Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Do You Want To Know The Best Age To Start Yoga?

Do you want to know the best age to start practicing yoga? Well, you can start at any age! I know of five year old children attending classes and I know of Octogenarians who practice daily. I started in my mid forties and the thing is, all of us seem to be benefiting from it.

A forty year old friend mentioned that she feels she is too inflexible to practice but as someone once said, 'saying you are too inflexible to practice yoga is like saying you are too dirty to take a bath!'On that note, I would like to share with you a wonderful resource for the older yoga enthusiast.  It's a book called 'The New Yoga for People Over 50' and it's by a lovely lady called Suza Francina.  I know she is lovely because I have researched her and I have discovered her blog.

I am not over fifty years of age just yet but I am hurtling towards it. I was forty four when I started practicing yoga two years ago. If you are thinking of starting yoga and you feel you are too old, you can read how I started here  .

Product Details

I bought the Kindle edition of the book on my iphone so that I could start it as soon as possible. Yes.  I am impatient and though yoga has helped me to be less so, sometimes I have relapses! I love reading anything and everything about yoga, mainly online, but I will purchase the hard copy of anything that impresses me. I recently purchased 'Beat fatigue With Yoga' by Fiona Agombar after borrowing it from the library.

I am enthusiastic about yoga now where, in the past, I was not so convinced.  I did a few classes many years ago and then again a few years later at my workplace. While I found it better the second time, it just didn't impact on me the way it has this time. I believe I just wasn't ready to embrace it back then.I suppose I wasn't middle aged then and I didn't have any physical issues.Since starting to practice two years ago, yoga helped with both my physical and self esteem issues.

The first time I attended class, I was in pain and had to practice from a chair. I was surprised that not only was my teacher an older lady but many of the other students were older too. One man was eighty two and was able to do things that I could not.  He still attends the same class at eighty four and is living proof of the benefits of yoga. After a few months of specific postures to help with my back problems, I was able to practice from the mat like everyone else. It was such a wonderful feeling, and to this day, I have much less pain than I used to have. I can actually bend without moaning and I can walk much further than before.

The first time I attended class, I was also self conscious and fully sure I wouldn't stick at it. I am not fond of exercise and rarely stick at anything exercise related! I was worried about what I looked like in my yoga gear, being slightly overweight. I was worried how silly I would look trying to do Asanas/postures. I was surprised to find that everybody was so intent on their own practice and breathwork that nobody cared. Nobody is more surprised than myself that I am still practicing over two years later.

Yoga may not be for everyone but I feel that for most people, if they could stick at it for a few months, they would begin to see the benefits. Don't be impatient if it takes a while for things to 'click' with you.  Like most things, it is a learning process and two years later, I am  still learning more and more with each session. I did not and do not expect to undo years of negativity and self sabotage in a short period of time. However, I have found that with yoga, you not only learn to see things in a clearer way, you learn to breath properly, you learn to quiet the mind and you learn to love your own body.

You pick up so much information on physiology and anatomy, that it inspires curiosity about things you may not have thought about before. Flexibility, correct alignment and self awareness come with practice.  Like anything, the secret is to keep practicing.   I recently read an article about how yoga can cause injury to the body but in my opinion, any exercise practised over zealously and without proper guidance can do this.  I feel from my own experience and the experiences of many others that the benefits definitely outweigh the risks.

If you think you are too inflexible or too old take a look at these inspirational people and maybe you will be convinced!  Also take a look at this terrific site for some practical information on beginning yoga

Have you ever tried yoga classes and what was your experience?  Or do you practice yoga regularly? I would love to hear how old you were when you started.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Yoga Reads!

I am currently working my way through some fictitious and autobiographical yoga books. I will mention each of them in my blogs posts.

The one I am reading now and which I can so see a lot of myself in is called 'Downward Dog, Upward Frog' by Meryl Davids Landau. I haven't finished the book yet but the piece I just read resonated with me so I thought I would blog about it!

