Thursday, July 20, 2017

You Are Not Too Old, and It is Not Too Late!

You are not too old, and it is not too late. 60 reasons to practice yoga:

1. Your hands, your wrists, your hips, your back, your shoulders hurt - why not try to make them feel better naturally.
2. The more that you stretch or balance, the more confident you feel.
3. Age is just a number and so is what the scale says; why not just move and stay young at heart?
4. Pro-prio-ception is what helps me to know where my body is in space. It aides me in both my fine and gross motor skills.
5. Slowing down my breath calms my mind.
6. Yoga strengthens my upper body, and that alone can prevent my back from being injured.
7. I can choose what I will think about instead of allowing my mind to roam towards negative thinking.
8. It's okay to be the oldest person in yoga school. Especially when you have the wisdom to know how to take better care of yourself while doing arm balances.
9. Strong is the new skinny. Use weight lifting to build the strength you need. Sag is just not cute or fun.
10. Growing older is a mind-set. If you think you can't, you're probably right.

11.  Most people are afraid of what they don't know anything about; yet, yoga has given far more to me to increase my walk with God, my healthy mind-set, and my body's ability to withstand aging than I can ever describe fully.
12.  Gentle movements, even from a chair, are beneficial for releasing hip, shoulder, and back tension.
13.  Forward head habits increase back pain, and yoga helps you stand straighter and more confidently.
14.  Alternate nostril breathing, Nadi Shodhana, helps to balance our my brain along with the right and left sides of my body. 
15.  I concentrate better now than I ever had.  My body and mind are a little over busy and have a difficult time quieting down.  Yoga helps me pay attention.
16.  Sometimes life hurts, sometimes people hurt you, and sometimes you make horrible mistakes.  Yoga helps you learn to release or let go of the mental attachments to the ego.
17.  My mat is a safe place.  When you struggle with fear or anxiety, home is your mat, and your mat is like a home to you.
18.  Breathing is essential for life, but most people never realize that they chronically hold their breath. "Breathing in, I calm my body; breathing out I smile," by Thich Nhat Hanh, is one of my favorite mantras.
19.  The "loving kindness meditation" has become my prayer for others.
  • May they be filled with loving-kindness.  
  • May they be free from suffering.  
  • May they safe from harm and never parted from freedom's true joy.  
  • May they be at peace.  
Especially when people cause feelings of un-forgiveness; it is a way to release the negative, bitter thoughts.
20.  The Chakras were once weird to me, and I shied away from them.  As I grow I have begun to release the true power that the spine and its corresponding glands with hormone release in my body.  Clearing your chakras is a good idea!
21.  Teaching yoga has become my life work, and sharing its benefits remind me of how much it has helped me change as I become all God had planned for me to be.
22.  Tolerance and acceptance of others is a big part of the yogi mindset.  When you stop judging and fighting for control, you will be amazed at how much nicer you are to yourself and others.
23.  Every one struggles.  "The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence."  Yoga encourages us to quit judging and competing for perfection.  It is all about patience, persistence, progress, practice.
24.  Insomnia is really a big bad wolf.  People often say how awesome it is that I can exercise so much and go without sleep.  However, I am working very diligently to be the smart pig who built his house with bricks and took a long nap.  (:
25.  Essential oils are amazing, and I use them with my yoga practice to help my body be healthier with less pain.  Lavender is the most versatile essential oil!
26.  I always wanted to be BRAVE and have great COURAGE, the core poses in yoga strengthen that area of my spine and abdominal region.  It's no secret that I am addicted to planks.
27.  It's not where you come from or where you have been, it's where you are going.  I am choosing to go out strong and feeling good about myself.
28.  I have beautiful grandchildren, and it gives me GREAT JOY to get in the floor to play with them.  
Yoga allows me to get up and get down with ease.
29.  Never having been a gymnast or a dancer, I am amazed how someone with such tight connective tissue can go upside down.  I love being inverted!  This week I have done Scorpion pose several times, and I feel terrific!

