I feel as if I am no longer ageing – Cryn Horn, London, England

What a fabulous thing to be able to say when you are over 60 years old. If this is what the practice of yoga can do for you, why would anyone not want to go to a yoga class?

Study after study has linked yoga with helping to regulate blood pressure, stabilise diabetes, balance hormones, reduce stress, strengthen weak muscles, align twisted limbs, increase lung capacity and make you feel happy – the list is endless. Happily yoga can be practised alongside other forms of exercise. For instance, it is increasingly popular with professional footballers, dancers, athletes, skaters, swimmers and almost anyone who uses their body for a living. As it utilises breath awareness and breath control, it can even be practised as a powerful tool by those who cannot do any other form of movement at all.

I was 50 when I went to my first proper yoga class. Stiff, grey-haired, just divorced, with no exercise in my daily routine at all. Could I sit crossed-legged? – No. Could I do a backbend? – No. How about standing on my head? – You must be joking!!! All common perceptions of what you do in yoga, but luckily I had found a wonderful and supportive teacher, so enjoyed a couple of years of steady progress.

When that teacher emigrated I went from studio to studio, trying out different sorts of yoga and amassing all sorts of injuries in the process. Eventually I found another sympathetic teacher and began practising again in earnest. After recovering from a major operation, I began to think it would be good to pass on some of what I had learned so others could benefit too. Luckily I found the Inner Yoga Trust.

Training with IYT reinforced (and also increased) all the good things I had thought about yoga and so I left full time work in order to concentrate on teaching. My life has just gone on improving day after day – it even helped me when my mother died. It was not that I wasn’t sad – it was that I could cope with being sad. And with the help of yoga I have been to the Himalaya, California, Arizona, Turkey, Italy and the top of the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square amongst other places!!!

The quote at the top of the article could have been mine, but was actually said by one of my students. I do hope it has helped some of you think about taking some form of yoga class.

Do you have to have a mat and dress up in a skintight leotard? No! – although you should wear loose comfortable clothes, and for certain postures a mat would help. (Most teachers can provide a mat for class until you can get your own.)

You can practice yoga sitting at your kitchen table or standing in a bus queue. The basic requirements are to find a teacher who you can relate to and trust, and to not do more than your body is comfortable with.

Give it a go.

Cryn also went onto Anthony Gormleys 4th Plinth
I was privileged to be chosen as one of the 2400 participants in Anthony Gormley’s ‘One and Other’ project in summer 2009. ‘My’ slot was one hour on a balmy Sunday evening in August so I tried to create a very relaxed atmosphere for friends and relations to meet in – even if only via the internet. Some yoga and the slow and careful arrangement of stones to form a yin/yang sign achieved that, I hope. It was certainly felt by the pigeon who joined me for a long part of the hour.

You can still see the whole experience here. Once in that site you can visit any of the 2400 hours. (I’m in week 4; Sunday 2nd Aug; 6pm).

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