Practising yoga is probably the most beneficial thing that we do for our health and wellbeing. We have always endeavoured to keep ourselves fit and healthy, but for preparation for old age, we feel there is nothing that can compete with practising yoga. Our strength, balance, endurance and flexibility have all been immensely improved. Although it is our intention to continue with our walking and cycling, there is no doubt that yoga takes first place if something has to be dropped.
We first discovered Ashtanga yoga whilst working in the pre-press area of the printing trade, which can be a high stress job. First there was the pressure of deadlines—these are always unreasonable. Then, as the owners of a company, there was the stress of doing the job right—mistakes can get very costly, especially if a job has to be reprinted! Luckily for us in 2001 a yoga school opened a few blocks from our office. We tried it and didn’t exactly like it at first but realised that yoga helped us with stress relief so we continued the classes. This is not to say that the stress no longer existed. At the end of a day we sometimes felt like we had been through a wringer. But after we had been to yoga, all the garbage from the day had gone—completely.
While working at TypeShop we practised in a class structure at Power Yoga for an hour and a half every day after work. Now we are living on the West Coast and practising by ourselves we have eliminated some of the postures and spend about an hour including seven minutes savasana (corpse pose) at the end.
Some of the postures in a regular Ashtanga sequence involve being inverted—headstands, shoulder stands and handstands. These postures are designed not only to help with strength, but also with blood flow. We might work back up to headstands and handstands but right now shoulder stands are the only inverted posture we do.
Although there is a chant at the beginning and end of the session, there is no suggestion that this is an attempt to convert people to Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other “ism”. The chant, and also chanting “Om” is just another breathing exercise.
There are many forms of yoga, we recommend finding a class and trying it out.