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  • Ashtanga Yoga Plymouth

There is no age limit on ashtanga and joy....

It’s always great to see so many ‘older’ students coming to my classes and really embracing all the benefits of practicing Ashtanga yoga at their own level, using the set sequence as the bones of the practice; within which they can experiment and explore, choosing the options that suit on that particular day, and so continue to make steady progress.... As I often say in class we have the rest of our lives to practice Ashtanga and it can take time to see progress and reap the rewards. I often wish I had discovered Asthanga yoga before my 40s, as then I think I would have progressed much more quickly through each series but, after more than 10 years of daily practice, have come to realise my happiness doesn’t increase by being able to do advanced postures such as leg behind the head or kapotasana (intermediate series backbend) or whatever...the practice itself is enough for happiness.....and there’s only so far these advanced postures can take us.... But, if you can’t sit on the floor with your kids (or grandkids!) because your hips are too tight or your back is too weak, practicing just some of the seated postures every day will enable your body to open and strengthen, and will massively increase your happiness, as then your body is able to move more freely without restriction or pain. But I believe that once we hit full lotus in the progression of hip opening asana difficulty, we really aren’t going to gain much additional happiness in our life from pushing further into advanced postures.... For instance I am very comfortable in most of the ‘challenging’ postures of the primary series. The Marichyasana sequence of postures for example (Marichyasana F (fourth series) and B pictured).....but I have found no difference in happiness between a full wrist bind, a light touch of the fingers, or just holding the knee! The ‘full expression’ of the posture never matters. As I often say in class, being able to do Bhujapidasana (also pictured) will not improve your life! But squatting instead for a few minutes each day will be hugely beneficial for your hips and lower back! Ultimately, making advanced shapes can be fun but, as I also often say in class, the postures are really just shapes we make to connect with the breath - with the added benefit of being highly beneficial to our overall mental and physical health....calming the mind, reducing stress, opening the energy channels throughout the body, increasing flexibility of the spine, strengthening bones, and stimulating the circulatory and immune systems....all even more important as we start to age.... I now just think how awesome it would be if I could still comfortably practice primary series in my 60s or even 70s....if I still had hips that could sit in full lotus, the strength for all those chaturangas, and a spine flexible enough to do a decent backbend…..well then I’d be a very rare and happy 70 year old! I’d be healthy. I’d have my vitality. I’d be mobile. I’d have my life. That would be Amazing!! And achievable with a safe, consistent, gentle, enjoyable practice LONG TERM.....That’s worth the investment of an hour or so a day 👌😊🙏

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