When I discovered yoga 40 years ago, I started on a journey fueled by curiosity and a desire to find effective ways to take better care of my body. At the time, I suffered from sciatica (pain along the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back down the leg). Like many active people, I pushed through searing agony so that I could keep up adventures such as skiing the Wyoming backcountry, trekking in Nepal, and cycling through the Badlands. My pain continued to intensify for years, and it took me more than a decade to find relief—but I finally did, through yoga.
The sequence on the following pages helped alleviate my pain, and it’s one that I regularly practice and teach to students of all ages. It’s the culmination of years of study and training in myriad yoga disciplines, including Iyengar and Kaiut.
Each movement is done in slow motion, and much of it is practiced on the floor. As I move into my 85th year, I find this work is accessible and more appropriate for my aging body. What’s surprising is how beneficial it is for my students, too—many of them five decades younger than I. They find it challenging and effective for easing aches or stiffness and offering more freedom of movement in their everyday lives.
As you practice, hold each pose for two minutes. This will allow time for your nervous system to accept the pose and your major joints to be fully nourished. May you reap the benefits of yoga— a healthy body, mind, and spirit—through every decade.
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About the author
Octogenarian Juliet Sherwood teaches Healthy Joints yoga classes at the Iyengar Yoga Center of Denver, where she follows a methodology developed by Francisco Kaiut. She has studied with many teachers over the years, including B.K.S. and Geeta Iyengar, Faeq Biria, François Raoult, and Patricia Walden. Learn more at iyengaryogacenter.com.