…you might not get away with in your 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. This is one of my standard mantras in the yoga classes that I teach. While I don’t wish injury on anyone, sometimes it takes an injury to understand that we are mortal and there are no guarantees when it comes to ageing gracefully.
As a precocious 23 year old I needed to put some space between myself and New York City so I moved to Boston and lived with people that were a good deal older (and maybe wiser) than me. I thought I knew everything (shocking, I know) and often heard the refrain, “you’ll see when you get older.” As a parent I fight the urge to repeat that at my children at least a couple of time a day. But as a yoga teacher I often can’t help myself.
At fifty, I have no complaints about the state of my body and health. I carry some scars from a reckless youth—I have hepatitis C and had three knee surgeries from a loose body and too aggressive yoga practice without any awareness of alignment. But I have no regrets. Nowadays I work out smart and eat to serve my liver.
But I do think it is my job to offer a word or two of caution to the students who enter the yoga room and practice with me. They don’t have to listen, and many don’t. And if I feel like I am doing nothing more than haranguing students sometimes, I can only imagine what it sounds like from the mat.
Full disclosure—I don’t take many yoga classes like mine. I am very into getting down and dirty and sweating a lot. But I have been at it almost twenty years and would like to think that I practice what I preach and play safely no matter what a teacher asks me to do in a class.
But there is no doubt that I think about this stuff way more in my fifth decade than I did in my third, and no longer think I can get away with anything I want. Youth is not wasted on the young—it was really fun. But you might have to put in some extra hours down the line to make sure that the mistakes/indulgences of your younger years don’t catch up with you down the road.