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What you can get away with in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s…

get away with…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.

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Wheel Pose and Back Pain
Sleeping and Peeing

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