02 Apr Celebrating Women at Flex! Slowing the Aging Process with Yoga
Jen Kentrup, Yoga instructor at Flex, tells us how she copes with the inevitable changes and thought processes that a women goes through as she hits a milestone birthday.
I don’t usually celebrate my birthdays, however this year is a big one. In July I turn 50 and I plan to celebrate, not just the (staggering) accumulation of years, but more importantly the fact that I don’t feel anything like I imagined approaching 50 would feel.
At 49, I am in the best shape of my life. I am stronger than I have ever been, and I feel good, no- I feel great inside my body. Unlike many people my age I do not suffer from back issues and have no back pain. I credit all of that to Yoga. I know that for sure there are other factors involved, genetics, diet, overall good health and perhaps some luck. But, when it comes down to it- I am sure that Yoga is the main reason why I feel this way.
Back pain is no fun… In my opinion, one of the secrets to a happy life is living without back pain. For this reason, I always include abdominal work in my practice and when I teach. Abdominals help stabilize the lower back, and are a key factor in the framework of our postural muscles. Building and maintaining core strength is essential as we age.
I do enjoy the physical benefits of Yoga, and recognize the importance of staying fit, however for me, Yoga goes beyond the physical practice. Yoga provides an intangible connection to (and I struggle here to not sound cliché or too… Yogi) something bigger than myself. Yoga is a spiritual practice; it has the power not only to transform and heal the body, but also to transform our daily experiences and the way in which we experience the world around us. On the most simplistic level, I like to give the following example:
We breathe 24 hours a day, every day. Unless we suffer from illness such as a cold or asthma, we are generally totally unaware of our breathing. It happens automatically and literally within the sphere of our unconscious mind. When we practice Yoga however, we tune to the breath as a place of strong focus. By calling attention to our breathing, we become conscious of something that we were previously unconscious of, and in doing so, we literally expand our consciousness.
This is not earth shattering- but it illustrates how we can access parts of ourselves that are typically beyond our every day experience. It is this expansion of our awareness that can change the way experience of our lives.
As the summer approaches, I look forward to entering my 50s, and I am excited to see what the future holds and watch my practice evolve.
Yoga at Flex
The yoga program at Flex continues to grow, and we are pleased to welcome new gifted yoga teachers to our team, AND more classes from your favorite teachers!
Image: 2014 Beatrice Lee Photography