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Age is not an obstacle for yoga practice

To go or not to go to a yoga class at your forties ( or fifties, sixties)? Many (including me) have certain doubts on this issue. Of course the body is no longer the same: the spine is becoming numb, and joints are losing mobility, and muscle mass is being lost every year, and hormonal changes of your body are quite tangible. However, the mature age has certain advantages: usually, your sensual passion and temptations have already settled; duties with tree-planting , house-building and sons-raising are fulfilled and the desire for world domination is no longer prevailing. Hence there is a chance to advance in yoga faster than your younger mates on yoga class, so as they are very involved in the society and are full of ambition.

I first came to yoga when I was 41 – on a peak of a sharply experienced mid-life crisis. Initially I just wanted to do physical exercises to keep my body fit. Never liked sports! The idea that periodically you have to prove someone that you can jump higher or run faster seemed strange to me. I’ve visited  fitness center a couple of times - where the strongest confusion I got from a sight of a running track with a TV hanging above.  Unconsciously I was drawn to yoga, even though there was not a single person in my surrounding that was related to the subject somehow. Then I downloaded one of the many video lessons on yoga from the Internet and began to master Asanas on my own also reading books and articles on this subject that came to hand. At that time I was so far away from Yama and Niyama. When I first came across the words about a "spiritual aspect", I didn’t understand , what it has to do with yoga. Then I bought a matt and diligently I worked on it – gladly my body responded with gratitude as if it was remembering something.

After a while I noticed changes. They were not so much on the physical level, but on the mental. I became calmer; problems that seemed dreadful has gradually disappeared; my body was full of energy and I was ready to share it. I’ve noticed the relation between what I eat and the body and mind state. After eating meat always came dullness and laziness, and, eventually, I stopped eating it. Never even thinking about becoming a vegetarian, a month later I no longer ate fish, then eggs - it happened naturally, without any coercion.  Physically I felt myself great, simply forgot about colds and other diseases. There was a slight hunch that yoga is not only an exercise but a deeper system. I began to look for information consciously, read a lot, watch videos. Self progress in Asanas was becoming more difficult, I knew that I needed a teacher, and in one of the video lectures Andrew Verba I heard a phrase: "When a disciple is ready  - a teacher appears". As soon as possible I bought tickets to India and went to a yoga tour on places of Buddha Shakyamuni with the club Oum.ru, which became the turning point for me.

Actually, it was exactly a year ago - in March of 2014. I think during that time I have evolved as in the picture illustrating the Darwin’s theory. Completely give up alcohol, have become a regular practitioner performing  not only Asanas but also breath and cleaning practices;  took a 10-day retreat in the yoga camp "Aura"; traveled to Tibet and took the Kailas Kora; downshifted office work for a freelance and, finally, in May, have finished yoga teacher course. Furthermore, since February I have been teaching yoga for a beginners group. Even though only 3-4 people visit my class, I feel that we connect and that I manage to give them something. Recently, one of the students told me that the back pain that tormented her for a while subsided. I regarded this good news as a sign of support , that I must continue to move further on this new direction.

Sometimes I feel sorry that I did not come to yoga before, for more than 40 years I lived a simple consumer life without an understanding the value of human birth. I often think that was my Karma, that if it had happened before, my young and impressionable body which loved fun and holidays would incline to the vanity, leaving the impression of yoga as a good physical education with a touch of mystery. It is now already more difficult  "seduce" me with pleasures, I’ve seen the other side of the Moon, I try to appreciate every moment of a daily I practice; I teach, I have a blog for the beginning yogis; and I found new friends seeking for development who give me a huge support.


I also feel an immense gratitude for the fact that my life led me to the path of getting rid of selfishness.  And I want to appeal to those «a bit over ...» and who would like to teach yoga but is in doubt about the age. Believe me, this is not the occasion! Even if you think that your stretching is not the as it used to be and you are doing «butterfly» not so well anymore, you are able to share your knowledge and energy.  Your experience will attract those students that have a Karmic connection with you and there will be a way to help them. Don’t miss this opportunity! In fitness centers, where the audience is engaged with themselves a new teacher in his/her ages would look awkward. The situation  is different in yoga classes. Here your main goal is to change the energy of the group and to teach people how to live not only for themselves. That is why at the end of each class we dedicate merits of a practice for the benefit of all sentient beings. This slight difference between fitness centers and yoga classes is in fact enormous. It will give you the strength to grow - no matter what age you are - and pull the others.

Recently I saw a video on the Internet about an American yoga teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch  who is way over 90.  In clear mind and good shape, she performed many complex Asanas during a class including headstand. Judging by the number of students including the youngsters her classes are very popular! Now she lives in New York but continues to travel around the world to teach the true spirit of yoga practitioners. Fortunately there are lots of such examples in the world. As written in "Hatha Yoga Pradipika": success in yoga doesn’t depend of age, each can reach it,  even those who are " old, sick, weak , or decrepit " - if only manage to defeat laziness. The hardest step of the path is to spread out yoga matt.

Written by Natalya Dorosheva