected or have less access to our friends and family.
"We know what we are, but know not what we may be."
Teens benefit from yoga. It keeps their developing bodies limber. It helps maintain weight in a non-competitive way. The teen does not have to be athletic to practice yoga but may foster a sense of athleticism once they experience their bodies' capabilities. Yoga will maintain strength and endurance and will teach self-control in the body and mind at a time when the teen is subject to hormonal fluctuations. The wisdom inherent in yoga helps teens maintain a strong sense of self when peer pressure may otherwise challenge their decisions. The stress of grades and competition for college, trying to maintain a healthy and realistic self image in a media frenzied society, can place undue burdens on an age group no longer a kid yet barely an adult. Yoga can provide a respite in the day to reconnect with that inner child. Yoga has the power to transform uncertainty into strength, the ordinary into the miraculous, and self-doubt into self-confidence.
"Everything is yoga if you do it with intention"
What is yoga anyway?
Volumes have been written on this 5000 year old discipline whose roots are in India. Yoga is a physical, mental, spiritual, and philosophical practice all in one. People practice yoga for as many reasons as there are people practicing yoga. Yoga helps people feel better. It reduces stress and anxiety while the physical postures keep you strong and healthy. The anti-aging qualities of a regular yoga practice maintains youthfulness and vigor. Yoga relaxes the mind which ultimately de-stresses us. The less stress the more we enjoy life. Yoga is not only physical exercises, although that is where many people are introduced to the practice of yoga. Meditation and focused breathing techniques, are proven methods for relaxation and improved concentration. The contemplative aspects of yoga can help us deconstruct patterns of thoughts and behaviors that no longer serve us while opening us up to the vastness of our human potential. The limbs, or branches, of yoga provide a structure and code of conduct, that can be applied to daily life. Yoga teaches us to be kind, mindful, and appreciative; living each day in gratitude. People practice yoga because it builds community, encourages service to others, teaches self-acceptance and non-judgement, and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Yoga has undergone a dramatic increase in popularity in western society over the past several decades. The benefits of yoga are unchallengeable. This age old non-denominational discipline, taught in many languages, to many ages, is about embracing the splendor of life, maintaining health and wellness, finding peace in the ordinary, and the sweetness in each one of us.
"Each journey begins with a single step." Anonymous
Adults benefit from yoga in all aspects of life; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. At different stages there may be more of an emphasis on one aspect or the other. The asanas, the physical postures, and breathing practices are beneficial for relaxation and overall fitness, while meditation and yoga philosophy allow for a deeper dive into understanding our place, both, in our external and internal world. Most people discover yoga through the practice of asana, when they attend a yoga class. But not always. Sometimes yoga chanting, also called kirtans, where yogis gather to enjoy community and the Indian music that is associated with the tradition of yoga may be the first introduction to yoga. In the yoga class as the subtle attributes of the postures and breath awareness, pranayama, take hold we begin to open more fully to the intelligence and wisdom of this ancient practice. Meditation which is a deeper level of breath awareness, teaches us how to become patient. Sitting still is no easy task but it becomes our friend and we learn how stillness can be accessed at any time to reconnect with ourselves to get a clearer picture of the way things are. We learn how to use the breath as a means to harness our wandering minds, bringing us back to the present moment. Yoga chanting, or Bhakti yoga, opens the heart to others while sharing the enjoyment of music. When we reside in the heart, gratitude is not too far behind. Any aspect of yoga is beneficial if it makes you feel good.
Om in the Home
"Find the magic in the mundane".......Sherri Margolin
The what and why of yoga
"In no other relationship is there such complete freedom as there is in friendship, and such a relationship between a man and a woman is a spiritual marriage, a divine friendship." Swami Kriyananda
Yoga for couples. The emphasis of being in the now soothes the anxiety over what is going to happen in the future; making it easier to express feelings; more easeful as a new relationship progresses from 'now' to a 'more often'. In the early stages when the spark of chemistry ignites attraction, yoga teaches us about self-confidence and ego, two things that can undermine making that 'first move'. Exploring physical poses together heightens body awareness of the other, invites a playfulness into the movements, and can involve a spiritual communion which can deepen the relationship emotionally and physically. The common denominator of the yoga lifestyle offer couples a foundation from which to build the relationship for the long term with each other and within their community.
"Even the word children is a relative fantasy. They are us in small bodies, seeds that are unfolding. In the same way that you provide a plant that you are cultivating the best possible environment for it to reach its full growth, you should provide children with the sort of environment that allows them to maximize their creative potential." Ram Davis
Children love yoga. They are natural acrobats. Many of the poses, some named after animals, can be combined with play and storytelling for moral value, fostering imagination and developing cooperative play. Yoga develops awareness of the senses and how the body works and moves. Children love to imitate adults. Family yoga can give both parents and children an activity in which to bond in a nonjudgmental, accepting and peaceful way.