By Lisa Joy Hanckel, M.S.Ac.
All week Francisco has been reminding us to expect more from our yoga practice. Today he spoke of a 79 year old student who still continues to improve physically and mentally with biweekly practice. Francisco says we have to stop expecting so little of yoga. Our lifestyle since we began sitting in chairs has dramatically increased rigidity and blockages in our bodies. We used to die from disease before our bodies wore out, but now we are living longer… but with dramatically less variety of movement than our ancestors.
How many people today have sprightly, agile elders? Who knows the potential we would have if we had different role models against which to set out expectations? This reminds me of a beautiful tea ceremony I was honoured to attend in Japan. Even the elderly women kneeled gracefully - hands free- from standing onto the floor, toes tucked under. After bowing to one of us, they would seemingly float to their feet with equal grace and softness -- all wearing an elaborate kimono and holding hot tea! They did this for each of us individually – twice - and we were a large group! The elegance and fluidity of their movements paired with the softness of their countenance - and the elasticity of their joints made a strong impression on me. I thought: "I want to age like that." I'll let you know in 40 years!