In it, the main character Lorna, is at a spiritual gathering of women friends.  They do an exercise in which they look at the meaning of everyones names.    For instance, one of the characters is called 'Aliza' which means 'joyous one'.  Everytime somebody would speak to her or call her name, after doing this exercise, she would now associate it with being joyous and feel that actual emotion. Or at least remind herself to be joyful. The point of the exercise is to see if we can find inspiration from our names and if we can use that information to uplift ourselves, to help us reach for our highest self.

It got me looking up my own name. According to my research the name derives from Latin and French and can mean light, illustrious and clear. This made me laugh because for a lot of my life I have neither been light nor clear about anything.  I have not been light or clear in body or in mind!  On many occasions I have been unable to see the light or indeed to recognise my inner light.  I have struggled with weight issues and depression for much of my life, and I am still a work in progress.

 However, if I am to use my name to my advantage, I will now remember when someone addresses me that I want to be light and bright and clear. I want to be a guiding light in my own life and the life of my son and others.

I think it's a great exercise, using our names to uplift ourselves and help us along on our spiritual journey.  What does your name mean and how will you use it to raise your own vibrations?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Yoga - A Gem For Women

Yoga, A Gem for Women.  So says Geeta Iyengar, the sixty something eldest daughter of the famous BKS Iyengar, founder of Iyengar yoga.  I found this lovely interview over at the Yoga For Life Facebook page and thought I would share:


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Can You Ever Get Enough Hugs? How do you feel?

I have also posted this over at my main blog FortySomethingFirstTimeMum.  I welcome comments on both blogs!

Can you ever get enough hugs?  The answer for some, would be a resounding yes because they don't consider themselves to be huggy people. They are uncomfortable with touchy, feely people and so they retreat from, rather than respond to the hugs.

The answer for others, like my mother and other senior citizens that I have asked, would be no, because they simply do not get many, if any at all.

I would consider myself to be slightly resistant to hugs. I feel a little uncomfortable and find it hard to hug back. My brothers, who were never particularly huggy growing up, now greet and say goodbye with one. At a kiddie's party the other week, it was as if people could sense this from me as they didn't greet me with a hug as they did with others. I always feel a certain caginess about hugging and I wonder why, since I do feel good when I am given one.  I wonder if it's because of my background or if its just something inert in me.  As my Dad got older he used to give us what we called 'bone crusher' hugs, but I can't remember him doing that when we were younger. My mother hugged us a lot as children, but not so much when we grew up.

Yet, as a mother, I have no difficulty in accepting hugs from my little son.  There is nothing that fills me with so much joy as a hug from those little arms.  My mother loves to get hugs from her grandchildren as do many of her friends with theirs.  They say they simply don't get as many these days.  As their spouses and close relatives and friends are passing on, the hugs are few and far between.  Since I heard this, I have been making efforts to hug my mother much more. Sometimes it's hard, after a conversation where I am being criticised as only mothers can do with their daughters, but I do it anyway. Though she wants and accepts the hugs and always seems delighted, I can still sense a kind of reticence where she wants to respond but holds back.  If we get hugged less as we get older, I better start giving and receiving more now!

Once, on a family holiday to France, we passed through Barcelona.  In the square, at the Cathedral, it felt like such a happy place.  There were people hanging around with signs offering 'free hugs' and there were people just going up to avail of them.  For someone who is slightly nervous of being hugged,  I felt compelled to give and receive one.  The feeling was very strong and I thought I might actually do it.  Then I looked at my parents-in-law who are quite reserved and knew they wouldn't approve.  My father in law thought they were weirdos and since I often suspect he thinks I am too, I decided against it!  They were more interested in entering the Cathedral for the latin mass so that is what I ended up doing too.  It was beautiful but I would have preferred a free hug, given that I am usually so reserved about them.

There is even a facebook page and a website dedicated to the 'Free Hugs'  Check out this picture.

There is a woman known as 'Amma' who travels the world hugging people.  She believes in the loving healing power of the hug.  Apparently she has hugged more than 20 million people in all parts of the world.  Now there is someone who is not afraid of hugs!

Am I alone with my feelings on this?  How do you feel about hugs?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Growing Old In Ireland

I went back to yoga this morning after a few weeks absence due to illness, fatigue and family matters.

