I do not get pains or aches like you, but I feel dryness and shrinking sensation in the sternum while doing backbends. This is how I have learnt , old age sets in. The sternum is known as a dry area, where energy recedes. Even a doctor will tell you this area is a bony structure and movement is very little. When shrinking goes on, naturally the life force does not reach there and so the life energy starts getting contracted. When the life energy starts contracting, the top ribs get smaller and smaller. There is no room or space for the energy to occupy. They get dried out, and the energy does not flow to the extremities. The lifeline becomes short and evaporates at the last moment.
Even today when you see my backbends, I do them more in the area of cervical spine than the lumbar or the thoracic dorsal spine, because the dryness is only here. This is what this age is teaching me, that life is shrinking and warns me to be careful. Do not allow the part to become dryer than what it is now, make it wet - that is, re-energize it and do not allow the area to shrink further. This is what I am learning even at this age. I did ask my pupils who are doctors to give the clues of old age other than muscles contracting. Not one has the clue. They talk about shrinking of muscles tightening of joints and stiffness. No doctor said anything about the dryness in the sternum. As I told you before, the refinement in the intelligence is so little that they cannot reach the solid area. Because of having trained my body for sixty years, it has developed its own sensitivity, its own intelligence. Now at this age it tells me that even the hardest part, the life in the sternum, is slowing down and drying out. It cautions to be careful. So I have to attend more in order to keep my sternum wet. Who will understand this? Tell me. I make the Self expand itself to the sternum so that shrinking is stopped. At this stage, at a different age the new understanding, new penetration, the fresh courage is required and again with my determined practice, I eradicated this dryness and shrinkage.