I have been lucky enough to travel to many parts of the world. For my 60th birthday, my husband and I went to Bhutan. On April 1st, while there, the local children played silly jokes on us and said, in English, “April Fool!” It seems this day is a universal day, even in many places as far away as Bhutan in the Himalayas, to smile and be silly and laugh. (Or, as Mark Twain said, a day to recognize how foolish we are on the other days of the year!) Well, April 1st is also my birthday. This year, I am 64 and I keep hearing the old Beatles tune playing over and over, and children still play silly jokes on me to make me smile. So, upon becoming 64, I find myself being reflective.
When I was 21 I was introduced to yoga while traveling around by myself in India. I remember that the idea of being 64 seemed so distant and irrelevant. However, I now look back and wonder what my life would look like if I had not begun my practice then! What condition would I be in, physically, mentally? In what ways would I have traveled a different road and where would it have brought me?
I am thankful that I met the people who themselves were intrigued with the poses and the philosophies of yoga in such a way that it also attracted me to begin my own yoga path. And, since I have now been teaching yoga for a few decades (almost 40 years!) I hope that I have inspired others to begin yoga paths of their own.
With age, my practice also has changed, as my body has. I think this has made me a better teacher. Recently I saw a blog where a yoga teacher was saying that many senior yoga teachers (such as myself, I guess) did not attract as many students at some popular centers. Her solution, as a businesswoman, was to let those teachers go. My suggestion instead was to charge more for the senior teachers. We have more life experience, more years of working through many different challenges both our own and those of our multitudes of students. This should be worth more!
Well, I have a feeling my suggestion was not welcome. But, we senior teachers know that these younger teachers will also age and their bodies will change and maybe their practices will also. Since yoga has become so popular, there are many more young teachers, which is just wonderful, and right now, we seniors are definitely in the minority. But given time, all these young teachers will become seniors as well and the yoga world will continue to evolve.
Meanwhile, I will try to get that Beatles song out of my head, will continue to smile and enjoy the silly pranks of kids saying “April Fool” and will continue teaching yoga and appreciating the passing of each year with the promise of each new year. Happy April Fools’ Day, to everyone!