Time Waits For No Yogi
The fact is we age. We get stiff and stiffness inhibits healthy circulation. We get tired. We hope for a miracle cure or a magic pill to ease our discomfort. As a society we have established this as the norm, but it does not have to be that way! Are you going to accept this as your way? If not, then you must find the willingness, the means and the short-term goals to attain your long-term ambitions. At some point, to truly evolve and find a better way, the problem has to be addressed.
In an interview, Clint Eastwood was once asked how he stays in such great shape. He replied, “Yes, I work out every day and stay with the program. You’ve got to — you get habits from — as a young man. You just have to stay with them.” Yoga translation: If you want the flexibility and mobility you have today, as you age, then you have to do things now to maintain it. Just the other day my mom reminded me of something I often said when I was younger – do the things now for your health that you will wish you would have done when you are older. It is MUCH more work to regain what has been lost than to preserve what you have right now. It’s no different than doing the preventative maintenance on your vehicle. The longer you wait, the more it will cost.
The Problem with Youth
The problem is, when we are young, we feel invincible. We believe that time will never catch up to us. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “Youth is wasted on the young.” In midlife we get wrapped up in our family and career and we start to ignore the aging process all together. Then there comes a point in our dotage when we believe it’s too late. Without the willingness to do the work, we unwittingly become victim to the whims of time.
Perhaps you will appreciate my own personal long-term yoga goal. This is a vulnerable moment, but I’ll share. I want to be able to put my own pants on when I’m 95 years old, standing up! I practice every day. For some, this may be a boring yoga goal, but I can assure you, it is not! At the age of 52, depending on what I did the day before, there are times I’m immensely grateful to have yoga as a resource in my life. It does not have to be complex. To make this all work out when I am older, it important to establish short-term priorities that support long-term goals. Do I want to be able to stick a handstand in the middle of the room? Yes. Will it help me meet my long-term goal? No. I may choose to work toward goals like this knowing, that for me, they accommodate a very different set of priorities.
Aches & Pains
After 30 years of yoga and numerous injuries, some from yoga and many others from skiing, cycling, and other random things like walking down the sidewalk, here’s what I have concluded: No one will ever cycle, run, climb, swim, ride, or ski their way to long lasting bodily mobility. No one will ever sit, stand, walk or drive their way to physical freedom either. I know people who can sit in lotus for an hour of meditation, but have a very difficult time walking. I know people who can run to the top of Bear Peak, but can’t touch their toes. Do the short-term goals support a long-term benefit? If not, we must carefully consider another way to alleviate pain and increase (or at least maintain) range of motion.
There is Hope!
Long-term goals aside, the short-term benefits of yoga are remarkable. With increased mobility comes increased blood and lymph circulation. You get sick less often. You sleep better. You breathe better. Digestion and elimination improve. You slow the aging process. A regular yoga practice increases your range of motion, but it is not only for the flexible. Yoga is the means to greater flexibility and mobility. Yoga is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth, and you only need to sip regularly from the waters to gain the most benefit. We hope you come sip the waters at the Yoga Loft. Come on in, the water is delightful. If you you are stiff, sore, or getting old faster than you really want to, try Yin, Kaiut or Form and Fundamentals to get started. Tell the instructor you are new to yoga and they will give you personal attention to insure you get off on the right foot. Or, if you want help finding the right class for you, call 720-612-4321 or email us here.