If you're in your 60s or beyond, you may be interested in easy approaches to yoga that help keep the joints mobile and the circulation steady. The following book contains a series of joint and gland exercises that are easy to perform:
Rudolph Ballentine, M.D., editor, Joints and Glands Exercises: As Taught by Sri Swami RRama of the Himalayas (Himalayan Institute Press, 1977). This is an excellent overview of a series of easy-to-perform yoga exercises that can be particularly helpful to seniors.
As you progress in your senior years, you may find that your interest in the spiritual aspects of yoga deepens even more. The following books on the spiritual foundations of yoga might be of particular interest:
Bernard Bouanchaud (Rosemary Desneux, trans.) The Essence of Yoga: Reflections on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. (Rudra Press, 1997). This book uses the time-honored tradition of teaching the foundational principles of yoga by presenting in translation and then commenting upon the terse aphorisms of the first recorded expert on yoga, Patanjali.
Swami Venkatesananda, The Concise Yoga Vasistha (State University of New York, 1985). This is a highly readable abridgement of one of the greatest and most profound scriptures of yogic philosophy.
Many yoga experts consider the Bhagavad Gita to be the "bible" of yoga philosophy. There are many translations and commentaries available upon this seminal yogic text, which forms an essential part of the most sacred yogic writings, the Upanishads. If you're interested in going right to the source, visit your local library or bookstore and select the version of the Bhagavad Gita that appeals most to your inner knowing.
One of the most accomplished practitioners and teachers of the yoga of self-discovery in the 20th century was Jean Klein (1916-1998.) A musicologist and medical doctor from Central Europe, Klein pursued a lifetime practice of Advaita Vedanta, a branch of yogic philosophy concerned with inquiry into the self. He taught his students an approach to exploring the mind and self-awareness, both in Europe and in the United States. His teachings are available in a series of books, with such apt titles as Who Am I?, Be Who You Are, and
I Am. You can find out more about Jean Klein and his work by visiting the Website of the Jean Klein Foundation at www.jeanklein.org.
Richard Miller studied with both T.K.V. Desikachar and Jean Klein. His Website contains information and links to other sites that explore inquiry into the self: www.nondual.com.
Finally, as you enter your senior years, don't forget that among the major paths of yoga is that of karma yoga, the yoga of liberation through devotion and service to something greater than yourself. If you're in your 60s or beyond and have some time to share, consider volunteering for a worthy organization: In this way, you can put your lifetime of experience to good use in a conscious and active approach to yoga practice that will help to serve the planet while making you feel good as well.
Gary Kraftsow on yoga for the phases of a man's life:
"As children, our practice should support the balanced growth and development of body and mind. As adults, our practice should protect health and promote the ability to be productive in the world. As seniors, our practice should help us maintain health and inspire the deeper quest for self-realization."12
—Gary Kraftsow, Founder of the American Viniyoga Institute
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