yoga and aging

what yoga helps me remember

Here I am, on my mat, wobbling in Tree Pose; no longer a sturdy tree as I was a decade ago when I started my practice. However, I am still standing, still capable of finding a way to balance on one leg, even as my body keeps changing, and as I try to understand these changes.

It’s taken years for me to accept my body as it ages. It is a natural part of aging, and to understand that nature always changes. I love that I can still bend further backwards than I thought possible; to reach my ankles in Camel Pose. But losing my balance suddenly in Triangle, can make me feel like I’ve just received a sucker punch to the gut. Just the idea of change surprises me, even though I know that change is part of life. I know that life is change, that people change, that I change, and that the world itself changes.

Change, any kind of change, I realize now, has always made me anxious. Change makes me feel fearful and threatened. When I notice that something has changed in my practice, such as being wobbly in Tree Pose, or how I sometimes fall out of balance in Triangle Pose, I feel uneasy, distressed, and disturbed.

I keep asking myself, “Why should these changes disturb me?” Perhaps it’s because I’m afraid of the time when my body will change so much that I may not to be able to hold my balance in Tree Pose? Or even more afraid, that I might not be able to reach my ankles in Camel, or simply walk across a room?

Luckily, yoga reminds me to stay in the present and that change is a natural part of life. I can be grateful for the ability to take pleasure in the things that my body is still able to do. I need only to breathe deeply into a pose to remember that life is change, and that I am changing and evolving, just as the earth is changing and evolving.

At times like these, when I find myself wobbling in Tree Pose, I can remember my sudden ability to lift my shoulders and hips off the floor in Upward Facing Bow, a change so stunning that I can only watch in awe as it occurs.

Even the changes in my body as I grow older are stunning, part of the miracle of life. Yoga helps me remember this.

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