And that answer is, because it works!
My approach to the practice of Yoga is drawn from my own experience, first as a 70+ year old practitioner as well as a teacher, and includes years of study with some very excellent Yogis.
I live in my own laboratory ~ my body teaches me.
In this life I haven't been without injury. The first injury of great consequence occurred when I was around the age of 12 years. I was swinging on the tire swing hung from an overhanging tree on a very steep decline in the driveway of my piano teacher's home in the Oakland hills, awaiting my mother, when the rope holding the tire, as well as me, broke - and I fell to the hard asphalt below, exactly on my right hip. It didn't seem too extraordinary of a fall, however as time progressed I began to notice a clicking type of painful catch in my right hip joint whenever I took a step. This lasted numerous months and was never treated.
Years passed. I danced a lot, enjoying ballet lessons which had begun at age 3 and continued long into my late twenties as well as rigorous Modern Dance classes. I was adventurous. I enjoyed life. I gave birth. Then one day, I stood up after having been seated for many hours, the blood draining quickly from my head, and as I approached the steep stairwell leading downstairs, I blacked-out and lost consciousness briefly, but long enough to topple down the stairs head first and on my back. I landed at the bottom of the long, steep stairs and got right up, but my neck and back have never been completely the same since then. I was 23 years old.
Needless to say, I've had my share of pain. The pain at times has been severe. When I was in my mid-50's I had both my hips replaced. The right hip, actually the head of my femur, was extremely calcified, possibly as a result of that fall at 12. The muscles, tendons and ligaments shortened surrounding the damaged bony material. Range of motion was lessened.
I also have a loss of disc space between the vertebrae throughout my spine, probably a genetic result coupled with the stairwell fall I mentioned.
There have been times when this has caused pain and varying degrees of immobility.
I tell you this bit about myself to emphasis that I'm not unlike the rest of humanity, experiencing varying degrees of physical mishaps throughout a rather long life. And these experiences and their resulting impact on my body are exactly what have motivated me to practice yoga and develop an approach that integrates the understanding of an aging body with the purpose of attaining strength, flexibility and mobility throughout all the years of my life....and your life too!
This has become my passion, because I absolutely know that without my practice of yoga I would need to rely on some form of pain management and ongoing doctors visits to keep me going, and that, for me, is not an option I enjoy considering.
I know that pain killers have extraordinary side effects that can become serious issues of their own and most often lead to more medication to manage those effects, and on and on and on it goes...
So I practice yoga paying great attention to alignment in my practice as well as my method of teaching, always listening to the voice of my own body as she speaks her wisdom to me.
I have had the great good fortune and the benefit of studying with wonderful teachers whose focus has been on breath, principles of alignment, safety in practice, and a therapeutic awareness and skill set, and they have taught me more than my words can express.
Yet my ongoing practice continues to fascinate and inform me with more depth every time I step onto my mat, liberating me into greater freedom of movement with the passage of time. And it is this continually unfolding and deepening knowledge and awareness that my own aging body expresses as I continue to build more strength and mobility, rather than a diminishment of these, that has created my passion for the practice of Yoga.
It is because of these wonderful experiences of healthy aging that
I want to share this with other seniors,
or as I prefer to call us, those of the Golden Age!