January 2nd and just completed my second practice of the year! One at home, one at the shala...
So...decided to change the focus of this blog to ashtanga in your 50's because I'm now moving into my 50's. No denying it; I'll be 53 this year.
Also, I was inspired by a great podcast from Ashtanga Dispatch featuring Cathy Louse Broda. She and Peg discussed the issues that women face in the practice when they are experiencing, amongst other things: menstruation, pregnancy, post-partum, post caesarian section, peri-menopause, and menopause. It was a fabulous podcast that affirmed a lot of what I have been experiencing on my mat over the past year and a half.
I started Ashtanga yoga when I was about 42 yrs old. I learned all of primary at once and my practice was mostly done in led classes with the occasional home practice sprinkled in. I got injured...a lot. I also began to suffer from the pretty debilitating GI and pelvic pain issues due to endometriosis. BUT I persevered, though taking breaks-long breaks at times-from the practice. The longest break I took was for almost four years after injuring both shoulders, being hospitalized, and then finally at the age of 50, having a total hysterectomy. And then menopause-surgical menopause-instantaneous and intense.
I then decided it was time to return to Ashtanga but this time I had decided to do mysore-style. And I was now 51 and things were/are VERY different.
But surprisingly to me, not quite in the way I had expected. I'm stronger, still flexible, still able to complete the series. However, there are differences. I need more time to recover. I need more food. I need oil baths, desperately. I need warmth, though I feel warmer generally. Though, I hardly ever sweat, except in hot humid weather. But I can still do it and I can still 'progress'. I'm also beginning to respect the voice and teacher inside of me and letting go of the other voice that lives inside of me; the one that tells me to do more, push more, extend more, jump more, higher, try a handstand, do 5 drop backs, etc. Because that voice won't help me find santosha.
So as I age and my body changes physically so must I change emotionally/psychologically so that I can keep practicing after 50...yikes!