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Yoga for 50+ by Richard Rosen
Spa expert Dr. Rajesh Srinivas reviews Yoga guru’s book on Yoga for the elderly

The book starts on a poignant note that 50 years need not be considered as the start of old age, but of a fresh beginning. The author makes it clear that there is no age bar for Yoga practise and it can be started at any age and can be easily continued for as long as one wants.

The first part starts with a brief history of the origin and evolution of Yoga through the ages. There is a clear mention of how it is not a mere physical practise as popularly understood in the West, but essentially a spiritual discipline with a much greater emphasis on evolution of the soul where all practices are meant to converge to facilitate the “yoking”  ( Yoga’s root meaning is to “yoke”)  of the individual soul to the universal consciousness. Basic beginners’ tips on posture, the whys and hows are mentioned along the proper use of props. Most importantly, the message is loud and clear on what to do when there is pain – which in most people becomes an unconscious part of daily existence.

The second part reveals simple exercises that are a preparation for regular Yoga postures with tips that can come from only a highly conscious and ardent practitioner. The set of preparatory exercises covers a proper warm up of all important muscle groups and joints.

The third part outlines 50 postures that are modified as per the bodily limitations that creep in with age. Starting with the sun salute most of the important postures are clearly mentioned right up to complete relaxation with the corpse posture. The lucid description on ways to modify postures to suit limited flexibility is very valuable. The photographs further clarify the effective use of props. A word of advice though; the use of the chair as a prop has to be done extremely carefully as it can lead to unexpected injuries and hence must be attempted only with proper supervision.

The fourth part talks about breathing practices which has to be the natural progression from postures just as expounded by the great Indian sage Patanjali.

 The last part, which forms the appendix, talks about practical aspects of practise that would lead to a lifetime of vibrant health and happiness. References from the “Gita” certainly give the suggestions a lot more credibility for the Indian reader. The last piece on how to find the right teacher is extremely valuable in this age where Yoga courses are offered even on the internet and gives an alibi for almost anybody to claim that he is a “guru”.

In essence, this is a very practical, usable book that is certain to come in handy for anybody who wants to get into the actual practise of Yoga rather than just reading it up as one interested in the Indic sciences. It is not only for the 50 plus but is perfect for anybody starting out on the path of Yoga…Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi…………. 

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