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The Amazing Things That Happened When I Started Yoga At 85

06/14/2014 07:52 am ET | Updated Aug 15, 2014
Phyllis Sues

Yoga is a way of giving back. The gift of life. Your body is a temple and if you give in, you will find universality. Yoga clears the mind and energizes the body and one is at peace with oneself and the universe. Yoga gives me a reason to wake up every day. Each day is a creative and positive day, when I'm practicing yoga. It allows me to face each problem and make the right choices. Yoga gives your body freedom to do things, you never thought possible. It's not bravery; it's dedication to working and practicing every day. When you make the decision to enter into a yoga program, your journey going forward will be positive, exciting and surprising. You will face challenges, that only occur with this practice.

Practicing yoga is a time thing. It's better to create, take time and enjoy the pose. In that way you improve the pose and most of all your body and mind benefits. Yoga is all encompassing. If you allow it and give yourself to it. Your mind and body will perform with amazing strength and your mind will be aware and alert.

Practicing yoga is a truth serum. It will and can change your life! Yoga gives a life filled with health, joy, dependability and truth. It cancels out fear, fear of the known and fear of the unknown. It can produce spiritual power, that is, if you open up and allow it to enter. It's not desire; it's the action and your decision that motivates one to be inspired. I do not want to exist. I want to live and live a life with quality. That means a strong body with strength, elasticity, balance, and an alert, active mind.

I'm not allowed to miss a day of yoga practice in my home or in the yoga studio. Yoga has become national and international. In my city, there is a yoga studio on every corner. I started yoga six years ago at age 85 and at that time, I had Arthritis in my knees and spine and Osteoporosis. Arthritis responds to movement and yoga. Osteoporosis responds to your own body weight. Practicing yoga is the building block and my way of life.

I look forward to each waking day with joy because I practice yoga. In yoga practice there is no age limit, absolutely none! Whether your 20 or 50, it's a plus and possible and a given, that your body and mind will improve, and joy will be the sunshine in your life.

Anthony Benenati is one of the great yoga teachers in Los Angeles. I have been practicing yoga with Anthony for six wonderful years. I recently sat down with Anthony and asked him some questions, so I could share with you.

Q: Your knowledge of how the body works is so all encompassing and you have brought that knowledge to yoga. Where did that knowledge come from?
A: I've always been a student of the body. It fascinates me. The most impressive, machine, imaginable. Its potential is astounding. I've dedicated my life to the study of it in yoga.

Q: You were in the military. How has that affected your direction and choice in life?
A: Yes. The U.S.A.F. from 1986-1992. I was a crew chief on C-141 cargo planes during Gulf War 1. I learned about discipline and integrity. Doing your job well and the satisfaction that comes with hard work. It has shaped my work ethic. Yoga is a perfect fit because it requires all of those qualities from the student.

Q: When did you become interested in yoga and why? It's a far cry from the military.
A: Injury, and a girlfriend many years ago brought me to yoga. I am forever grateful to her.

Q: Do you think yoga heals?
A: Yoga is a healing modality. People heal themselves all the time in yoga. I know from personal experience. I've had both knees surgically repaired and they are better than ever.

Q: What is the difference between an intermediate class and an advance class?
A: Beginning yoga is the foundation. Learning the language, the history, the philosophy and the basic postures and breath. Intermediate is exploring those postures further, while expanding the knowledge. Advanced yoga is like jazz music. The best jazz players are gifted and trained musicians. The have the ability to break the rules, because they know them so well. Same goes for yoga.

Q: What are the benefits of yoga for people over 50 or younger?
A: There is no age restriction for yoga. All can practice, no matter what physical condition they are in. We only modify the practice to suit their individual needs.

Q: What practice should you begin with?
A: A student should always start with an experienced beginning yoga teacher. They are the best teachers of yoga and if they are truly gifted and well-studied, they will be able to tailor the practice to fit their needs.

Q: Can Yoga help with Arthritis and Osteoporosis?
A: Two of the biggest reasons to practice are right there.

Q: How often should you practice Yoga?
A: I recommend at least 3+ classes a week for the beginner.

Q: Is meditation important for ones being?
A: Many would say it is the point of yoga. Yoga without meditation is Italian food without pasta.

Q: What would you say to people who are considering Yoga?
A: It isn't a religion. It is simply a practice, a tool to use in ones life to become more of your self. You must seek out a qualified teacher and study with them only, for a long time. If one teacher doesn't fit you, find another, and another, until you find your teacher. Don't give up!

Wise words! Thank you Anthony!

If yoga, my energy and drive were contagious, it's possible there would be health, peace and even joy in the world. It's worth a try!

yoga

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Phyllis Sues

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