“When I am in an asana, I go beyond the chronological and psychological boundary of time.”– BKS Iyengar
Yoga is a wonderful and challenging practice, no matter what the student's age. In my senior yoga classes I sometimes hear students say, "I wish I had started yoga when I was younger." It’s true that older folks often have obstacles in their practice of asana (poses), due to joint stiffness, loss of bone density, and muscular atrophy from chair-based lifestyles and poor postural habits. But, there are specific ways for seniors to overcome these limitations: focusing on gentle movement to encourage lubrication of joints and tissues, breath awareness, supportive poses to allow postural patterns to unwind, and the use of PROPS!
Herb McDonald, who is of a certain age, once said to a class of many older folks, “I can still go as deep in a pose as I could when I was younger; it just takes longer.” So, despite the fact that older body/mind may not be as flexible, the patience and understanding gained from living and practicing yoga allow for santosha (contentment) to arise. Yoga, afterall, is not just about touching toes; it’s about finding peace and fullness here and now.
Yoga for Seniors
by Nishtha Jane Kappy