Bridging the Divided

Yoga For Seniors – It’s A Thing

The interesting yet disturbing thing about aging is that the mind doesn’t age at the same rate as the body. Can I get an amen? 

Case in point: exercise. We just don’t move as much as we did in our younger days. Nevertheless, we need to keep our bodies active, our muscles engaged, and focus our energies on strength, flexibility, and balance. My strength, flexibility, and balance retired a few years back. I guess I misplaced the memo.

Ten plus years ago, I practiced yoga daily. The other day, a brilliant thought entered my head: practice yoga during lunchtime. It will get me away from the computer for a bit and rejuvenate my mind, body, and spirit. I’m not a complete idiot, so I searched Youtube until I found yoga for seniors videos. Yes, it’s a thing. I decided to start slowly, work into more complex moves as my body acclimated, and found videos under 30 minutes. The videos are hosted by charming ladies clearly in their golden years easily posing, bending, and stretching their fit, toned bodies. I do not possess a fit, toned body – not these days, anyway. I am hoping to coax it back out of retirement.

My yoga practice involves 3 dogs, a cat. What could possibly go wrong? Day one: I spread my mat on the floor, clicked onto my video of choice, and took a deep cleansing breath as instructed. So far, so good. A few warm-up stretches followed, and then we started a shortened version of the Sun Salutation sequence. This was more challenging than I remembered. Pressing on, I survived and we ended with a child’s pose to stretch and relax. At least that was the idea. As I settled into the child’s pose, face on the mat, arms stretched forward, my relaxation was upended when Kaiah, our 5-pound Yorkie, decided to jump onto my back from the recliner. I guessed we were done for the day.

Day two: Spreading the mat on the floor, we started with a deep cleansing breath followed by a few Warrior poses, during which Sophie, the cat, settled in-between my feet. Warrior II pose involves looking forward over the fingertips of the outstretched arm – meaning I didn’t see Sophie settling between my feet. Pulling the back leg forward to the front of the mat, my foot caught Sophie launching her into the air. After she landed, Sophie shook it off and glared at me as if my sole intention was to disturb her nap on the mat. The phone rang and yoga practice concluded – duty calls.

Day three: Not to be deterred on my journey toward strength, flexibility, and balance, I spread my mat on the floor and took a deep cleansing breath. In unison with the Yogi who spoke in a lovely and soothing British accent, I stretched, bent, and twisted as best I could while wobbling on shaky legs. Balance is important as we age – clearly, mine is lacking. As we stretched toward the sky, the floor, and twisted our bodies, she commented on how good the stretches felt. Her next words were, and I quote, “Listen to your body.” I don’t know what her body was saying but mine was creaking, cracking, and popping – loudly. 

Day four: On this day, we managed to get through the poses and to the closing stretches. Slowly lowering myself onto my back, vertebrae by vertebrae, at the instruction of the silver-haired Yogi, we settled into corpse pose or Shavasana – basically, the final resting pose. Soothing music provided the background as the Yoga instructor in her soft voice encouraged me, and whoever else had tuned in, to let the muscles of the face, the chest, the abdomen – you get the picture – relax and melt into the floor. While allowing the stress to leave every muscle and feeling myself melt into the floor, I was unceremoniously catapulted back into complete awareness when simultaneously, a rough dog tongue was thrust into my right ear canal and a 5-pound dog leaped from the ottoman onto my relaxed abdomen, walked to my chest, and stared directly into my eyes. I would like to believe they were checking on me lest I had actually entered the final resting pose. Likely, their concern had more to do with them getting ice cream later…..

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