Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 52 - Conversations with an 83-year-old yogi

Allow me to introduce my amazing 83-year-old yoga student, Max.

Max and I have been doing yoga together two to three times a week for nearly three years, and he is a total inspiration to me. We do a full practice together-- meditation, pranayama, opening poses, sun salutations, standing postures, seated postures, backbends and inversions. He has fierce concentration, likes to work hard, and is very interested in making sure that he is doing the postures "right" (no matter how often I tell him that there is no right or wrong way to do yoga).

Max is a Holocaust survivor originally from southern Poland. Despite not having any formal education past the age of 14, he has a sharp intellect and knows a lot about a lot. He and his younger sister escaped a Nazi raid that killed his whole family by hiding in the woods and working on small farms incognito until the War ended and they immigrated to North America. Max made his why to Montreal in the 1950s and set up a fashion house for ladies' evening wear, which became quite successful.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I like practicing with Max because it's like going on a journey. We discuss a variety of topics-- classical music, relationships, ballet, fashion, travel, food, Jewish history, and language. Although this may not seem like part of a serious yoga practice, but I've come to understand that it truly is. Conversation creates connection and yoga, of course, is all about connection. We should name this. "Chatter-asana," perhaps?

Here's what Max has to say about yoga:
"I do it because it's good for my body. It's unbelieveable. It helps my mobility. It gives me more flexibilty. I don't feel like and old man, except when i get out of bed in the morning, but that's another story. It's no fun to be 83 that's for sure. It's more fun to 63, but I think yoga helps my mentality and my brain. I like the breathing. Nobody thinks about breathing and that's so important. I can talk to you about yoga until Dooms Day. That's how i feel about it. Yoga is all benefits, to the body and to the mind."
(As for my 108 today, I still have a 72 to go... But now that dinner is digested, I'm going rolling out my mat and putting on some classical jazz.)

1 comment:

  1. Way to go Max! I think you are awesome! What an inspiration you are....I hope I will be half as devoted as you are when I reach my 80's. KEEP IT UP!