While many yoga classes across the country seem to cater to the youthful enthusiast who wants to sweat his or her way through an hour-and-a-half workout, a growing number of 50+ are raising questions about the best way to safely introduce yoga into midlife and beyond. We explore how to safely start yoga after 50.
Starting a new activity can be daunting and it can be challenging to start on your own, but finding a yoga studio that is convenient for your life will eliminate any reason to not to go and find a friend to attend with. The Australian Yoga Journal recently discussed why yoga is a beneficial physical activity for the over 50’s and also offered some tips on how to start and get the most from you yoga practice.
Yoga assists wellbeing at all ages. Here are the key benefits of maintaining a yoga practice into your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
- Flexibility and mobility: our body naturally encounters stiffness of the joints.
- Relaxation: different concerns arise with age, including the responsibility of being a primary carer or living on a pensioner’s wage.
- Sleep: many older people have difficulty sleeping.
- Focus: maintaining mental agility and focus.
- Pain relief.
- A sense of community and inclusion.
Tips for your own yoga practice
- Get upside down once a day. Even if it’s Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose. Inversions rest the legs and get more blood into the abdomen and heart.
- Don’t give up forward bends. If you have blood pressure issues, take that into consideration.
- Continue with lateral bends. Simple side bends encourage a healthy spine.
- Movement is everything. Wrist and ankle rotations are under-rated.
- Recognise that your practice will change. Accept “what is” and that you may not be able to do everything you once did—modify, modify and modify again.
- Yoga is time to focus on yourself. Forget the rigours of everyday life and use your practice to recharge.
- Practice Savasana—it can be one of the hardest postures for some people!
- Breathe. Even focusing on your breathing for 20 minutes will have immense benefits.
Yoga during menopause
Yoga can also help women tackle the side effects that come with menopause, such as insomnia, constipation, night sweats and mood swings—just make sure you avoid any and all hot yoga classes. Keep it cool and simple with Yin, Restorative and Gentle Hatha classes.