In yoga this morning, the teacher announced that one of our fellow students is celebrating her birthday today – her 70th birthday, to be exact. Wow. I asked the birthday gal when she started doing yoga, and she replied, “Oh, when I retired – about five years ago.” This is wonderfully cool to me: 1) That an older woman is fit enough to push her body via what can be a demanding form of exercise, and 2) That this older woman began something completely new-to-her when she was 65 years old.
As the class moved past the warm-up phase, and entered the apex section, the teacher instructed us to individually practice one of three poses: we were to choose between forearm stand, headstand, or handstand. As we all struggled with kicking into the air, finding balance, overcoming fear, and wrestling with physical strength, we heard the teacher shriek with delight: one of the students kicked up into a handstand, and was maintaining the pose! I looked to the end of the room where the student was, and saw a 61-year old woman completely inverted on her hands. Again, to see an older lady (with gray hair and wrinkles) maintain a pose that many young, spry, twisty-bendy yogis can’t do, was wildly cool!
At the end of the class, we sang “Happy Birthday” to the 70-year-old student; and then someone asked the teacher, “Hey, wasn’t your birthday just yesterday?” The teacher blushed slightly, then admitted that yes, yesterday she turned 65 years old. So here was a third older lady who is also an impressive yogi. (This teacher does the Ashtanga Primary Series – talk about a kick in the pants! That series kicks my butt!)
These women are terrific examples and role models for me. Seeing them not only active and engaged in life, but truly (literally) strong and balanced and powerful – damn. It really knocked my socks off; and I grinned the entire drive home (honestly). May I be that cool as I get older…