The thing about yoga is that it can surprise you. Daily I see things about yoga online that make me pause and think. In my mind, just over two years ago, I thought yoga was for thin wealthy blonds in lulu lemon clothing…not for me. I was confused by the westerness that we all put on it, I didn’t get it. I don’t know that Ill ever truly get it but I try, day to day I try. When I look online and see Jessamyn Stanley KILLING it (mastering it Swami Paramananda would have me say “Ahimsa Katie, Ahimsa!”) in every pose imaginable, breaking the stereotype of looks in yoga, and Kelsey Koch owning and teaching yoga with a prosthetic leg I am in absolute aw, and also know that it is the truth, we are LIMITLESS.
I felt this in person, not just online, when I walked into Sivananda class in west palm beach to teach. It was my first yoga class teaching traditional Sivananda. I was a bit apprehensive but nothing major, I felt confident knowing the routine and believing that my purpose is to teach yoga, even if its only to my mom. So I greeted the students as they walked in…one seemed to be older than the next…and I became so excited and inspired and thrilled, and a bit terrified, older people may be set in their ways, what if I’m not what they’re used to?!?! I think the youngest person in the class was 72, and there were at least ten students there. Looking around I was thinking “how will they do headstand, how will they do shoulder stand?” I took a few deep breaths and began the class, initial relaxation easy, prayer WHAT THEY KNOW IT?! so cool!!! Then off we were in sun salutations, with all of them doing some version of it, doing their best, rocking the salutations, lifting their legs like they’re teenagers in double leg lifts, and then the moment of truth…sirsasana headstand…coming out of childs pose I guided them into headstand (as if they needed any guidance at all), these grandmas and grandpas shot up like rockets (ok some sort of slow moving rocket…paper airplane rocket or something like that). I looked around the room at them with so much gratitude to be in their presence. If they weren’t in the headstand, they were doing rounds of dolphin and I just smiled and knew I was right where I needed to be. The rest of the hour and a half went exactly the same, with these incredible senior citizens doing the very best yoga they could, at an age where so many just throw in the towel.
When the class was through and we finished chanting the tryambakam all together loud and proud, another amazing thing happened…they invited me for a coffee…naturally I went! How could I not!?!? So I joined five yogis for a dunking donuts and talked about their yoga journeys, which weren’t so different from my own. I had such a great time with them, and cant wait to teach them all again…who knows maybe scorpion next week!
Yoga truly has no face, no age and certainly no body type. Imagine an exercise that has no age limit? There never comes a time when you say “Im too old for this” because in yoga you simply never are. Thank you Sivananda for giving me this gift and ability to teach these beautiful souls. Om Om.