Thursday, March 7, 2019

Featured Accessible Yoga Teacher: Tammy Rose

Why I Love Teaching Senior Women

Yoga has eluded me for most of my life. It was something I found so intriguing more so for the spiritual aspect than the physical. Often I wanted to try but I found it too intimidating. I didn’t think I “fit in.” I thought I was too big or not flexible enough or didn’t understand the lingo. I would try a beginner class only to find some students practicing Handstand, which left me feeling inadequate and not wanting to return. 

Eventually, I got fed up! I decided I wanted more and I deserved more! More yoga for people like me, and there are a lot of us! So I signed up for a yoga teacher training and jumped in with both feet!

Through the nine months of training, other aspects of yoga came to my attention—thanks to social media—that I had not heard of before: Accessible Yoga with Jivana Heyman and Yoga For All with Dianne Bondy. These two amazing humans are changing the face of yoga by making toga available and accessible to all bodies. Regardless of age, body, ability or knowledge, yoga is for everyone.This is exactly what I needed to hear!

I also discovered Chair Yoga, something I never knew was even an option prior to my training. What a wonderful world this four-legged friend has opened up for me and countless others. Upon being certified, I began teaching Chair Yoga at my local community center and haven’t looked back. I teach to seniors who, as I was, are looking for an outlet to remain active and feel included while doing so. Little did they know, they too can practice yoga!

Although I was concerned that not being a senior or their peer would be a negative, none of that seemed to matter. What has developed from these weekly meetings of energy sharing is much stronger and more beautiful than any label could describe.

While we practiced Downward-Facing Dog pose using a chair and inhaled at our heart centers, something else was happening. As we were learning asana and pranayama, a community developed! Friendships blossomed and support was abundant. Of course, there is no age limit on human kindness and spiritual connection. We share stories of our families, illnesses, trips, dreams, and, of course, lots of laughter. Also, this age group is very comfortable in their skin and are not afraid of expressing their opinion, which provides an opportunity for many interesting discussions on everything from pop culture to politics. They also love music and dancing so I include a song at the end of each session and we do some chair dancing. It is so much fun that they now bring me song requests!

What started out as a journey to serve myself ended up being a gift to serve others. I absolutely love my seniors and look forward to their presence every week. Although I am considered the teacher, they have taught me as well about the resilience of the human spirit and it inspires me to continue teaching to this lovely group of people. Being a senior is not always about what you can no longer do as much as it about what you can still do and enjoy to the fullest! 

Tammy Rose completed her yoga teacher training at Sun and Moon Yoga in Dorval Quebec in June of 2017. She has also completed Yoga For All certification with Dianne Bondy and Amber Kearne. Since September 2017 she has been teaching Senior Chair Yoga at community center Centre Du Sablon in Laval Quebec. She is also an Accessible Yoga Ambassador!

This post was edited by Nina Zolotow, co-editor of the Accessible Yoga blog and Editor in Chief of Yoga for Healthy Aging.

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  1. I'm with you! LOVE teaching senior women. We are so patient, in the moment, focused. Natural yogis!

  2. Yes, I started my yoga journey as a 37 year alcoholic and now, at 45, can see how transformative the poses have been in helping me re-shape my mind. Older persons yoga is all about grace, forgiveness and un-striving.