Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Man with the Child in his Eyes

My Goodness, it's almost been a month since last I wrote. I guess that's what happens when many final projects and final finals converge. Still, the last thing got handed in yesterday, so here I am. Whew.

Last week, I decided to mix it up a bit in class. Usually we work our way up to a pose, moving through a variety of preparations, so the final asana comes easily and with grace (for the most part). On Thursday night, I switched the order, so we moved from Sun Salutes into standing poses right away, and then came to the floor for forward bends, etc. It was a nice change, and we were so chill by the time savasana rolled around, the room was completely silent for 10 minutes. No rustling, adjusting or shifting...just release.

When we finally came up and opened our eyes from namaste I was struck, in particular, by how much one of my students looked like his 5-yr-old daughter. Startlingly so . And I got to thinking, I wonder if we all have a moment
at the end of class when a shadow of our young selves passes across our faces . Brows soft, jaws released, cheeks plump from lying down, awareness in the present moment. Yoga as Time Machine.

And there might be something to that. A NYT article a couple weeks back describe the achievements of a 91-yr-old Canadian, Olga Kotelko, who holds 23 Masters Records in track-and-field events. Exercise physiologists are studying her closely to see what it is about her body that allows her to continue to exercise with such intensity. More and more evidence demonstrates that regular exercise into one's 70s and 80s can have a significant effect on cellular health (the mitochondria, to be specific)(Question #3 on the Human Bio exam) and slow the inevitable deterioration of the muscles and joints. These are all studies on aerobic exercise, but I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing was learned about yoga.

See what you see after your next class. Watch your face, and others' when you finish. Then go home and look at your baby book or or class pictures. Freaky.

*cue Dr. Who theme music*

5 comments:

YogaforCynics said...

Best use of a Kate Bush song title since Emily Bronte did Wuthering Heights.

And more reasons my 84 year old mom should do yoga...just try telling her that....

Anna Guest-Jelley said...

I love the idea that yoga gives us a flash of our younger, less encumbered selves. Thanks for this!

christophertadhankins said...

How crazy that I popped in to read your blog today - the title of the entry caught my eye on FB! It is a weird phenomenon... and I'm not surprised A may have shown up in me, man was I ever relaxed last week!

Y is for Yogini said...

I was wondering where you'd been! Good to have you back. :)

Charlotte said...

That happened to me during the fourth week of a vipassana retreat in the early 1990s. I looked in the mirror and saw myself as a toddler. It was staggering, and it changed my life big time.