“So, what made you interested in all this at such a young age?”
One of my classmates was intrigued that I was attending a workshop entitled “Transform Your Energy, Change Your Life” at Kripalu, a center for yoga and wellness.
It’s a question I’ve asked myself as well, noticing that I’m often times the youngest person whether I’m in yoga teacher trainings, reiki courses or other wellness related workshops.
I began to share my story.
I’m fortunate to have discovered yoga while I was in high school. I remember a couple of close friends and I planned to go to a class together at our local gym— plus we heard the instructor was cute. What was originally a mini social event turned into something much more. Yoga seemed to alleviate my monkey mind and the pressure I had put on myself to “do it all”. It was junior year of high school and I was in the midst of over extending myself with AP classes, playing travel soccer year round, and keeping up socially with my friends. At about this time I was also diagnosed with ITP, or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. I’m fortunate that ITP allows me to live my life quite normally, but the one symptom that never leaves is fatigue. Yoga was a source of movement that didn’t completely deplete me, but instead nourished and energized me.
Since my first yoga class, I kept following the “spiritual breadcrumbs” as Pam Grossman likes to say. I can’t really pinpoint when this happened, but after a couple of years of practicing yoga I realized it was not only a physical practice for me, but a spiritual experience as well. Throughout college and onwards I explored different types of yoga classes, a yoga teacher training, reiki classes, a meditation course, and various other workshops and trainings. I notice I do tend to be on the younger side of these classes, but it’s never something that made me feel alienated or uncomfortable.
After all, what attracts people to these types of trainings has nothing to do with age, but everything to do with curiosity, a search for something “bigger than ourselves”, and a desire for community. Furthermore, these trainings are filled with storytelling, which relates people regardless of age and background. Hearing people speak their truth breaks down separateness and differences.
My question is, what is the “correct” age to do all this? My answer: there isn’t. As a lifelong learner, I see these courses I take as “college for adult life”. What all these courses have in common are that they offer ways to alleviate stress and add lightness to everyday life. I tell my peers about the courses I take, and the interest is there. One obstacle for people in their early 20s may be cost, as these courses have ranged anywhere from $250 – $2,400. It’s easier for people to have this kind of disposable income when they are more developed in their careers and have paid off student debt.
As time goes on I believe these trainings will have more representation from younger age groups. Yoga and mediation are being exposed to kids in elementary school these days, and I think exposure has a lot to do it with it. Yoga classes were offered at my local gym while I was in high school. I know that wasn’t the case for my parents. I believe it’s generational.
I’ll continue to explore my spiritual curiosity because I know my presence and participation enhances the experience (that can be said about anyone, no matter the age or background!) for all.