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I’m Not One of Those Gals Afraid to Tell Her Real Age

Andrea Ferretti Triangle Pose
Remember those moments, as a kid, when you just couldn’t wait to be a grown-up? You wanted to ride your bike with your friends after dark/dye your hair purple/sleep over at your boyfriend’s house and you agonized when your parents wouldn’t let you? Or do you remember feeling lost as a young adult and wishing that you had things “more figured out?”

Now, do you remember when the flip switched and you and your friends started lamenting, “Ugggggh. I’m soooooo old. How did this happen??!!”

I’m writing this on my 43rd birthday. And I want to erase the “I’m so old” lament phrase from my consciousness. I get it. I really do. I’ve been guilty of it. And I will cop to fact that the process of aging isn’t always easy. When you get carded until you’re 30, it’s hard to face the fact that you will never. Ever. Get. Carded. Again. And sure, to get a halfway decent selfie after the age of 35 you really have to hold the camera at the just right angle and 90% of the time it’s better for all of mankind if you delete it. (I am always barking at Jason, “Higher! Hold the camera higher!”)

But, stay with me here and think back a few years — a big part of the reason we had that desire to become a grown up is because we wanted control of our lives. We weren’t conscious of it, but we burned with the desire to step into ourselves, into our identities, and into our potential. As we age, that opportunity to hone our focus, to embrace who we are, and to become more skillful at living happily is right here, within our reach. Complaining  that we are “so old,” or perhaps worse, believing that being old is so bad, is a recipe for suffering. Put simply: it’s not fair to allow this inner narrative to percolate inside of us without, at least, questioning its origin. It’s a subtle form of self-sabotage, a way to take us away from what’s really truly present right now.

If we take a moment to shut out the messages that society sends to us, if we tamp down the ego that worries we will become obsolete if we do not learn Snapchat ASAP! If we just get a little bit quiet, we know, we know deep within how awesome it is to get older.

If you’re reading this and thinking — ‘Mmm, I’m not buying it,’ then I’ll put it this way: Think of how much better you are at everything in your life than you were 10, 15, or 20 years ago. I think about the angst I had just making simple decisions as a young adult and I’ve got all that stuff dialed in now. Here are a few examples:

I’m a better cook. I can crank out a delicious pesto sauce (with zucchini noodles, natch), a healthy batch of cookies, and the best sugar-free granola ever with relative ease. (And with a toddler hanging on my leg all the while.)

I know how to dress for my body. I’m curvy. I’m petite. I’ve known this for a long time. And yet, the early 30s me somehow couldn’t come to grips with this and continued to dress as though she was still the 95-pound ballerina from her youth. I’ll just say, never again skinny straps. NEVER AGAIN. (And thank you Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer.)

My yoga practice feels better. This is not to say that I’m achieving bigger or more challenging poses (although that’s also not out of the question), but I am far more skillful. I spent my late twenties doing traditional Ashtanga practice–apparently quite badly– and I was injured in one way or another for about three years. I am rarely injured now because I know my limits and I respect them. I know my body’s quirks, its vulnerabilities, its strengths and I want it to feel good. That’s the goal. Not getting my legs behind my head.

I’m better and more efficient at my job. This calls to mind Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-Hour Rule, which is that the key to success is practicing a specific task for 10,000 hours. Based on my experience, I completely agree with him. Writing and editing always felt natural to me, but going from the inception of an idea all the way to execution was not. I worked hard for years to train my brain, so hard that it sometimes reminded me of training at the gym. It’s so much easier now, because I’ve overcome work-related obstacles, come up with creative solutions, and dealt with enough problems to know I’ve got this. 

It’s easier to say no. Don’t want to take on a nose-to-the-grindstone, low-paying copywriting gig that will require me to work weekends for the next month? I don’t take it. Don’t want to stay out until midnight to hear the band play? I go home. Don’t want to watch the really sad, dramatic movie that everyone says is so cool? Nerp. My psyche is creative enough to come up with dramatic life scenarios on its own, thank you very much. I am a sensitive soul and I usually prefer comedy. No guilt, no shame, no blame.

I have better relationships. I’m a better communicator, which is key in any relationship. I also have more clarity about the kinds of people I want to spend my time with. And, finally, I don’t expect my friends to be perfect and make me happy. I just expect them to be my companions and to share life together.

