Tied into the request for questions about yoga and aging we noted yesterday is this piece now up at the New York Times. (In one of those Internet vagaries, I’m not sure how it wasn’t prominently attached to the piece we linked to yesterday.)
Yoga and aging has been a central theme at both of the Ashtanga Yoga Confluences. At this year’s event, I’d hazard a guess that at least a third of the questions on the subject came from people who have yet to face it for real. They’re just getting prepared.
I suppose it is good that it’s on people’s minds. It may be a difference between the first wave of Westerners who took up asana practices and the second, who had the benefit of that first group’s knowledge and guidance (and mistakes).
From the piece:
Dr. Fishman noted that aging brings impairments of range, motion, strength and balance that can require modifications, even among veteran yogis, like using the support of a chair or the wall for many poses. In addition, students may begin to feel the effects of arthritis, injuries and other ailments that may require students skip certain poses altogether.
Someone with osteoporosis, for example, may want to avoid headstands and poses requiring extreme spinal flexion or extension, while someone with glaucoma may want to avoid taking the head below the heart in poses like headstand, handstand, shoulder stand and standing forward bends. When in doubt about the safety of practicing with any specific medical condition, Dr. Fishman recommended working with a doctor.
Fishman is the one who will be answering questions, to be posted next week.
One thing I note is that the only “style” of yoga I see is Iyengar. I assume its slowness and deliberate nature appear more suited to the aging yogi. And that may leave Ashtanga out, a bit. I’ll be curious as to which questions Fishman answers and just how the whole thing seems to define “yoga.”
Posted by Steve