“Would I ever be able to do Sirshasan … At This AGE?” – Asked Vibha…
As I was about to leave her house. I casually replied, “Of course Yes” and left.
Age is just a number. There is no one better to exemplify this quote than Vibha – an author, a freelance writer for films, television, web and of course, a passionate Yoga practitioner for decades. I had met Vibha few years back when she was about to turn “50”. In our first meeting of around 30-35 minutes, she spoke intensely about her yogic journey and in fact, managed to show me some of the postures from her regular practice as well saying, “meri yoga teacher kahati hai, aapko toh sab aata hai aur maine aapko kya sikhau (my yoga teacher says you know everything, what more can I teach you?).” Looking at her postures, I realised, she was flexible and was optimising on that aspect alone during her practice.
Vibha needed to learn to strengthen her body, to improve her endurance, agility & power. She had no clue as to how to get into a posture with awareness, how to retain the posture in manipulation with gravity, correct muscle group & breathing and how to release it while conserving the gained energy. Anyway, we concluded the meeting and as I was about to step out, she paused and asked: do you think,
“I can ever do Sirshasan…. AT THIS AGE….”
Her facial expression showed strong longing for performing Sirshasan but with a tinge of doubt given her current age.
We commenced our practice very slowly concentrating on each and every aspect of asana – the neutrality of the spine, engagement of core, engagement of dominant body part meant for the particular posture, manipulation of body weight during movement as well as stability, understanding of pull of gravity to activate anti-gravity muscles, inner awareness during performance, breath manipulation etc.
Vibha embraced each of these teachings with full understanding & awareness. Just in a time of few months, she was able to comprehend positive changes in her body and mind with her dedicated & diligent practice. She had learned to engage the right group of muscles without straining joints, had became aware of the limitations of her body and knew exactly what actions to take to get the right balance in the body, in the mind ………and…….in life.
In the first year of her practice itself, Vibha performed her Sirshasan independently, fearlessly and with complete ease, thereby, achieving her goal. Performing Sirshasan needed:
1. A positive mindset (half the battle won – Vibha was already mentally prepared for that)
2. Strong core, stability of forearms, strong shoulders, control over the shoulder blades (during movement as well as to maintain stability), flexibility of the hips
3. Right technique to develop the right muscle memory from the very first attempt
Today, Vibha is 52 – her chronological age but much younger when it comes to her functional age. She practices sujok, meditation, endurance workouts & of course, Yoga regularly. She had been able to do Pincha Mayurasana (elbow stand) with the same grace and comfort as the Sirshasana and is further working on several other advance postures.
Does it mean that performing sirshasan alone should be the most important purpose of yoga practice? Does it mean if someone does Sirshasan, that person has mastered it all? Absolutely Not. But considering ‘Aging’ as an excuse not to do what can be done easily is definitely injurious to YOU.
Performing any activity, as per your current state of health, no matter what your age is, would definitely yield positive results.
Age is just a number
Cowards use it to hide their weakness
Warriors use it to enhance their performance
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.