Yoga For Cranky Old Farts – By Andy Richardson

I’m not cranky….but my body sometimes is.

So much is written about the explosive growth of yoga in the US. Not surprising, as it’s now over a $30 billion dollar industry. Then there are articles about the scandals, lawsuits and what not that pretty much hold the rest of the limelight. But while all this is going on, there is a growing number of people whose bodies are aging, creating not just a new industry, but almost a new yoga.

Okay, I confess, I’m not really that old; I don’t even have that mindset. But I do have to face the reality that my body is aging. I’m not cranky, either, but my body sometimes is. Okay, it’s more often than sometimes; I’m allowed a little bit of denial. With life comes bumps and bruises, emotional and physical, all of which manifest themselves in the body. At 47, I’m starting to feel the cumulative effects of those bumps and bruises.

“Birds of Paradise? Fuggetaboutit.”

The challenge I’m experiencing is that my practice is advancing at the same time. I want to do things that others in class can do so effortlessly. Indeed, chaturangas are rapidly making their way out of my practice. The mere thought of side crow starts my hips aching. Birds of Paradise? Fuggetaboutit. I’ve struggled with this, and have talked to a number of my age peers who say the same thing.

Ah, but wait! With age comes patience, wisdom and a deeper spirituality. My ego is fading and my practice is slowing down. I worry less about keeping up and focus more on mindfulness, grace and ease. My transitions are becoming a practice in themselves. Every class becomes a new discovery, and I’m developing a self acceptance and gentleness toward myself that I didn’t have during my decades of competitive sports. All of a sudden, aging is becoming a badge of honor!

So bring it, yogathletes, bar stars and former dancers and gymnasts. Practice with me. I love to admire your strength and flexibility. I’ll be right there with you, practicing my inner strength and flexibility. Maybe, just maybe, my patience will pay off and one day I’ll find myself sticking Birds!

This article was originally written by Andy Richardson: Recovering cranky old fart, and avid yogi. Check out Andy at

Kyle Weiger

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