Now I'm An Enemy of Aging. Really?

Dear Readers,

In June I was asked to write an article for 90 Monkeys about how to teach older yogis, which made sense because I am one. At 52, I have been practicing for 15 years and have gained some experience with the ins and outs, or ups and downs of aging on the mat.

In that article I expressed sympathy for a younger teacher who said she was afraid to teach older yogis. Many new teachers are hesitant to teach yogis of varying abilities. I don't "condone" being afraid to teach older students, I was simply saying "I get it." Now let me offer some advice.

Since then, J. Brown, owner of Ahybasa Yoga in Brooklyn NY, has insisted that I am "an enemy of aging." This week he posted this allegation on yogadork. Here is my response:

Dear Jason,

I rather liked the overall point you made in the article on Yogadork on gentle yoga, even though you used a photo of a woman in her 90’s doing an extremely difficult arm balance to demonstrate it (shame on her?).

Meanwhile, I must ask that you please stop trying to paint me as “an enemy of aging.” I’m older than you for goodness sakes. Secondly, just because I attempted to coach a younger teacher to feel more comfortable with teaching people of different ages, and abilities, does not mean I condone her initial fears or attitude that to do so was frightening. I think many newer teachers, of any age, are overwhelmed to teach students with varying abilities, whether they admit it or not. It is easier to guide a Vinyasa class of updogs and downdogs, than it is to work with a student with a hip replacement. However, I work with students with hip replacements and new knees all the time as I am a Wisdom Warrior teacher for students over 50.

It is also quite a reach to say that because I enjoy practicing both with people my age and in classes of mixed ages and abilities, that I am a proponent of yoga selfies. Seriously? Have we even met? What else can you tell about me based on how I practice? How I vote? What I’m having for dinner? If I prefer my martini shaken or stirred?

You have gotten a lot of mileage out of misconstruing my article and my intention, which was to find a way to have the old and young, the able and the disabled practice in a way that supports each other and in peace and harmony. I am asking you nicely to stop.