Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Baby Boomers and their Bucket Lists. All you need is yoga!

So, what's on your bucket list?  Does it include an inventory of exhilarating adventures like climbing Mt. Whitney, skiing Mak-M-Stairs-Plunge in Colorado, backpacking the Appalachian Trail or cycling through the hills of Tuscany?  Or maybe something a little less intimidating but equally thrilling, like swinging a golf club at un uncooperative little ball and driving it 200 yards down a pristine fairway.  Or the thrill of smashing an explosive forehand down the line to win your match and secure the title of Baby Boomer Open Champion.  Whatever your dream yoga can help.

We all need bucket lists.   They remind us that we are never too old to have dreams and never too old to set new goals.  Goals and dreams keep us young at heart and physical challenges keep us strong in mind and body.  We are never too old to experience the pride and sense of thrill that accompanies every accomplishment.

One of the goals on  my bucket list is to encourage others to establish their own lists and then help them achieve their goals. To help accomplish this, I have written a fun, motivational book "Take Two Asanas And Call Me In The Morning."  It is an easy to follow guide to help Baby Boomers safely engage in common recreational sports with the help of yoga.  In truth, you do not need to be an official Baby Boomer to benefit from the simple practices supported with easy to follow photos and just two  poses for each sport: hiking, skiing, cycling, golf, swimming, tennis, walking and horseback riding.  My yoga practice has made profound changes in my physical abilities and emotional well being which has allowed me to complete challenges that I was not capable of in my pre-baby boomer years.  It can do the same for you.

Frequently it is the nagging, noisy chatter of the mind more than the snap, crackle and pop of the body that hijacks our best intentions and keeps us from reaching in to that bucket and eagerly attacking our list.  However, sometimes all we need is a little encouragement and a lot of teamwork and that is where yoga is at its best.

Teamwork is all about cooperative effort and yoga teaches us that it takes the integration of mind, body and spirit working cooperatively to overcome the physical and emotional objections we so often succumb to.

I am frequently asked if there are distinct yoga asanas (poses) or sequences to support specific activities.  I always give a very clear and straightforward answer.  Yes and No.

I am completely convinced that a well-rounded yoga practice will help improve ability with all physical activities, whether it be the demands of running a 10 minute mile or lifting a gallon of milk on to the top shelf of the refrigerator.  The more you understand how to balance strength with flexibility, improve concentration and rely on the breath as your most trusted friend, the more you will be able to reach into your resource bag of experience when a particular muscle protests at the most inconvenient time and place.  However, different activities do demand more work from specific muscle groups and their supporting structures.  Targeting those areas with focused awareness can help direct energy where it is needed most, improve agility and heighten your enjoyment of the experience. Warning: Many type A Baby Boomers are at serious risk of minimizing the importance of enjoying the experience while chasing the goal.  Fortunately, yoga can help with this, as well. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination.

What makes yoga different from other "training" methods is that in addition to teaching you how to prepare your body, it helps you learn to focus the mind, incorporate the breath and bring acceptance to the present while pursuing the future.  The objective of "Take Two Asanas And Call Me In The Morning" is not intended to replace a complete yoga practice, but to provide a simple routine comprised of only two yoga poses.  The poses are chosen to address the structures most challenged during a specific activity or sport.  The motto is "keep it simple and applicable" but detailed enough so that even those with limited or no yoga experience will be able to quickly integrate and apply the information. If you maintain a routine yoga practice you might look at these practices as a tune up.  If not, perhaps the rewards you experience will entice you to delve deeper into the seductive world of yoga. Whether you are a daily, preventive practitioner or a wounded weekend warrior, "Taking Two Asanas" along with staying hydrated may be just what the doctor ordered.





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