I’m nicer. I’m less cynical. I’m more courageous. I spent years doing self-inquiry work, filling my journals with my thoughts, sitting quietly on retreat, listening to my teachers and processing my feelings with friends, family, and, paid professionals. And it’s helped! A lot. All of that work has paid off and I simply know myself better, which has put me more at ease. Being more at ease and more confident has made me kinder, more compassionate, more willing to take risks. I truly process less and let things go more naturally.

Finally, I have fully embraced the fact and am not ashamed that I like nonfiction better than fiction. And I don’t need validation about it. (OK, well maybe I do.)

What do you think? Doesn’t it feel good to know you never, ever have to go back to middle school again? Are there things that you feel better about as you’ve gotten older?

{Trikonasana photo courtesy David Martinez}


  1. And then 53 beckons! 23 in my head as long as I don’t look in the mirror – the only advantage about being so long in the tooth, is that you simply no longer care what other people think. There is more freedom in that and gives credence to the adage that youth is wasted on the young

    1. Hi Melanie! I love the benefit of caring less and less what people think…I even just bought a jumpsuit. Not a red polyester one but, you never know! It could happen! XO, Andrea

  2. “Kick! Stretch! And kick!”

    That video clip rocks!

    And so does this blog post!

    Thank you! (From a 44-year-old)

  3. I didn’t start practicing yoga until I was 48, so have nothing to compare a younger practice to. Practicing and teaching a few years later…I felt better both physically and mentally than I had in about 30 years! Though I’ve let the physical slide a little lately… my yoga in all its forms is with me always.

    Life can be so full and glorious, tragic and empty all within the same day, hour, minute it seems but riding the waves and making the journey is what it’s all about! You sound content with it all and ‘better’ seems to be a common word in what you’ve reflected on. Unless we decide to shrink our selves into something we think an older women should be, why wouldn’t we/life get better as we get to experience it all and learn as each year passes?

    Happy Birthday from another absolute non-fiction lover to another!

    1. Your words about riding the waves ring so true! Thank you for reading and for commenting. It is so great to hear from the other nonfiction lovers of the world 🙂

  4. ‘No guilt, no shame, no blame’, hooray! This was a lovely read and it makes coming to terms with 44 a bit easier. And I am totally with you on that camera angle!!

    1. It truly makes me happy to hear that the post made you feel good! (I still don’t have the camera angle mastered. Maybe by the time I’m 50?)

  5. Hi there:))love your writing. I am 47 and doing yoga more than 10 years. What I feel is in the beginning you are trying “to do” asana and now you are “being” asana itself… feel deeply and forget the rest.
    Love.. ipek:))

  6. hi Andrea
    You are so right, I’m 52 and my life had never be so good!
    I enjoy every bit like I never did when I was younger
    I’m doing yoga and please myself we all the things I have ever wanting to do or to wear!
    You will see, more you grow older, more you are yourself and more you are happy to be yourself!
    Hope you and Jason come to Nice (France) as I will be so happy to take classes with you!

  7. thanks for your post! I’m rockin 45! (And say hi to Jason – he doesn’t know me but I am his student on YogaGlo).

  8. Yes, I hear you. In your 20’s doing 1st and 2nd series and beginning third. Baby 1 comes along and you need two hernia repairs because of his size – Ashtanga but not like it use to be, why why! The feeling of utter uselessness crept in….so I tried harder….and got injured and had to back off. Then baby number two wouldn’t come along, I was practising 6 days ashtanga, so I decided to go home and put my feet up – nada, nothing, just chilling…..quite hard but taught me alot of patience… 2mths later successfully pregnant! Yippee. That was 7 years ago, and I am nearly 40 – my practice is so much different and is not Ashtanga, though I have fond memories of it. My practice now is enough for me to teach well and be a great Mum too, it’s certainly not advanced postures often, and it took a while to realise so young, that legs behind my head and tick-tocks weren’t the goal at all.

  9. Thank you for this! I’m cool with the fact that I am more decisive and know myself better than I did in my twenties; the problem is, persuading my friends that this is ‘me’ now and that I no longer want to party till 5 am! I think they worry that if we start going to bed early and eating/drinking well, that we’ve somehow ‘given up’ – but, for me, it’s about respecting my body and being in the best possible condition to give to others, whether these others be my fiancé, my students, my family or my friends.

    Regarding some of the other posts about taking up yoga later in life, my latest student is 79 years old, brand new to yoga, but determined not to develop kythosis – and I am learning so much from him about teaching and about the body! He rocks and we’ve done a deal where he teaches me tennis in exchange for yoga. He is a mean tennis player, still out on the court every day, still studying all the newest players.

    So let’s embrace getting older, tougher and kinder.

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