Sunday, April 30, 2017

Substitute Yoga Instructor

Age is a case of mind over matter.
If you don't mind, it don't matter.
- Satchel Paige

Yoga instructors are permitted vacation and sick time, and when mine took time off class was not cancelled. A substitute assumed the reins.

Over the years I observed that the style and content of physical fitness instructors varies greatly. Zumba instructors, for instance, use a mishmash of music and choreography styles. The best have dance background, and that training is reflected in their routines. Others emphasize callisthenic-type moves, and some like to jump around a lot. Most of my fellow Zumba classmates are 50+, so I suspect instructors modify accordingly.

I also take yoga, and recently drifted through a class led by a replacement teacher who was young, 30-ish, toned, tanned and trim, and wore a cute, fashionable fitted matching outfit.

The women and the couple of men in the class do NOT wear stylish coordinating clothes. We appear in an assortment of well-worn yoga pants, stretch pants, sweats, T-shirts and - the lucky ones - body-hugging tank tops.

90-year-old Great Grandma and 
her 5-year-old great granddaughter.
Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
-       Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
The instructor started her music on low volume, smooth, calming. She opened her mat, established herself in the front of the room, and started talking in a low, barely audible voice. Afterward I was not the only one to complain she was difficult to hear.

We began with slow stretching exercises, fine for a few minutes. But as time dragged on the pace did not pick up, the exercises did not get more challenging, and the entire hour was spent on the floor.

Most of us have been taking yoga for months if not years. Why did she teach as though this was our first class, as if we never worked out or exerted ourselves before?

By the end of class it was difficult staying awake.

There was, and I am guessing here, one unfortunate logical answer. Before entering the room she was informed this particular yoga class was for seniors, old folks. She should adapt accordingly and be gentle.

Participants range in age from the 50s to 80s. We are very much alive and kicking and enjoy stretching, flexing, training and working hard to improve our bodies. Or at a minimum not lose ground. Just because individuals may be of a certain age does not mean they cannot move. Or exercise. Or sweat. Most of us are not delicate, frail creatures.

Yes we have our aches and pains. But we trod on, and, 
in the words of centenarian George Burns:
You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old.

I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. 
Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up. 
- Benjamin Franklin 
Quiz question: Who is the old guy, hub or Ben Franklin?