Today’s post about the benefits of yoga as you age, is by Carol Falcon, a fabulous fifty-something woman who has lived as an expat with her husband and family in Japan, The Philippines, and is now in Florida, USA.
She’s currently volunteering at the Red Cross where she is a ‘staff services lead’.
“It’s the equivalent of an HR role. We look after Red Cross workers during a disaster,” she told me. Carol also volunteers at her local Environmental Learning Centre as a kayak guide.
Carol shows no signs of slowing up but would like to get back to the UK and her grown up children soon.
“I miss them!” She says.
Here’s her yoga story …
Yoga to the Rescue
Two years ago, a few months before my dreaded fiftieth birthday, I promised myself that I would take a proactive approach to impending old age. The idea was to get super fit and literally race past my birthday with barely a glance at it.
Not one for half measures I took up running, swimming and the (increasingly) occasional fitness classes but fate had other ideas.
It came in the form of a twisted ankle and a surprise announcement from my husband.
“Darling my job is moving to the States and I need to leave in 10 days time.”
So then I found myself crawling in a frazzled daze over the dateline.
And now, here I am in the United States and I have a different approach, you could call it “Ageing Take Two.”
Changing paradigms and bending with new circumstances
No more running, it is far too hot here in Florida, so now I do yoga instead.
Yet who would have thought that something so simple would make such a huge difference to my life, but it has.
In a past life, when living in the UK, I had occasionally tried a yoga class at the local council-run sports centre, usually taught by someone with only the vaguest notions of my chakras, and it was all very dissatisfying. However since moving to the USA I have seen the light and found a great and dedicated teacher.
Improving the balance of life
For those days when you wake up with a bit of an ache in your lower back, or shoulder (or, let’s face it, it could be an ache practically anywhere nowadays) there is always a way of stretching it out and improving the situation.
It is also a surprisingly good strength workout and can really help with the flabby bits at the back of your upper arms which seem to grow from nowhere as the years advance.
Balance is a biggie in yoga and is much on my mind at the moment as I have a couple of elderly relatives who seem to tip over at the slightest puff of wind. I have a suspicion that they would be much steadier on their feet if they had a few Tree Poses under their belts.
It pays to be flexible as you get older
The oldest woman in our class is Florence who, at 85 years of age, is an amazingly positive role model. True, she has a chair at her side to use when necessary but each week she comes along in her Lycra and works out with us, smiling all the while. We also have the wonderful CT who took up yoga in her forties and now at 66 can do the splits.
Stretching beyond the obvious
And probably the best part of all and a joyful side benefit has been meeting some great, open minded, friendly and, let’s face it, occasionally slightly wacky people who have enriched my life.
Why not – Give it a go!
Here’s a short 10 minute yoga video to give you an idea of how you could work out every major muscle group with yoga poses, in just 10 minutes.
And if you’d like to find a yoga class (recommended over using UTube videos) here’s an explanation to help you decide which one’s for you: Different types of yoga.
Anybody already practising yoga? How has it benefited you? Tell us in the comments section below 🙂