30. Yoga gives me the feeling of lightness and space; sitting too much, not moving enough makes me feel chronically tired.
31.  The more I study about the human body and its anatomy, the more I know I don't know. I continue studying to become more informed on how the muscles, tendons, and ligaments work.  It truly fascinates me.
32. Years ago I had a BIG dream.  It was to have a yoga studio in my home, and for the studio to be clean, calm, and comfortable.  That dream has come true.  The second part of the dream was to become a yoga therapist so that I had the knowledge and the wisdom on how to help people with pain issues, anxiety or depression, find a better way to live, know peace...thus, Tranquility Yoga Studio came to be.
33.  Being 60 is hard.  Our culture only glorifies the young, the thin, and the wealthy.  But, being 60 is fabulous, when you keep growing, moving, and changing for the better.
34.  I have some chronic leg issues.  My knees hurt.  I am terribly bold-legged.  My hips get out of whack in the SI Joint area, and I tend to supinate when I walk.  Yoga is slowly but surely getting all of the issues better.  Spin on the bike has helped my knees tremendously.
35.  While I would love to say, all my relationships are P-E-R-F-E-C-T, I cannot.  Because truth is my identity.  I prefer to tell the truth and get all of the pink elephants out of the room. This has not always worked in favor.  But, knowing that my throat chakra wants to speak my truth, and my heart chakra wants it done with loving-kindness helps me to know I am not as weird as some people would like for me to believe.  
36.  I think that we are ruined by "comparison-thinking," and the more I think that way the worse I feel.  So, each day, I have learned to stop chasing the gerbils and just let it be the way it is.  Acceptance feels better.  Yoga teaches me to accept what is and let go of what I think it should be.
37.  Begin with the "end in mind," Stephen Covey often says.  Oh, how I wish I knew at 18 what I know now.  However, I only have control over the next years by the attitudes I cultivate right now in the present moment.  My 90 will look better because I know at 60 that peace is a process, and yoga is my avenue to find it.
38.  Friends are not friends when they cannot accept you for who you are.  Many people pretend to be your friends, but as Brian says, "Be friendly, but choose your friends wisely. They are few."  Friends forgive.  Friends believe the best.  Friends share common interests.
39.  When you do not have a reason to go on, get on your yoga mat and breathe.  Say to yourself, "I am loved.  I am safe.  I am confident.  I am creative.  I am loving and forgiving.  I am truth.  I am intuitive.  I am at peace with God."  Thus, the tattoo on my left forearm.
"Nevertheless, she persisted."
40.  Chanting always kind of freaked me out.  But, I now realize the purpose for our chant.  It is to change what we are saying to ourselves.  You can chant Scriptures, you can chant quotes, you can chant poems, you can chant Sanskrit.  Here is a favorite chant on the mat:
  • lokah: location, realm, all universe
  • samastah: all beings sharing that same location
  • sukhino: centered in happiness and joy, free from suffering
  • bhav: the divine mood or state of unified existence
  • antu: may it be so, it must be so
42.  I hope to share the love of yoga with children.  It is amazing after teaching school for over 30 years how education has changed.  Children naturally love yoga, and I love to teach them how to pay attention when balancing, sing when sad, move when frustrated, and quiet down when overly aroused.  I teach free classes at the park, at the studio, and at the public library to share this wonderful purpose.
43.  Nope!  I am not good at meditating.  There it is.  I have to set a timer.  I have to make myself do it.  But the benefits are totally transforming.  I become less "re-active," and more "pro-active."  When I trained with Jonathan Foust in Washington DC, I told him that I wanted to SCREAM in the long meditations, and he said, "Me, too."  It totally made me feel better.
44.  Yoga outside is better than yoga inside.  But, there are bugs.  Actually the bugs were there happily going about their daily routine before you showed up with your yoga mat, so I flick them off and keep practicing.
45.  Yoga is not just for skinny people.  I am amazed at how yoga can be the perfect exercise for people who are larger.  I like knowing that whether I weigh 221 pounds or 121 pounds, yoga is for me.
46.  Three part breath on my back with Supta Baddha Konasana is my favorite pose to begin class with because it focuses my mind.  The lying down helps me get in touch with where I am in the moment; the belly rising and falling makes me pay attention to my breath.
