Yoga After 50

Have you read the article in Elephant Journal, Yoga After 40 will kill you? I read it with a sense of nostalgia. Those were the days. Anyway, I am 58 and I practice Ashtanga yoga half primary, almost daily, and that makes me competent to write this article.

An unfortunate pitfall of being in the 50s is that you're at a high risk of getting disappointed and hurt by life. Maybe your life did let you down in certain aspects, kids are left, you're divorced, you are overweight, your sleep pattern is disturbed, you've started drinking a bit, you've started panicking about health issues, you've started asking yourself "is this all there is"...

After 50 you have reached maturity, you see that you cannot improve your reality, you can just lower your expectations. You have no hope that something better will come and you've realized that "expect the unexpected, believe in the unbelievable, and achieve the unachievable" is simple bullshit.

You're feeling as if you are unseen and unheard, although you still have hope but dammit if I know what you're hoping for. Elvis has left the building, you are feeling lifeless and lost and there’s none here to help you get through this crap except you.

If you are over 50, you should start challenging yourself by moving out of your comfort zone. The comfort zone is a killer. You've read enough inspirational quotes that encourage you to get out and do something strange, something you wouldn't normally do. So yoga is perfect for you... YOGA.

There's actually a lot of science that explains why it's so hard to start and sustain yoga practice but don't bother, who believe in science anyway. This calls for strength, passion, determination and so much humor it hurts.

After 50, it's really important to push the boundaries of your common activities. Start your daily yoga practice but always wonder if it’s really about yoga? Always remember shit New Age girls say... Fake it until you achieve it.

I urge you to get out of your comfy couch and go to the downward dog. Your arms may be shaky. So what? Your belly might sways left, then right but eventually it'll settle into place. Pull it in. Remember your glorious 40s, oh well ... 30s.

Try to strengthen the legs.

Your hamstrings will protest, let's be forewarned, you will probably try to overstretch it until you get the muscle spasms. Try to scream, it may help. Keep holding downward dog pose. Push your arms through the middle finger, feel your palms... stay firm connected to the earth and breathe. WTF breathe my friend, with every breath, it is not going to be easier, just harder.

Suck your belly in!

Count the breaths, one, two, three... don't worry, you may take an anti-inflammatory drug after the practice so you can continue practicing tomorrow as well.

As far as I can tell your practice sucks, just as mine. You have to work out on your breathing, it is shallow. And you didn't even move from downward dog. Maybe one day you will learn to do jump-back and jump-through from this downward dog pose. Ah... Nah. Don't bother, you will never learn that.

When you reach five breaths or if you notice you gonna fell down, you stop. Get out of the downward dog and just stand. They call that Tadasana or mountain pose. Very important pose for people after 50s. You may hold Tadasana posture for 20 or 30 breaths. The variations are endless. What’s required is the willingness to keep standing, resist overwhelmed urge to lay down.

The great results of practicing yoga after 50 is a glorious condition of over-tiredness.

Most of the time you'll feel worse after practicing yoga. Yes, you are right, everyone else enjoyed the practice except you. Something wrong? You may practice for a month and you still cannot touch your toes. It made you feel inadequate. Yoga is a place where you don't feel good about yourself.

But nothing to worry about. Nothing better is awaiting you.

Oh, I forgot, after the practice, you may get neck, back, knee and shoulder pain. This doesn't include torn muscles, herniated disks, and carpal tunnel. Hey, listen to your own body, you will discover what hurts you, don’t assume that I know your body better than you do.

After 30 minutes of yoga practice, you'll look into the mirror and you'll no longer recognize yourself. After one month you'll have the desire to quit your job and do yoga for the rest of your life. After three months of practice, you'll start changing or investigating a new age philosophy.

Yes, maybe you're in menopause but your midlife crisis is over!