Briarcliff Yoga of Briarcliff Manor, New York: Review – No matter your size or shape, age or physical limitation, “There’s always something to do,” when it comes to Yoga, says Sue Flamm, puja director of Briarcliff Yoga in Briarcliff Manor, New York. She puts her money where her mouth is too, as she currently instructs an intergenerational Yoga class with seniors and school aged children at the facility that houses Mt. Kisco Child Care and My Second Home in Mt. Kisco, New York.
Seniors certainly fall among those of us who’d like to decrease the limitations of age and stress on the body’s physical abilities. That’s why, she says, “keeping them moving with their body and their breath gets the blood flowing and facilitates healing”. And she says it shows in the seniors from the beginning of class to the end.
On the other hand, the kids just love being along for the ride with their “second” grandma and/or grandpa. It sets up an interesting, yet challenging dynamic for Ms. Flamm, as she has to modify the workout so it conforms to an interactive class for both seniors and children. For instance, to keep everyone involved, she says, “I’ll have the seniors stretching in their chairs with their feet up and have the kids crawl underneath.”
She also has children partnering off with seniors into numerous “hand dances.” Arthritis obviously can be prevalent among seniors so keeping joints in the hands lubricated and open through stretching helps cut down on the painful symptoms.
Beyond the body, seniors just find the 45 minute class relaxing according to Phyllis Martin, the center’s intergenerational director, and “they’re very much liking that Susan has respect for their bodies in terms of what their limitations are and what their strengths are,” she added.
Ms. Flamm became acquainted with yoga when she attended a class as a 16 year old and has loved it ever since. “It’s very self-nurturing for me,” she says, and with the mental, physical and spiritual benefits available, she adds that it’s all about “where you want to take it.”
She says her regular classes are more on the spiritual side and she believes “the spirit is within all of us so when people do yoga, they connect with themselves and then they connect with the spirit.” Her intergenerational class does not on the surface attempt to make that connection, but for anybody seeking the serenity of the mind, just breath.
From your Yoga posture from your Yoga mat, don’t forget to focus, though, because focusing on your breath means focusing on the moment. “We tend to dwell on the past or project into the future and not enter into the moment, she says, “so when you enter the moment it’s like the past and the future take care of themselves.”
Still, the same issues cease to creep into even the most disciplined of minds and that includes time spent on the Yoga mat. She likens the repetition of the mind to a spiral. She says, in class “when you go up the spiral, you have a different view on the same issues and that can be used as a tool to look at things in a more therapeutic, emotional state.”
Or maybe Yoga just seems like the next cool thing to do if you’re a kid. Freeze Dance to the music and strike a Yoga pose on the cut out Yoga circle. Kids also hike their way up a pretend mountain with a favorite senior and become part of the healing as they gain an appreciation “for what seniors are able to do” with their bodies, says Ms. Flamm..
It’s all something “I don’t think many people are doing in the Yoga world,” says Ms. Flamm but it shouldn’t exclude all the other age groups in between from thinking about taking on something different. Especially when, she says “people are looking for a little oasis of peace” in the stressful times we live.
Rich Monetti interview of Sue Flamm and Phyliss Martin