Healthy Living: The Globe and Mail

Watch Yoga for Older Newbies.

Last week The Globe and Mail dropped by and we put together a video on learning to practice yoga postures. Geared toward beginners and people over 40 there are several modifications offered for each pose. It was shot and edited by Rosa Park, one of their in-house journalists.

I have to say this "over 40 thing" is a bit over-rated and inflated. What I mean by that is yoga can be practiced at any age! Ideally the sooner you start the better, but just because you are 60 does not mean you are a hopeless case. I have 20-year students who can't touch their toes and 60-year old's you can! So go figure.

One student wrote me to comment on the article and video. He said he was very relieved to know he can practice all! Of course, he was being sarcastic. He is 65 and practising Ashtanga-yoga and backbending.

In the West, age is equal to performance, ability and capacity. Many people believe they cannot develop anything past a certain age. Perhaps they are biological facts in place but you can also beat the odds if you try.

For myself, a lot of people perceive my flexibility as being natural. However, as a kid I could not do the splits, sit in lotus or flatten my back. I tried and it did not work. At 27, I started learning yoga seriously and it took me 5 years to be able to do the lotus pose, the splits and many other flexy-bendy postures. I also became much more flexbile in my mid and late 30's than in my 20's. However, it was not just working on my body as it was also meditating and breathing. Mind and body go together; a flexible body does not equal to having knowledge of a posture or even yoga itself. Flexibility is not the goal but a by-product.

What people do not see or understand is that everything takes time, dedication and working out a system for yourself. Nothing comes from a hap-hazard approach. Age is not the issue but attitude.

And those are just the facts.


How I Came to Yoga

We all come to yoga for an assorted range of reasons and motivations. We all seek it out consciously or unconsciously from a list of experiences and even problems. But nevertheless, somehow Yoga becomes very important. For myself it became so important that my whole life has revolved around it. Sometimes too the past behaviour, ideas or understandings that one had is surprising; if not completely 'off'. I don't think that showing up in a fur coat to my first yoga class 20 years ago says too much about my understanding of things. In fact, it speaks to the reverse.

What's more interesting, however, is that the journey is never as straightforward, clean-cut or as solid as it may appear. More often than not it is filled with twists, turns, difficulties, resistances and struggles.

I share a bit of this in a recent article that was just featured on MY LIFE YOGA.

~ Enjoy!

The Journey So Far

Life is an adventure and yoga is the greatest one of all. Here I share my love of Yoga, travel, practice and becoming a part-time cook. My life adventures have taken me from growing up in Toronto to living and working in South Korea to studying in India, marriage and finally closing my Yoga school of 15 years.

What I can say so far is that I truly believe that it is necessary in life to let go of one dream in order for another to be born. This might be painful to do so but it is the only way to move forward. We often believe that if our original plan does not succeed it is the recipe for failure. But what if it is the door to something new and great? The horizon is wide and life is not a straight line. This is the way I see it and my journey so far. Having also recently given birth to my first child and at 43, it is another new beginning.


My Photo
Heather Morton
is a perennial teacher and devoted student of yoga. Having made 18 extended trips to India she studies with her teachers annually. In 1997 she founded and directed The Yoga Way (TYW), Toronto's only school for 6-week yoga programs and not drop-in classes. For 15 years, TYW was a part of the growing Toronto yoga community and supported many charities by offering karma classes. As a teacher she holds many academic degrees including a BFA (Fine Arts in Theatre) and a Masters of Education. With a published thesis on Yoga for Children in School, her post-graduate work was a 2-year ethnographic project in the Indian school system. Heather has produced 2 dvds, meditation cds, a backbending manual and podcasts. Freedom of the Body DVD is the first of its kind as an instructional practice to the backbends of yoga. Heather has been featured in the Toronto Life magazine, The Globe & Mail, Yoga4Everybody and other on-line sources. She contributes to MindBodyGreen, Hello Yoga in Japan and Elephant Journal. She writes to inspire and share her experiences with others on yoga as a life's practice.
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