47.  Do you have an injury?  Me, too!  I was in a car wreck on the Broken Arrow expressway on my way to a literacy conference in 2007 when I was rear-ended by a fast moving car.  It was January and the roads were slick.  The cars ahead of me had stopped.  Living in Nebraska back in my late teens helped me to know to pump the brakes rather than slam to skid.  Apparently, the lady speeding down a slick highway had not learned that lesson.  My shoulder has never been the same.  But, every day, I get back on my mat to say, "I am getting better and better with every practice."  Life isn't simple, and sometimes we get hurt through no fault of our own.
48.  No MIRRORS!  There is no mirror at all in our yoga studio.  We are our own mirrors, and we already know what we look like or perhaps we don't care how crazy sweaty appears.  Just focus inward and mind your own mat!
49.  I have eaten way too much in my life, and I believe that food is the most over-used anxiety drug.  I never see anyone who is too curvy from eating broccoli (unless it has cheese and butter sauce).  Sometimes I still eat too large of a quantity.  However, it feels good to practice yoga on an empty tummy, and I am learning I feel better to stop before I am full.  Yoga teaches me to eat slowly and pay attention to the amount I am consuming.
50.  I like running.  In fact, running was a tremendous stress reliever for me.  I am a runner at heart.  If I feel upset, I want to run.  If I feel frustrated, I want to run.  If I feel anxious, I want to run.  My knees, however, hate running and swell to enormous proportions.  The doctor says, "Running is just not for you."  What to do?  Learn to be still and get back on my yoga mat.  I don't have to run away just because the emotions are rising.  I can sit with the pain and be okay.  Thank you, yoga, for helping me with that issue.
51.  Teaching is like giving birth.  I have given birth to three children and thousands of yoga classes.  Right after I teach, vulnerability rushes in.  Please don't tell me that my baby is ugly or you didn't appreciate the poses right then.  I can handle it much better later on. Besides, I can be my own worst critic, and your judgment just enhances the negative voice already present in my mind.  Send me an email or text me later.  We can work it on it together on why you hated my class or this special pose.
52.  I feel closest to God on my yoga mat.  Yes, now I have said it.  I like my church, too; in fact, one of the paintings on the wall is from a stained glass window at my local gathering of faith filled people.  But, when I am on mat, I know God is with me, and I am okay.
53.  Never having owned a business before, I have made some crazy mistakes with people, scheduling, pricing, and ideas.  However, being a classroom teacher came easy to me.  I bet I still made mistakes there, too.  Sometimes God asks us to get out of our comfort zone and try something totally foreign in order to build humility.  Yep!  I am humble because I have made lots of oops!
54.  Easy was never a learning curve for me.  Hard always was.  I guess I keep challenging myself on the mat for the more difficult poses because I learn as I go.  It is my own practice, and sometimes the hardest part is being still for final relaxation.
55.  Journaling is something that helps me, and I have lately begun to take my journal with me to the mat with a pen.  If I get a fresh insight, I write it down.  Later, I am refreshed seeing the little epiphanies I have achieved while practicing.
56.  Let's talk about parenting or step-parenting.  It truly is the most difficult, most rewarding, most frustrating job in the planet.  Yoga helps me let go of my expectations for some type of normality to this parenting experience and just "be" with what it truly is.
57.  "Comparison is the thief of joy," Theodore Roosevelt once said, and it sure has stolen a lot of my own joy of living.  Comparing and competing just rock my world in a bad way.  So, I try to stay off social media for that reason.  I am what I am.  Everyone else looks better and happier sometimes.  So, my little black mat on the orange yoga room floor still welcomes me back to "be enough."
58.  Have you ever lost a friend?  Not to death, but to life.  It is the most gut wrenching experience.  I continually ask myself, "Why or what or how or if," and it never stops hurting. But, true friendship never says, "Never."  So, I must cultivate contentment and know the friends that stay were the "real" ones.
59.  I got a tattoo for my birthday, but it really was meant to be a statement to myself. "Never the less she persisted," is my promise to never entertain dark thoughts of giving up ever again.  It may be tacky to some people, but it sure means a lot to me.
60.  My big 6-0 is almost here, and yoga has helped me heal so many hurts from my childhood, my adulting, and my present moment.  I plan to teach until I move heavenward. Come practice with me, the best is yet to be.

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