Too old for yoga?

Never. Get this out of your mind. It might be a challenge to go to a class where everyone else it 20 or 30 years younger, some might be flexible as f***, some do arm balances as if they never did anything else in their life. And there are others, young and stiff like a tree.

Yoga is something you do for yourself, for your body and your mind. It’s not a fitness regime, no space for comparison, nor judgement. Be happy for those who can do things easily, be compassionate for those who have to work more on it. And be with yourself. Grateful that you showed up, doing what’s possible that day. There’s no room for the ego in a yoga class.

Some years ago I was really disappointed when I heard that we should step back from a certain age. Why? I want to continue learning, improving, growing. I want to access at least some of the super challenging postures. And I can. Daily practice does a lot, and I’m not talking about working on a certain posture like crazy, no, just do your practice regularly and your body will change.

I proved it, you can learn headstand, forearmstand, you name it, no matter the age. The key is not only regular practice, but also listen to your body. Never do something while your body says no, not today. Accept. Same here, no matter the age. The only difference when it comes to age is, that the older we get, the longer it takes. Not just physically, also the mind kicks in. All of a sudden there is fear. Don’t fight it, don’t ignore, but embrace it and it will slowly melt. Yes slowly. Be patient. I know, patience is nothing I was born with!

However, the last 2 years I experienced some push backs. I had to pause my practice a few times due to injuries (not yoga related!) and it was so difficult to come back to my daily Ashtanga practice. Age? Maybe, maybe not. I accept it and go slower. Reminding myself, it’s for me, there’s no competition. Not even with myself.

I allow my practice to change. It’s not about this doesn’t work anymore, I can’t do what was possible a few weeks ago, it’s about change. Allow your practice to change. Some asanas might get more difficult all of a sudden, while others become accessible.

There’s another level – while working physically, yoga is also a spiritual practice. Ageing is a great teacher to embrace who you are and continue your journey, even if it looks different.

Be patient yogi

A difficult word for me. Patience. I’m that quick type of person…. doing everything now, all at once… Injuries hit us usually the moment it hurts most, to get our full attention. Telling us to stop. Whatever we are doing.

On a physical level, it’s not just about stepping back, doing what is possible. Nope. It’s a sign to stop fully. Listen. Look. Understand. It’s about learning the tough way. There’s another level. An injury is never just physical, but also mental. Healing can’t just happen physically. And that’s the difficult part. Trying to understand, why. What’s wrong right now? What’s holding me back, what’s actually not good, not healthy in my life? What are the side effects of the injury? What movements are not possible? What about breathing? This tells us more about where to look at. What are the consequences? Do they matter? Eventually, there’s a person around mirroring? Ups. Be honest with yourself yogi. Once identified, let go. Detach. Say bye bye. What ever is required, do so. You need your health. You need your peace.

I’m back on the mat now, restarting carefully. Yin Yoga only. I miss my Ashtanga practice like hell, but even demoing in class is not good for me. I don’t stop trying to figure out what’s behind. I know there’s more, I know my body talks to me. I’m getting better in understanding. And I’m rebuilding my practice step by step, developing a practice of patience.