Yoga Takes a Gentler Path toward Fitness

By Carter, John R. | The Florida Times Union, February 26, 1999 | Go to article overview

Yoga Takes a Gentler Path toward Fitness


Carter, John R., The Florida Times Union


Senior fitness is hot.

And there are four good reasons. Many older folks have:

The time.

The motivation.

A desire for more social interaction.

Doctors' orders to get with it.

Older folks' sheer enthusiasm for exercise and fitness training is what surprised Stephanie Shehan, a fitness coordinator at the YMCA in Fernandina Beach.

"The classes get bigger all the time," Shehan said. "And they're so into it, so competitive. We have this core group of die-hards who will stay for extra classes. And there's peer pressure, too. Miss a class, and they'll let you know about it. It's great."

Kurt Stringfellow, the YMCA's associate director, said fitness classes for seniors seem to be addictive.

"This sometimes becomes a big part of their socialization," he said. "And once they get a schedule down, they start to get into a habit. Then they feel guilty if they miss a class. And that's it." Susan Winter Ward is a nationally known yoga guru based in Colorado. Lately she's been producing books and videos especially for seniors, who have a natural affinity for her subject "perhaps because their life experiences have made them a little more reflective, a little more focused."

Dealing with seniors is not only rewarding, she said, but it bodes well for job security.

"Well, there are 76 million of us baby boomers -- and we aren't getting any younger," said the 50-something Ward.

Though she makes gentle jabs at aging, Ward is increasingly dismayed at the negative symbology associated with it.

"Gosh, it's all around us," she said. "From the black birthday napkins when we turn 50 to the insidious little phrases like 'over the hill' and 'the memory's the first to go.' "

Ward said that in many cultures, the elderly are revered for their wisdom and inner strength. But in the Western world, we seem all too anxious to "put folks out to pasture."

"If we start buying into all that we'll just ace ourselves right out," she said. "But we won't. Because baby boomers have re-created the world as we've gone along, and we'll continue to do that." Ward has a bad back to thank for her renewed interest in physical fitness. She had a lifelong problem with scoliosis that got progressively worse. In 1990 she began taking a yoga class.

"I hated it!" she said. "I felt so horrible after those classes. I now know that's part of the process. Because at first yoga just defines the weaknesses, brings everything to the surface. But I made up my mind that I was going to keep my mouth shut, reserve judgment and do it for one month."

Nine years later she's still going strong.

"It turned my life around. It put me on this wonderful path. I now know that yoga is really just a doorway. It's not a means to an end. It's a process. And it's ongoing."

As an outgrowth of her retreats and workshops with seniors, Ward recently produced a series of books and videos she recommends for older practioners.

Yoga for the Young at Heart explores a kinder, gentler form of yoga with an emphasis on stretching and meditation and patience.

Sitting Fit: Yoga Bits suggests ways to perform yoga "in a chair, anytime, anywhere."

Embracing Menopause is designed to help women through a time of transition with exercises to help deal with a specific set of physiological and emotional symptoms.

(The books and tapes are available at health-oriented bookstores, or can be ordered at 1-800-558-9642 or by e-mail through her Web site at www.YogaHeart.com.)

Ward thinks yoga is perfect for most people, particularly older ones. Unlike calisthenics or step-aerobics "where people come charging in and charging back out," yoga, she said, is much more concerned about attitude and state of mind.

"Of course the famous symbol of yoga is the thousand-petaled lotus," Ward said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Yoga Takes a Gentler Path toward Fitness
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.