If you have been doing yoga fairly regularly, has your practice improved over the years? What I’m talking about is your ability to do more and more advanced asanas over time.
Isn’t this what motivates many people when they take up yoga classes? They have noticed a gradual deterioration of certain physical abilities and they’ve heard that yoga might be able to fix this decline and even improve their condition.
It is true that there are myriad benefits that accrue from doing yoga routinely. And, I’m not just talking about the physical advantages that are so well documented. Stress reduction, equanimity, and mindfulness are just a few deliverables from sustained yoga practice.
Realistically though, I’m here to tell you your asanas will not improve in a straight line trajectory as you get older. It’s a nice thought, but life and ageing will have their way with you.
I was out in the Yoga Shed early this morning, and I thought, what the heck, I’ll just do some practice from the primary ashtanga vinyasa series. I can’t remember when I did ‘jumpings’ with all those chaturangas and urdhva mukha svanasanas, certainly a long time before I had bi-lateral hip surgery three and a half years ago.
Have I missed this sort of practice? Maybe not, although this morning’s routine was fun. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken up meditation, restorative poses, study of the Sutras, and interweaving the yoga code of ethics (yama and niyama) into my everyday life. Oh, and I’m happier now than I was in the days when I felt I had to have a showy practice or prove myself through my prowess.
I understand that there’s not necessarily a cause and effect relationship between softening a strong physical practice and feeling more content. Maybe that’s the possibility of ageing with acceptance.