How Boomer Yoga Started
Beryl Bender Birch, the renowned yoga instructor who developed “Power Yoga”, now brings us “Boomer Yoga” for practitioners “of a certain age.” Following is an excerpt from the introduction from her book Boomer Yoga: Energizing the Years Ahead for Men & Women.
The whole idea for Boomer Yoga started when I realized that I couldn’t exactly do what I used to do in terms of physical activity. My body is changing. Oh my God. That was one hell of a realization. I mean, I wasn’t exactly geriatric but there were subtle alterations. And it wasn’t about discovering a gray hair or a wrinkle. Those things don’t seem to bother me. Since my primary physical activity was a pretty athletic form of the yoga asanas (the practice of the yoga postures) that I had been doing since l980 and that had inspired my first book, Power Yoga, it was in my yoga practice that I first began to notice changes to my body.
Those subtle changes had probably been going on for some time. And now they had become a little less subtle. In the past, I resisted change like mad and went ballistic when unfortunate things happened. I found that that really didn’t get me too far. After years of practicing being with what is, as yoga directs us to do, I sat down, face to face, with change. One day, just after coming out of rest at the end of my yoga practice, I sat up laughing. My right hip was really bothering me and restricting my range of motion. I thought to myself, Oh boy, I’ll have to start teaching boomer yoga, a practice for all of us whose bodies are changing. Boom, there ya go — that’s how it happens, a bolt from the blue — “boomer yoga.“ I’m a couple of years ahead of the first boomers, but as I sat there still chuckling to myself, it occurred to me that if this was happening to me, there were a whole bunch of folks out there, part of the most successful and prosperous generation ever, who were going to be coming up on some big changes. And all their money and “stuff,” their apparent security, was not going to bring them the satisfaction they had hoped it would. That satisfaction would only come from knowing who they are, and what really matters in their lives. And ultimately, that’s what yoga teaches.
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