“Anyone can practice. Young man can practice, old man can practice, Very old man can practice. Man who is sick- he can practice. Man who doesn’t have strength can practice. Except lazy people; lazy people can’t practice Ashtanga Yoga” –Sri K Pattabhi Jois
When people ask “how can I get further into this posture or that posture?” the answer is always the same….. practice, and practice everyday. I have lost track of the amount of times that I have encouraged students to practice Ashtanga Yoga’s Surya Namaskara’s A & B plus three finishing postures six days a week. Almost no-one believes that this would be enough to reap the healing properties of yoga, yet all of Ashtanga’s eight limbs can be found right here. But this belief only happens in the ‘doing’ not the talking.
Meet our Mum, Jenny. She has been practicing yoga for two and a half years. Neil began teaching her when she was 83. She has a daily 5.30am(ish) practice- Surya Namaskara A’s and three finishing postures, with Moondays off, plus occasional days when my Dad gets impatient for his coffee!
Arthritis in her hip and knee does not stop her, neither does her back pain or the Trigeminal Neuragia (chronic nerve pain in the face and head).
She does it because of the positive effects it has during the course of the day. It gives her greater mobility and calms her busy mind. As an occasional sufferer of vertigo, where balance is affected, the yoga gives her confidence in her ability to A) not fall, and B) get up if she does. If the pain in her face is particularly bad she uses Ujji breath until it passes. What you can’t hear in the video is her breath, its strong and even and she is totally aware.
So if ‘Doing’ is believing but you struggle with a daily practice give yourself ten to fourteen days of a 15 minute practice (you spend longer than that scrolling through Facebook) and see how you feel. The proof, as they say, is in doing (or is it pudding? my mum makes a mean apple crumble too!)
Excuses? We’ve heard them all. If our 85 year old Mother can do it, why can’t you?