We have to be very discerning when seeking out elders. One giveaway of elderhood is the acceptance of age. No one wants to become infirm in body and mind but there’s a grace that comes with acceptance of wrinkles, grey and thinning hair and stiffening joints.
Yes, I think that a hallmark of an elder is acceptance of imperfection, one’s character flaws and personal failings. Foibles and follies when cooked in the cauldron of life experience can create something like wisdom.
I’m still in elder training, not that I’m not old enough. The thing that I’m learning and trying to practice is authenticity, speaking my mind, hopefully without doing any harm, and holding to values without being rigid. Performing yoga poses is easy compared to this late stage of focus. It takes perseverance to keep after the truth; it’s often still buried under conditioning and wanting to please.
At my age, physiology has conspired to make me much more considerate of my energy levels. No matter what kind of yoga I do, how much or how little, let’s be honest, I don’t have the verve of my 40 year old self.
And yet, the last couple of months have pushed me onto a bigger stage. Without seeking renown, some special opportunities have found me.
This is one of my favourite techniques for gaining perspective when I am confused or conflicted. Imagine climbing a ladder to get a view of the forest, rather than just focussing on this tree right in front of you. From your expanded view, you can see horizons and in all directions.
Consider the billions of people on the planet that are doing it much harder than we are. As well as the past and future generations who are likely to face greater hardships than we have or will.
Thank goodness yoga is for all ages: the baby in utero, her mother and her grandmother, as well as kids in school and older kids in grad school. Sportsmen, mechanics, and musicians do yoga along with retirees and renunciates.
At every age and stage, we know yoga to be a stretchy system that bends to your needs. Not only that, it helps foster well-being, sweetens your nature and confers long life. Perhaps it will give enough detachment so that as you advance in age, you will be merely amused by any belittlers.
Every now then I think, yikes!, I’m going to be 74 in a couple of months. I better do something quick as I seem to be losing the battle with ageing.
What’s been happening is that I’m not as strong as I once was. I’m stiffer and achey in some of my joints. I have a bit less muscle and more flesh around my middle. And I get fatigued more easily than before.
Uh-oh. I forgot to mention the occasional bouts of sciatica.
Obviously, I need to join the gym, become more flexible, lose the middle chubbies and have power naps.
The other night I asked my dear husband, Daniel, to cast his eyes over my draft ‘Yoga Suits Her’ post. He gave me constructive feedback, but, sadly, I became upset when I heard it.
Daniel and I have been married nearly 25 years. That’s plenty of time for marital niceties to have faded just a little. Or, maybe to see there was no need to soften any feedback, especially when he knows I want to keep improving my writing. What he said was honest and incisive, but it just didn’t sit well with me. […]
For a long time I’ve pondered the questions of what is yoga, what is that I do when I practice yoga and what should I be doing. So, I was happy to encounter some wisdom via ‘The Yoga Lunchbox’ blog this week which has helped sort these questions.
Kara-Leah Grant of TYL interviewed Jennifer Allen about the topic of safe and sustainable yoga, an approach to which she is committed. […]
A few years ago, my friend and yoga colleague, Donna Cavanough, told me about a book that she had read called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. When I visited Donna’s home, she showed me the impeccable organisation of her pantry, kitchen cupboards and bedroom drawers and wardrobe. She had followed author Marie Kendo’s notions and created a beautiful environment from what may have formerly been chaotic spaces.
Unfortunately, I am still, at age 73, rebelling against the ideas of organisation that my mother tried to instil in me. […]
Camp Creative–Fertile Ground for Creativity
It’s several days now since returning from a week at Camp Creative. This event, based in Bellingen, has something for everyone. Sixty different courses representing music, visual arts, writing, crafts, young people’s activities, dance, lifestyle, and voice. A remarkable time, as evidenced by the concert of performing artists who came together on the last night. This is a showcase for creative work in the areas of instrumental music, singing and dance. Some performers were first-timers, others more seasoned, all with their creative juices flowing.
I particularly like seeing the range of ages represented. […]
I’m part of a yoga teachers practice group which meets monthly. We get together for a led-practice and then breakfast afterwards.
It’s a mutual gathering. No one person is the boss of it. The person leading and venue of the group rotates each month. This is semi-rural Australia, so we teachers come from all over. Some have to travel 1.5 hours to attend.
Besides enjoying the benefits of learning from each other, we get to float questions. For instance, last Saturday we were talking about how some teachers present their yoga classes off-the-cuff. […]
The French word for sunflower is tournesol, meaning turning toward the sun. ~ Rosina Mihajlovic, Rudolf Steiner School teacher
More than a year ago, I did a weeklong workshop that turned ‘my story’ upside down. My story had been running me for over four decades.
It doesn’t really matter what my particular story was. Each one of us has his or her personal narrative.
In the safe and nurturing environment of the workshop, I told my story. More importantly, I felt into all the shame and pain associated with it. […]
I like to think that some wisdom has been born of age. I recognise that for most of the time, like you, I’m doing the best I can. Mistakes happen and they always will. Sometimes the more we do to have mistakes not happen just creates more painful experiences when they do.
A couple of years ago I was inspired to study the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. I blame Michael de Manicor of the Yoga Institute for giving me the necessary prod. I heard him speak at a Yoga Australia conference, and Michael’s talk enrolled me in finally having a look at the Old Sage’s writing.
I had tried to study Patanjali a few times over the course of several decades. I collected a number of commentaries, mostly unread, along the way. I decided to take a drastic step. […]
I don’t usually study with other yoga teachers and here’s why: I live hours from any major city centre and tend to stay close home. I like doing my own practice in the Yoga Shed. And, well, okay, I’m a bit of a snob. I want to study with the best when I take time to travel long distance and spend time with a teacher.
Recently, when the opportunity to study with Donna Farhi arose, I leapt at it.
She and I go back. […]
The Big Question
I wish I had more wisdom when it comes to advising yoga students about how to develop discipline or adopt a yogic lifestyle. I’ve been asked questions on this subject many times over the years and usually by people who have the best intentions.
The other night at a dinner party, I realised my weakness in being a yoga advisor. A guest who is a friend and student asked me how I balance enjoying the indulgences of life with the practice of yoga. […]
image via Pinterest
Yoga is elastic. It stretches to fit you now, and then, miraculously, it will give you a perfect fit in the future. All you have to do is jump on for the ride and stay on.
The best thing about yoga for me is the very way it is defined: union. And also that it so naturally cultivates community and connection.
Yesterday I had breakfast with three old students of mine. I don’t mean they are old. They are younger than I am. Actually, we’ve all grown older since we started on the yoga path. […]