About 13 years ago Paul and I started attending yoga classes at the Mount Cotton Hall. We did this because we felt our slowing temporal bodies needed some boosting and at last we could go to something local, just down the road.
Until now, we’d always had to drive 30 minutes or so each way for activities. Thirteen years later we still join with other yogis regularly for body and soul rejuvenation.
The benefits of yoga for senior bodies are bountiful. Yoga isn’t just an exercise regime. According to the Applied Leisure Sciences Lab, yoga is both a science and an art.
Yoga is a science because it offers specific, practical methods for obtaining physical benefits.
I have personal evidence of this. Last year my doctor, who is diligent to the extreme, couldn’t find anything new wrong with me, so after scrutinizing my medical records, she sent me for a bone density test.
When the results came back, despite my age, my bone density had improved by six per cent since 2017.
She, on looking through my medical records, put this down to yoga. I was incredulous, but since then, a specialist and a physiotherapist have also agreed with her theory.
Yoga is an art, because its highest benefits come through sensitive and intuitive practice like dance, music and painting.
One day I arrived at early morning yoga cheesed off with the world. Poor me. When I sat on my mat, the yoga teacher with usual calm, started controlled breathing and then said, “think of what you have to be grateful for.” In the tranquility of the yoga mat, I realized I had much to be grateful for and little to complain about and this not only influenced my thinking on that day, but still tempers my emotions four years later.
Yoga evokes the emotional response of an art.
Yoga is particularly good for seniors because it works with the body, not against it. It is definitely not part of the “no pain, no gain” regime. The mantras I most hear from my yoga teacher are: don’t over-reach; work with your body, not against it; breathe.
Our teacher Nicole trains yoga teachers and once a year we go on a retreat joining with the trainee teachers and spending free time imbibing the natural beauty of the hinterland, bush walks, waterfalls and a fudge shop about a kilometre walk away. I’ve often wondered why, despite the activity, I gain weight on these retreats.
But back to Mount Cotton Hall. We have a special intergenerational micro-community at yoga forged over the years. We chat after class and ask after each other. One, an artist, has even done a painting of a house for me. Yoga is good for us all in so many ways. Namaste.