Libbie and I met through yoga almost forty years ago. We were in the ingenue stage of yoga. You know…stars in our eyes about the many benefits of the path we were on. At that time, in the early part of our journey, we were in Pune, India, at the BKS Ramamani Yoga Institute. We would have not then, in our wildest imagination, pictured us as old women, teaching a workshop entitled ‘Ascending the Mountain: Two Elders Sharing Their View’.
I firmly held to the notion that yoga would grant me longevity (which it has, in good measure). But I thought yoga would also offer enduring youthfulness. I believed that the peak powers of a twenty or thirty year-old me would last. Naivety or arrogance?
Fortunately, I’ve kept yoga near to me as a faithful companion over all this time, which has allowed more of the subtleties and wisdom of this old friend to be revealed.
With the several COVID lockdowns, both Libbie and I independently started up zoom classes. Even though we live at a distance of 450 km, zoom let us drop in on each other’s yoga sessions. Although our styles and content are different, we recognised symmetrical values and qualities that we’d gleaned from our practices and life experiences.
At some point it became obvious to me that it could be a joyful experience to collaborate in teaching. I said I thought it could be fun, and Libbie agreed whole-heartedly. And so it has been. Our first of what I hope will be several other presentations, staged in different locations, happened in the lovely northern rivers part of NSW.
We had a very special group of participants who added as much value as Libbie and I, through discussions, willingness to learn and dedication to yoga practice.
I had an insight after we finished the weekend, when I’d had a chance to digest the experience of being with our group. I think that there is a call-out from younger, middle-aged and older people for old people like Libbie and me to show up. To participate and contribute.
Stephen Jenkinson, a Canadian author, educator and activist, wrote a book called ‘Come of Age’. I can’t totally recommend it to you as it’s been variously described as a ‘murmuration’ and a ‘agitation’, in other words hard to read. But the back cover does carry this line, ‘Elderhood is a function rather than an identity.’ Quite the opposite from retiring. Retirement is definitely not on our horizon.
A friend wrote this little poem that sums up my sentiments:
To live large, to live well as we grow older
We just need to live as if we’re already really old
Without the time to spare
For waiting here
Or stopping there.
It occurs to me that you might consider inviting Libbie and me to bring our workshop to your part of the world. We’d like that.