A new 83 year old student's take on yoga
" I AM NOT TAKING THIS FOR CERTIFICATION. I DO NOT WISH TO TEACH. I am getting older and hope to use it to prepare for death."
I have come out of my ‘shadow’ over the past decade because of students who are benefiting from yoga in the water. The program is meaningful because people of all body conditions are actually finding joy in the practice of Aqua Yoga.
In my ignorant youth, I mistook the need for approval from my peers to be a sign of mastery in the field of teaching yoga, and yet over the course of time repeatedly, (I am slow to change) have been whacked over the head metaphorically by my aqua students advocating a meaningful practice on more than just a physical level.
I am not short of volunteers to promote yoga in the water and how it is improving their lives. This is yet another story on the ‘shirt tails’ of many others that opens my heart to the practice we call ‘teaching yoga.’
Here is one case:
Student of any form of yoga : Jane. 83 years young. Brought Aqua kriya Yoga Book. I found out she laminated poses from the book and practices them in the pool with her friend a few times a week. She had such a passion for her new found interest that she actually wanted to attend the recent weekend intensive for self-improvement purposes.
Here is what she had to say:
Q) What is your current level of fitness?
A) not fit
Myth buster Yoga: you have to be young, bendy and fit to practice any style of yoga
I have come across so many students over the years that even when they come to a gentle or restorative class have this misconception of coming to the practice with a ‘fit body’
Q) What is your background training in this or related fields?
A) M.A. in Nursing Univ San Fran.;
M.A. LCMFT Santa Clara U.' Certified in Touch for Health, other certificates.
Teaching Experience? "Touch for Health" classes and "Listening" Classes for Interns at
El Camino Hospital. Classes and supervised Interns for Human Support at ECH and Stanford
(I AM NOT TAKING THIS CLASS TO TEACH OR BE CERTIFIED. I AM TAKING IT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WATER YOGA FOR PERSONAL GROWTH.)
Myth buster: You have to want to teach other people to be on an intensive course
Q) Personal Fitness Regime?
A) Last 6 months: in pool for classes 3=4 x wk. Water Yoga ALMOST every day..... (BUT need help in doing positions correctly). Taking swimming and diving lessons at present time.
Q) WHAT INTERESTS ME ABOUT YOGA?
A) "Let me count the ways..." . EVERYTHING!!! It is not traumatic to my body. The stretching, the breathing FEELS SO GOOD....Can be meditative for me...connects body and soul....vs the effect other exercise classes (which seem to be good for parts of body but concentration is on body and I do not seem to be able to connect with the spirit in the same way as in water yoga.)
Q) USING IT IN THE FUTURE?
A) I will continue to use it in the future and plan to tell everyone about it and encourage others to at least try it....already have been spreading the word. But also to everyone. I AM NOT TAKING THIS FOR CERTIFICATION. I DO NOT WISH TO TEACH. I am getting older and hope to use it to prepare for death.
OMG: did you get that yoga peeps? How many are mature enough in the yoga world to face that?
Q) CONCERNS, FEARS, WEAKNESSES?
A) 1. That I am too new to Yoga to be taking this class;
2. That I will not be able to keep up with everyone else.
3. My mind does not retain things' I am slower to "catch on"
4, I sometimes cannot hear Camilla's instructions if I am not close.
BUT the concerns, fears and weaknesses are not really worrying me nor preventing me from taking the class. I will just do what I can do and retain what I can retain.
I have had a complete LEFT hip replacement over a year ago AND have a "bad" RIGHT
KNEE: I can do almost all the positions (not correctly, of course!)..But have difficulty in ones involving spreading legs or twisting certain ways.
WHAT HAPPINESS IS FOR ME?
If one is a happy person, I think happiness means that one was born with happy genes and one is somehow programed to see things in a positive way. If one does not have those genes I think many can "program" themselves to a certain kind of happiness but it takes a lot of work for them....and perhaps medication along with meditation. I say this as a member of a family with 8 siblings...all of whom are or were very positive in outlook....just happy people through all the pain and trials that come to everyone...AND as a therapist and as a nurse on a psych unit who saw the agony of those who had to work on getting to any kind of happiness. I THINK a mind and heart filled with gratitude for even tiny blessings inevitably leads to happiness. For me happiness is just there...my whole life.
I have said it for many years. We need to help people to understand that yoga asana is not the goal in yoga or life. Yes we need to keep the body strong and healthy. But it is more than that. We have hopefully had a life of many experiences with joy and regrets we have learned from. It helps us to mature into wisdom seekers and so old age is actually a blessing if we are healthy enough to know it at a cellular level.
It really is never too late to begin a conscious Kriya of self-enlightenment.
In the kriya Dharma