Adults over age 65 are the fastest-growing sector of the US population and – like many Americans – are becoming increasingly drawn to yoga. Studies published in Yoga Journal, AARP magazine and medical journals alike all tout the health and wellness benefits of yoga for the aging population – helping an array of challenges from managing arthritis and cardiovascular issues to lowering blood pressure without any medications.
Since 2012, South Floridian-transplant Terry Lakritz has been connecting adults 55+ through the art of yoga at Vickery Rose Retirement Resort. Combining the best of current, evidence-based medicine with the ancient wisdom, experience and tradition of Yogic teachings, Terry’s wish is to share the rewards that come from supporting the health of our elders, honoring their stories, and witnessing the beauty and power of the ever-young human spirit and its fullest expression at this important stage of life.
Following her formal education in Anatomy and Physiology, she set out for an extensive career in the pharmaceutical industry. During her career, she worked in various areas including cardiovascular, women’s health, and pain management. During her time she was exposed to physicians, hospital execs, therapists, pharmacists, and patients all seeking the next magical medical care or cure.
Debilitated and depressed resulting from a serious injury, Terry realized after countless hours of rehab, recuperation, physical therapy and pain management that she needed to help herself.
“A therapist suggested I try yoga,” Terry says. “At the time, I thought no way, not me.”
She began exploring classes at her local gym. Feeling deflated at first, she lacked the ability to raise her arm above her head, straighten her arm, or turn her neck. As she continued going regularly, she got serious about regaining her strength and began to notice improvements.
“I was lucky to have such an encouraging and observant instructor,” says Terry. “She encouraged me to continue my training and learn the therapeutic side of yoga.”
Embarking on a new journey in life, she retired from her career in pharmaceutical management and set out to attain certification as a Registered Yoga Teacher from the Yoga Alliance.
“The program was one of the best things I ever accomplished,” says Terry. “While finding ‘me,’ I also discovered a gift that I felt I needed to share with others.”
Shortly thereafter, she began teaching classes at 55+ retirement communities in the North Atlanta area. I started teaching in the North Atlanta area in small classes.
“We find the connections that bring us together. We laugh. We learn. And we challenge our bodies to do what they can – stretch, flex, and ultimately increase the quality of our lives,” Terry explains.
Terry continues to reap the life-enriching rewards of her students that attend her yoga sessions.
Throughout her classes, she weaves her infectious enthusiasm and thought-provoking meditations, combining classic Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, and Barre. Her Yoga sessions are geared to mature bodies, which include chair-based practices and skillfully adapted postures for those able to get down to and up from the floor. A balance of lecture, movement, skill-building sessions, and discussion, Terry’s students learn about common ailments affecting older adults and how to respond to complex medical challenges.
Terry’s classes also integrate a diverse blend of sounds.
“We utilize all different playlists from Josh Groban and Andre Bocelli to the Beatles and Bon Jovi,” Terry says with a smile. “We begin with a relaxing piano solo to open our hearts and often shift to a little rock and roll for weights.”
With a conceptual understanding of the psychology of sound, Terry morphs her students into movers and shakers. Before her students shoot out of their seats, she shifts their focus of energy by closing with a calming meditation, savasana, and lavender oil massage.
“We feel completely relaxed, calm, yet invigorated – it’s an incredible way to start each day,” she says.
Terry invites you to join her on her journey. In the weeks ahead, she endeavors to shed more light on her love for yoga and expand upon its many benefits for seniors. In the meantime, Terry would love to hear from you. Please send your questions to her at terrylakritz329 [at] gmail.com.
About Terry Lakritz
Terry Lakritz is an Alpharetta, Georgia-based yoga therapist known for her infectious enthusiasm connecting adults 55+ through the art of yoga. She weaves thought-provoking meditations throughout her classes that combine classic Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, Barre, and Chair Yoga. As a former professional in the pharmaceutical industry, she’s discovered yoga is the golden elixir to life enrichment. She loves working with seniors and wishes to share the rewards that come from supporting the health of our elders, honoring their stories, and witnessing the beauty and power of the ever-young human spirit and its fullest expression at this important stage of life.