Beginning Yoga as a Boomer, Not a "Bendy"

As a baby boomer yoga teacher who is passionate about introducing yoga to those who think they are too old to begin a yoga practice, I often reflect on what to tell my peers, who think they can’t do yoga because they’re not a young “bendy” (my term for the typical yogi or yogini in a studio class).

The most common excuses I hear are:  I’m not flexible, I don’t have good balance, I can’t get down on the floor or up from the floor like I used to. I get it. But here’s my question for you: Is your unwillingness to consider beginning a yoga practice part of an overall attitude toward aging? In what other ways does this resistance show up? This is worth examining, because we now know that our outlook on aging greatly determines the quality of our life as we get older.

What if you knew you could tailor your yoga practice to fit your life today, and modify it to suit your current physical capability? What if that became your starting point, and you gradually discovered yourself becoming stronger, more flexible, had fewer ailments, and in general felt more peaceful and uplifted?

We boomers have a huge advantage over the “bendys”, in my opinion, because what we may lack in physical strength and agility, we make up for in knowing ourselves – something only possible because of greater life experience. We are more introspective, and less influenced by the external world than we were in our youth. This parallels the yoga teaching of Pratyahara – turning our senses inward, withdrawing our mind from external objects and experiences. We are more ready and willing to listen to our body, which is a perfect place to start. As I tell my students, if you’re forcing your body into a pose, vs modifying the pose to fit your body, you’re not practicing yoga. Yoga is about honoring our body in this moment. It is the practice of Ahimsa – causing no harm, and being compassionate with ourselves, and others.

“Today is the youngest I will ever be. I am pure potential.” These words of Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. energize and inspire me. I am timeless and age is irrelevant. Yoga is ageless and timeless. I invite you to take your first step on the journey that is yoga.

If you’re currently a baby boomer practicing yoga, please leave a comment and share your experience about beginning your yoga practice, and, the difference yoga has made for you. If you have a friend or relative who you would like to introduce to yoga, please share this post with them.