Feeling younger

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A client had me work on him for 30 minutes and when we finished he lamented that he hadn’t scheduled a full hour. He said that the work we do makes him feel younger.

I’m always amazed at what I’m doing these days. I can’t really say it’s yoga, can’t really say it’s bodywork and can’t say it’s just education. It’s just where I connect with others and go, I think this will help the most, let’s do this. When a client is willing to take the plunge with me I dare say it’s tantamount to when Peter walked on water with Jesus. Unbelieveable things happen.

That sounds like a tall order but when clients report a 7 on a pain scale out of 10 and walk out telling you they’re at a 1 I start to wonder. When doctors call because their patients went through my yoga therapy class and say that they feel 70% overall improvement in unhealed, ongoing neck conditions what do I do? I allow clients to have their own experience, I help apply what I think will work and most importantly I tell the clients, “It’s You. Has very little to do with me.” I’m just a guide, the journey is yours.

In mentioning youth I told the client that at 34 I feel better than I did at 22 just before my car accident. I’m older, far wiser and honestly more healthy. Age does change things but my yoga practice removes cobwebbs in a way that most seem to consider a nearly mystical conversation with me. Scientifically I honestly don’t know how it does exactly what it does. I just feel better. Pain doesn’t just go away but I work with it. I make my pain scale 4 days go to a 2. Day after day, regular practice and it continues to lower. My posture improves, my breathing is clear and my nervous system is alive. Life sometimes has a sparkle to it.

He’s hoping to do the same and I tell him he can go as far as he wants. The way is yoga. No dogma, no rules. Just honest opinion from someone in the trenches of life. Mentioning how he felt more youthful after our sessions I told him of my grandmother.

Growing up my grandmother was my closest grandparent. She lived with us and I always remember her as crabby. I ran into the kitchen one day as a child and smelling food excitedly asked my grandma what was for dinner. Her face turned into a light scowl and she looked over at me and with a sneer said, “food!” in the same way that an old man tells the neighborhood kids to get off of his lawn. I wondered why grandma was being what I considered mean but I ran off to play.

Grandma was often this way. It wasn’t until I was older that I began to understand. She’d had 3 husbands and divorces, four children and by the time she was old the fallen arches in her feet, a dowagers hump, a slumped upper back and arthritis plagued her. She hurt constantly. It’s a low level ache that crept up on her day after day in the same way the sun and moon rise a set. Before you know it those constant 7 out of 10 days get to you.

When I finished massage school I came home and remember my grandma got her first massage from her grandson at 72 years of age. I loved running my hands over her undernourished skin. She was still solid, skin thick enough to not worry about a tear. I’d press on her upper back and she’d tell me she could feel it in her toes. Small nuances that I couldn’t understand at the time. I just took note and kept working. There were lots of vascular flushes, pushing blood and lymph around and this old woman had some love given to her. Her husbands were long gone. How much quality touch did she receive?

When we finished my grandmothers whole demeanor changed. She was light, bright and full of chatter. She was asking questions about massage, questions about complementary medical practices wondering what else she could do to help herself feel better. I realized at five minutes or so that she was free of pain. Wherever she’d been, the massage lifted her out of the doldrums. Her vision had been changed in the way that an airplane comes through the clouds into the brightness and light of the sun. For a short time, things were clear. Her nervous system wasn’t drowning her in the signals of discomfort and pain. She was happy.

A year or so later grandma passed. I often think of her and am so happy that I had the ability to connect with her in this way. I can think of little as appropriate in the expression of care than helping her as I did. Occasionally and only occasionally I wonder what could have happened if she were around now with what I know. The ideas of grandma doing my lazy yoga in a chair give me slight tears knowing I could have helped her even more. I could have empowered her to know she could change not just by someone else touching her but by harnessing her own healing capacity with yoga.

You’re never too old.

A student in my nursing home class asked me one day, “How far can we go with yoga?” I looked him clearly in the eye and told him that, “You can go as far as you can. Just depends on how much focus, energy and time you put in.” I meant it then and I mean it now.

Your injuries, physical limitations, psychological set, and lifestyle have little to do with whether you’ll succeed. You must only water the seed within yourself that says healing and growth is better than sickness and withering. Come to class here, go slow, breathe and focus. The best breath to start with is the one you’re taking now.

It is your birthright to thrive. To feel younger you must embrace the ebb and flow of life not fight it. Be a cork. Float. I’ll see you soon at Ebb and Flow Yoga studio. We help people feel younger.

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