Yoga does not care if you come every week or not. Yoga does not care if you skip months at a time. But once yoga becomes part of who you are, the breathing, the movement and the rest can happen every day no matter where you are.
The model of self care becomes even more appealing when you can see a tangible result like Ruby did. Her statement, "I was very pleased with myself", was worth it's weight in gold to me. There are positive effects not only in numbers but in the satisfaction that you can do yoga at any age or with any ability.
Privately, other students have shared improved mobility in the hand joints, better range in shoulder function and much improved bowel function- the side twisting movements in yoga tone the abdominal organs and improve function.
I also see something more. There is community. Older students with the courage and curiosity to explore a wellness activity often portrayed in the media as a chic excuse for expensive yoga pants and tops. Our class often starts with a discussion of who is not there, and why not. Cards are signed for those who are ill. Questions about yoga in the news, in a crossword puzzle, what can yoga do for COPD- stuff like that. We are a community of active agers. We veer away from the reductionist training of our MD's; Drugs and Surgery. We breathe, move, rest. We avoid judging if our hip or knee makes us sit out a few poses. So what. You have 206 bones in your body, not all of them may be interested in yoga that day. We honor the discomfort and allow that joint to rest while moving those that can. We break the train of everyday thinking that men and women in their 60's, 70's and 80's are not suited for yoga. With an open mind you can be receptive to new thoughts that you can change your bodily reaction to aging. Your biochemistry changes second by second. Thinking about what you can do changes the mind body connection in profound ways.
We breathe. We move. We rest. Then we fold up the chairs and leave, we are very pleased with ourselves.