YOGA HAS SAVED my life, twice.
The first time was after a physical trauma — a quadruple coronary bypass operation. Literally, a broken heart.
The second was after a psychological trauma — a job layoff that devastated my ego.
Ironically, my physical body needed the more cerebral aspects of yoga to heal, and my psychological trauma demanded a physical practice. The cool thing about yoga, I have discovered in 20 years of practice and study, is that it offers both.
Yoga is a workout, for sure. But the asanas — or poses — are just part of it. Yoga is movement and breath and meditation: a three-legged stool.
After my bypass operation, I started slowly back to yoga with a gentle class. As I continued to practice two times a week, I could see changes in my still-hurting physical form. And though I had practiced yoga before, I did not really get the breath and meditation part of it until I was in serious need of physical healing.
I began to make those connections and found myself in meditative states on the mat. I relished the times at the beginning and end of practice when teachers would ask us to close our eyes and breathe.
About seven years after my operation, when I was laid off by a company for which I’d worked 31 years, my ego was shattered and my anger was palpable. In the following months, I went to a hot power vinyasa (flow) class nearly every day. Those tough sessions wrung me out in every way. I was sweating out all the hurt and resentment, and several times found myself in savasana — the resting pose at the end of class — in tears.
Today, I’m a part-time yoga teacher. My goal is to bring yoga to people over 50. I know from experience that it’s never too late to start, that the body will respond and the mind will follow.
FREE YOGA LESSON: It’s never too late to start your yoga practice. Join AARP Features Director Lorrie Lynch, who is a certified yoga instructor, for a free lesson geared toward beginners in their 50s and 60s. She will walk you through some basic poses while explaining how each pose benefits your mind, body and spirit. Namaste!