How to Teach Yoga to Older People

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Hi Friends!

There’s this question that came up in our training time here at Sundance. It comes up in every training we ever have. It’s asked about yoga, and then it’s asked about pretty much everything else we all do, together with each other as people. And usually it begins pretty simply, in one of two ways.

a) What do I do with old people? … or … b) How do I lead Beginners?

And from here the question always grows. Old people, young people, sick people, injured people, small people, big people, tall people, expert people, office people, school people, family people. How do I lead people who seem different from me?

What helps here is very simple. Focus on leading movement, rather than poses. The poses are there, but they’re not the aim. Learn to move well, teach people to move well.

Focus on poses can be quite separating. This group can do these poses. That group can’t do those poses. Suddenly you’re leading people who are different from you. This makes things more difficult, more theoretical. Instead, lead movement.

 

We all have these human bodies. Movement practices and principles follow the same path for all of us. And learning is about the same for everyone. We might look different to each other. But how we move through it all, we’re not different. We’re not separate. We’re together, and we’re so much the same.

 

How to begin? That’s simple. Begin where it’s easy to begin. I’ll give an outline for you below from the Four Corners Methodology for problem-solving, practiced in the Advanced Leadership Training this Summer in Berlin.

Your starting point might be from sitting or standing, lying down or on hands and knees. Wherever it’s easy for you to be comfortable. Create a good base to support where you are, and where you want to go next. Soften, enough that you’re movable. Create a relationship between your body and breath, so your breath moves you. Now, move your body as one whole body, from your center, a little in this direction, a little in that direction. Gradually, you cover all the directions.

Practice this way yourself, so you learn how to move well from wherever you are to wherever you want to go. And bother to get it right – softening, creating the right base, using your breath to begin each movement, then your center, whole body as one whole body, harmony not disconnection – even when you don’t have to. Even when you could simply choose disconnection and force, push harder rather than learn to do better, just to get it done.

If you practice this way, you’re not different from these old people. Or someone who’s sick, someone who doesn’t have a foot, someone injured, bigger or smaller, taller or shorter. Whatever our differences, they aren’t so different, they don’t separate us, when we practice this way. It’s a better place for you to be, and also a better place to be when you lead.

-Mike

 

About Strala Yoga Training

Strala combines the movement and healing wisdom of tai chi with the form vocabularies of yoga, tai chi, qigong, and Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine, to help people release stress, move easily through challenge, and live radiantly inspiring lives.

It begins with a mindset, that says our best way to get where we’re going is to feel good along the way. It also works miracles for whole health, helping us to find ease in our bodies and minds, and create the right conditions both for healing and optimal performance.

In our Strala Training Courses, you learn to shape your destiny on every level that counts, from your psychology, chemistry and neurology, to your chromosomes and even gene expression. The unique set of skills you develop – for connecting with yourself and others, unblocking your energy, healing what needs healing and accomplishing challenge with ease – uncovers your ability to create the life you want, and be an inspiring leader to the people around you.

Who’s What’s and When’s of Strala Yoga Training

 

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Monday 8am: Intention-Setting Meditation & Energize Yoga
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