I have news for her: She’s wrong.
While it’s true that of my body parts some have been seriously compromised by age and gravity, the most important, my heart, is much stronger. In fact, I feel downright badass.
And I am not alone. I am joined on the mat every week by the largest growing group in my area of yogis, the over 50 crowd. We are the Wisdom Warriors ™ named after the trademarked class created by my teacher, Desiree Rumbaugh.
When it seems these days that everyone is a yoga teacher and there are more studios than Starbucks, I am often asked why would I offer a class that is designed to exclude students rather than attract more mats? The answer is simple: I offer what I wanted to see in yoga. And apparently, I am not alone. I’ve even had to turn a few away.
From California to Colorado, the Wisdom Warriors classes are thriving. While we may be older, and some of us move a bit slower, do not, and I mean it, DO NOT count us out.
“Endurance is not a young person’s game,” said Diana Nyad, the Olympic swimmer. “You have a body that’s almost as strong, but you have a much better mind.” If there is one thing that getting older teaches us, it is how to endure.
Here are some additional reasons why the Wisdom Warriors rock:
Resilience. Nobody knows resilience like somebody who has been through it all. This is where we shine. We have lived it, we have learned from it and now we can enjoy it.
Low expectations! There is no way on God’s Green Earth that I believe I will have as strong a practice as a young man in his twenties. Do you think I would win a yoga competition? Only if it’s for Savasana. While a younger yogi is probably looking to accomplish a HUPA (Head Up yo’Asana pose), my goal is that I don’t break a hip. Therefore, when I get just one inch closer to my desired pose I am ecstatic.
Steadfastness. Hello, I am still here! That’s my motto. I am still here and every day that I’m still here I can try again, and again and again. And eventually, I surprise myself and pop my foot behind my head or balance on one hand in handstand. I am patient for the pose.
Gratitude. We are so grateful! Every day on the mat is another chance to be who we were meant to be. Another day is a chance to greet possibility with hope in our heart.
For all these reasons and more, yoga is a beautiful respite for the older student.
“Yoga is marketed to the young,” said International Yoga Teacher Christina Sell, “But the real beauty of the practice belongs to the older yogi.”
So why do we feel a need to practice in our own class? I still teach public classes for all ages, and all kinds of yogis, but the difference in the Wisdom Warriors class is community. It is a safe environment to reveal who we are, and who we were. We can reveal our new knees and hips, the wear and tear of the years on our bodies, the fears and other baggage we’ve acquired along the way.
We also understand the intense desire to not give up. We still dream of creating more in our lives. We will not settle for less! Together we stand taller and brighter in our dreams. Because unlike my younger colleague, we know it gets better.
“We are all just walking each other home,” said Ram Dass. In the Wisdom Warriors class, we will walk each other home, and keep excellent company along the way.
Courtesy of My Yoga Online.