I began practicing yoga at the age of 16, which, by most standards, is young, particularly when you consider that yoga was not widely available at the time. At 20, I started teaching small groups of my peers, fellow college students on a study abroad program without access to a gym or other forms of exercise.
This peer group soon attracted teachers and faculty and swelled in size to more than 100 people on some days. In my early 20s, I was the youngest “senior” teacher at one of the most popular yoga studios in the country.
Well, la-di-da, you say, and I tend to agree. This doesn’t make me special. It just means that I got an early start in terms of age and experience in the field of yoga. Unless you compare me to Shruti Pandey.
Kinda makes all of us look like geezers, eh?
Or, it illustrates perfectly the adage that “All unhappiness comes from comparison.” Whether we compare ages, appearances, job titles, or bank accounts, we will always find some with more and others with less. None of which alter our personal situations at all. Perhaps the flip side of the above saying is another favorite, “Happiness is an inside job.”
Soon after reading about Shruti, I visited a private client of mine, a dedicated yoga student and accomplished author. She’s in her 60s, a long way from Shruti’s 6 years; however, I could have sworn I saw a resemblance, yesterday. In moments, my client tackled new poses with the same curiosity and tenacity of a child. With backbends and inversions, especially, I could see her shed her sophisticated exterior, leave her analytical writer’s mind behind, and play with the possibilities and expressions these poses offer.
After a few attempts at tripod headstand, she sat up, her face flushed from being upside down, “This is all so new to me,” she confided, with equal touches of exhilaration and fear in her voice.
“I mean, I didn’t do this stuff as a kid . . . I didn’t do a backbend until I was 50,” she continued.
At this, I didn’t think, Geez, what a late start. Instead, I smiled and thought, Wow, that’s badass.
How old were you when you started practicing yoga, and how does your practice change with age, or in what ways does it keep you young?