“The aging process begins in our late 20’s! So I say in my yoga classes with a smile, “This is for those of us who are in aging bodies”, which is everyone in the class.“ – Debi Robinson, OmHappy
Yoga is no longer a secret! It’s simply one of my passions and joys, and an absolute fundamental to being an Age Disruptor. How can yoga turn the clock back and disrupt the aging process naturally? One of the biggest causes of physical aging is a lack of movement, causing our bodies to become more rigid and inflexible. This can find its way into your mind as a rigid body usually means a rigid mindset. Yoga is all about finding the mind body connection as the two are intertwined.
Many yoga poses are done internally, turning your focus within and accessing your inner will. It’s never about the person on the mat next to you, it’s always about you and stretching yourself to your own personal limits. Yoga has a way of mirroring back to you where you’re out of balance in life. The poses can be deeply restorative and meditative which naturally turns back time. When we’re relaxed, our muscles relax, our jaws relax and we look and younger. Most importantly, you’ll feel younger. Yoga has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation through relaxation and inflammation is a key cause of aging!
Yoga found me in my early 40’s. Living in the northern suburbs of Chicago was a far cry from the yoga studios dotting the California Coastline. They were few and far between in the Windy City, and since heading west 8 years ago, I’ve fallen in love with yoga in the South Bay. I’ll take my new Boho yogi life any day. What’s wonderful is that you can practice just about anywhere as long as you have your mat! My favorite place is on the beach with the sound of the waves and the smell of the salt air. But I also adore the camaraderie, teaching, and friendships I make at a studio, and I’m delighted to share my top yoga studio in LA.
Yoga is a personal journey, one that begins with finding the studio that meshes with your vibe. Every studio has a unique feeling. Some are hot and competitive, while others are more laid back teaching you how to get into the flow. Some are focused on the breath rather than the “asana” or pose. Truthfully, yoga isn’t about the poses the way we tend to think in the west. Yoga is about creating space within. It’s about stretching your inner world by continually expanding and contracting within. When we create space within, we can begin to let go of what isn’t serving us and fill ourselves up with something a bit lighter and brighter.
Touching down in Manhattan Beach years ago, I was amazed by the magical beauty of the South Bay. Manhattan Beach is the toniest of the Beach communities and home of the Yogaloft, the coziest yoga studio that overlooks Manhattan Beach Pier with a view of the most magnificent sunsets. It’s owned by a Fierce yogi over 50, Suzy Nece, who brings her lively personality and delightful sense of humor into the studio. My friend and Acro Yoga instructor, Amanda Lee Murphy, teaches in the early morning hours and has one of the coolest vibes around. Laid back, kind, gorgeous and just plain cool, Amanda leads the most fabulous vinyasa flow with her unique style. It’s hard to tell who the Midlifer is and who’s the Millennial when it comes to Suzy and Amanda, and that’s the beauty of yoga. Yoga has a way of naturally turning the clock backward, from the inside out…not to mention bringing a fair share of sparkle and luminescence into your world.
How can yoga do that? Well, back to creating space within. Yoga stretches our muscles and our minds. Yoga has a way of permeating itself into our life which is the real goal and gift of yoga…to take the teachings off the mat and into the world. Rolling and twisting in the various poses is like an inner massage while lubricating the spine, the home of our nervous system as well as back injuries. The poses move between contraction and expansion, resulting in elongating our physique as well as our posture. There’s a huge variety in teachings depending upon your goals. There’s kundalini which is mostly about the breath and moving the chi or prana throughout your body. Restorative yoga helps restore balance through holding long relaxing poses. Yin yoga is a gentle form of yoga that helps the body to settle down while hot yoga is designed to heat the body and allow the muscles to open naturally with the heat. Power yoga is a competitive form of yoga with poses that are more athletically challenging. My preference is vinyasa yoga or “flow” as the poses move gently from one to the next allowing the body to warm up naturally with the final resting pose of Savasana.
Try an inverted pose like shoulder stand or legs up the wall and watch that circulation and blood flow return to the skin. When we move, we increase our body’s blood flow and circulation which naturally increases red blood cells and hemoglobin, bringing oxygen to the skin. Yoga is known for its age defying properties internally while boosting collagen in the interim.
One of the biggest issues with aging is our digestion, and yoga helps promote digestion with various poses. Two great poses are the cat/cow pose or Apanasana, “the knees to chest pose.” The poses naturally stimulate the digestive system while also reducing inflammation. When digestion is slow, it affects the skin by upsetting the bacteria imbalance in our gut. This also affects our mood and mindset. These simple yoga postures serve to stimulate digestion and help us to look and feel younger while changing our internal physiology.
I haven’t looked into facial yoga yet but I’ve been amazed at what I’ve read. You can literally give yourself a natural facelift by performing a simple set of facial yoga exercises! Designed to boost circulation while naturally strengthening our facial muscles has a way of lifting the face. I’ve been dying to try it and now to find the discipline to do it over a period of time to track the results. I intend to give it a try and when I do, I’ll be documenting the before and after results and share those with you on the blog. I’m all for aging naturally with grace and saving myself both the cost and pain of a facelift! Stay tuned for more!