Yoga is available for everybody.
It’s never too late to start and no matter what your condition, there is a way to do yoga. The movements become gentler with the use of props or modifications and the asanas are achievable for any level of flexibility, age and condition. For instance, we might use chairs to help us with balance and straps to help us reach our toes! Yoga helps us practice the skills we need to look after ourselves: as we stretch our bodies, we ensure that we will be able to reach something on the top shelf when we need it or as we do weight baring on our hands, we make our hands strong and with strong hands we can open bottles, etc. Many postures train us to balance – an important necessity as we get older. Yoga prepares us for our future self, some poses offer relief from pain such as arthritis or stiffness in the joints. Many students of yoga find pain relief and ways to deal with existing ailments and yoga tones and nourishes the nervous system, improves blood circulation, and overall improves health and vitality.
Some of my private clients are in a battle with cancer, and they find great comfort not only in the posture practice, but the guided meditations and visualizations that a skillful teacher can provide.
We call it a “yoga practice” because we are always practicing who we want to become by setting intention to improve ourselves in some way (be grateful, have patience) as well as offering the benefit of our efforts for the good of humanity. (As we become more peaceful, tolerant, and accepting of ourselves, we can be that for others) This takes us outside our own narrow thinking and expands our thinking toward a greater good.
The different categories of poses have different effects on our system.
For instance, folding forward calms the mind and soothes the nervous system, but bending backwards opens the chest and that elevates our emotions and leads us to a clear state of mind and a happy heart! The twisting poses help detox our organs. A skilled teacher will understand and guide you, along with your doctor’s advice as to what poses are appropriate and what might be contra-indicated. There are many studies showing the benefit of yoga for many different ailments like osteoporosis, arthritis, high blood pressure etc…..
Yoga helps us look within and see what we need – right now, on this day and in this moment. We learn that our body is always talking to us, and we become sensitive to listening more clearly. It is through self-reflection we home in on our ability to make wise and self-compassionate choices around the food we eat, people we associate with and many other choices that support our happiness and joy.
Our practice becomes more subtle and refined just like we might discard old belongings that no longer serve us. We let go of the more difficult yoga poses of our youth and choose poses that are suitable for us and meet us where we are physically and emotionally at this age. Yoga invites us to question ourselves: “Is the practice working”, “How do I feel in stressful situations”? “How do I treat others”, “What is my inner dialogue?”.
Every day we get on our mat and start where we are!