Years ago, and I don t know why, I took a yoga class. Maybe I was feeling a bit uptight, a little brittle, in need of some flexibility. If only I could put my leg behind my neck everything would be better. It wasn't. The problem was my class was right after work, across town, and taught by a woman who ran her studio like a drill sergeant,which I thought kind of defeated the whole purpose. I kept wanting to tell her to relax, which was what she should have been telling me. I had to rush to get there, was almost always late, and it took me the whole hour just to calm down. People were rolling up their mats and heading home by the time I was getting my breathing under control. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. I always left exhausted and soon became a yoga dropout. A loser in the lotus position. But now, with the world, my body and my 401(k) all crumbling, I'm thinking about returning to the mat. I read the other day that more and more of us are. Makes more sense than escaping to some mindless movie, which millions of Americans also are doing these days. The benefits of yoga, at least, stay with you long after the credits roll. Or at least I m told. As if some sort of sign from above, a yoga book even landed on my desk just this week. Boomer Yoga: Energizing the Years Ahead for Men & Women comes out this month. It's from Beryl Bender Birch, author of the best-selling Power Yoga. Her timing couldn t be better. Birch says the book is for those 78 million of us of a certain age -dare I say middle?- and it takes us through the eight yoga steps, beginning with the postures (asana) and ending with meditation (dhyana). I hardly got into position, let alone a meditative state, during my first futile foray into the world of seven chakras. Maybe things will go better this time. Maybe I ll even be able to breathe. I'm cautiously optimistic. You certainly have to be impressed by Birch's optimism. She promises if we do an easy 40 minutes of yoga a day, three or four days a week, we'll quickly move toward happiness and contentment. That's less time than happy hour takes and sounds like a better investment than anything being offered on Wall Street these days. Birch does say a few odd things, though. It's in the doing that the change happens, for instance. Where it takes you is where it takes you is another. They sound akin to things happen and it is what it is. But at this point I'm willing to take the leap. That is, if leaps are taken in yoga. I'll let you know. USA Today - March 11, 2009 Life » Books Final Word: Try yoga while we re all waiting to exhale --Final Word by Craig Wilson, USA Today - March 11, 2009
About the Author
Beryl Bender Birch is Director of The Hard & The Soft Astanga Yoga Institute (since 1981). She is one of the most highly regarded and well-known yoga authorities in the United States. Best known for bringing yoga into mainstream American society as well as the traditional athletic community, Beryl has taught Power Yoga to tens of thousands of athletes. Beryl was the Wellness Director and Yoga Teacher-in-Residence of the New York Road Runners Club from 1981 - 2004. She has been featured in nearly every national publication.