Yesterday I taught two yoga classes for middle school and high school students as a substitute for a yoga teacher friend who was sick. As I usually teach adults, I am musing about the differences in watching students practice yoga at different ages and the benefits and challenges in the body in general.
One would think that teenagers and young adults have a natural advantage compared to those of us who are older. This isn’t necessary so. Here are some of my observations:
- In general, younger students have more flexibility in their bodies. However, flexibility can be overrated in practicing yoga. Lack of flexibility can be the body’s way of protecting itself from injury.
- Flexibility needs to be tempered with strength and control. I’ve noticed that older students have better balance, better spacial body awareness and the ability to manage the mind and body with greater ease.
- The challenge that we face as we age has to do with the build up of tensions and emotions that get locked up in our bodies. The more negative experiences we have in life as we age, the more it can get locked deep in the body. However, practicing yoga and meditation helps unwind all the past traumas and day-to-day tensions that we experience.
You might like to spend some time in reflection/meditation today on your own benefits and challenges of aging.