It was fantastic to get back to it, to feel so alive again.  I had made half hearted attempts to practice daily but could manage no more than a few minutes a day.  I had some kind of virus which knocked my energy out of me, resulting in a throat infection, a cough, a sinus infection and culminating with a sty in my eye! Nice!

I certainly needed to get to class this morning to reconnect with myself and to restore my inner calm.  My elderly mother had been upset because she found out that her home carer is being taken away from her. This revelation has such a domino effect and upsets a lot of people.  My mother needs this help as you will know if you read my blog post over at my main blog.  It upsets my mother, her immediate family, her friends in similar situations and the carers themselves.

After the class, the meditation and the relaxation, I decided that rather than just be upset about it, I would take action.  It's a small action that may also have a domino effect if I pursue it.  I decided to write about it on my blog, post it to various radio and tv programmes and send personal emails to various government ministers.

A fitting quote to end on  'Say what you want to say when you have the feeling and the chance. My greatest regrets are the things I did not do, the opportunities missed and the things unsaid'. (J Keller)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Yoga - Boring or Beneficial?

The other day a friend of mine asked me why I bothered going to yoga class.  She said that any time she had tried yoga, she found it to be boring and futile.  She felt it was far preferable to go to a zumba or kettlebells workout class.  Much more fun apparently, and  you burn off calories and lose weight.

I could see her point to a degree. I mean, who doesn't want to burn off calories and keep trim and fit?  However, I know, from experience that yoga can do this too.  I have often found myself sweating the calories away when trying to hold a pose.  Okay, I may have to breathe gently into the posture, but every minute, calories are still being burnt.  In fact, I lost 17lbs in my first year of doing yoga, because yoga actually made me more aware of the rubbish I was allowing into my body.So, it has helped me to lose weight and it has definitely helped my flexibility.  I could not bend without back pain before and now I can touch my toes! I have since put 7lbs back on but I haven't been devoting as much time to my practice as I want to. However, I am still more aware than I was before I took up yoga!

Yes, yoga may seem boring at first.  I thought this when I first tried a class many years ago.  The problem back then was that I associated stillness with boredom.  When I started yoga again in my forties, I had a totally different experience.  The stillness that we practice in meditation, relaxation and the actual asanas/postures helps me to connect to something within me that I didn't know was even there.  It makes me slow down and connect to my inner self. Every body part we take our mind to in relaxation makes me grateful to be alive.  It helps me to accept the body I have and even more, the person  I am.

I haven't always felt like this so discovering yoga properly has been a fantastic thing for me. Sure, I would still like to be slimmer, more relaxed, more sanguine.  But hey, I can still strive for these things but not be devastated and depressed when I don't acquire them.

What do others think?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Recording Moments without living Them......

The bus is waiting for people to complete boarding. It is hot and I shift uncomfortably in my seat.  My eyes are drawn to what is going on outside.  In the square, children are riding on Greek donkeys. A father follows alongside the donkeys holding a camera.  He is recording every moment of his childrens' adventure.

I know how that goes.  You want every moment of your child's life to stay in your memory. You try get as much of it as you can on film. Then, if your memory should ever fail you, you have proof that it really happened.  People say, our children grow up so quickly and now I know it's true.  I miss my baby already and he is only four.

As the bus moves off, I glance across at the two men in my life.  They are snoozing gently, man and boy, oblivious to my gaze. I produce my camera and take a photo, then a video. An elderly woman smiles at me knowingly.

It occurs to me that, like the man with the children on the donkeys, I may well be too busy recording moments to really enjoy them. At every turn, on this Greek holiday, I am taking pictures and videos, desperate not to miss anything. But by doing this, am I really able to enjoy what is happening in the moment?

Are we so busy recording events, that we don't actually  get to enjoy living them?  Do we just live the moment over and over later, as we watch the recording back?  Is that when we actually notice things we didn't 'see' at the actual event? I find it bizarre when I really think about it and yet I am compelled to do it.

As I stare out at the passing landscapes of Greece, I resolve to relax the camera and  exercise my memory!