Growing old has a way of taking things away from you. It happens gradually like the passing of time.
You lose your mobility, your mind, your motivation and even your will to live. They slip away one at a time, or even worse, all at once.
As your body ages you become soft and slow and stiff and painful. When your spirit fades and someone asks how you are doing, you say, “There’s no use complaining.”
Needless to say, people like this are no longer fun to be around. Maybe they have just given up.
But, there is hope for those still willing to try to help themselves.
Yoga can free yourself from your fountain of sorrow and find your fountain of youth.
No matter your age or issues, yoga has something for you. The health benefits of yoga are seemingly endless. Just to name a few, yoga increases flexibility, builds muscle strength, improves posture, reduces fatigue, increases blood flow, boosts your immune system, and maybe most important of all, yoga increases self-esteem.
It’s no accident that yoga poses emulate the movements of legendary wild animals like the cobra, eagle, swan and lion. Yoga poses also try to duplicate some of the most powerful shapes in the universe like those of a star, half-moon, mountain and tree. There are even a series of warrior poses, and for the real young at heart there is a pose called the wild thing.
Without going to yoga I never would have experienced my out-of-class magical moment which happened after walking up a flight of stairs.
Like many people I used to walk up my basement stairs slowly and sluggishly with one hand on the rail. Then one day long after I began attending yoga classes I was going up the basement stairs and suddenly realized that I seemed to be gliding up the stairs effortlessly. As I ascended, I said to myself I seem to be flowing and not walking up the stairs. Then when I reached the top, it happened. I struck a yoga pose.
My right foot stayed planted on the floor which isn’t unusual, except that I immediately extended my left leg straight behind me parallel to the floor, while bending forward and raising both arms up and away from my shoulders. Without thinking I remained motionless as still as a statue, in a Warrior III yoga pose.
My body responded to my thoughts as if of its own volition. My body seemed to be speaking out and reinforcing those thoughts. My body was saying, “I feel good so keep breathing slowly and deeply, through the nose, down the throat, into the lungs, and back out, the same way.”
Two common yoga resting postures are called Child’s pose and Happy Baby pose. The simple names and the natural position of these poses will help you connect with your long lost inner child, even in a room full of people, because little children don’t have busy minds, just carefree spirits.
The final rest and meditation pose taken at the end of each yoga session is not just restorative but transformative. It’s called Savasana or corpse pose. It eventually reminded me of Lazarus rising from the dead after his tombstone was rolled away from his grave.
Finally, a day came when after Savasana, I felt like a new person rising from corpse pose, not from a mat rolled on the floor, but from an open coffin in the corner of a room.
When your time comes to rise, you will not return to life as one of the living dead, but as someone who has found their fountain of youth.