Although mainstream society frequently associates yoga with young, athletic body types, yoga is for everyone. Individuals of all ages, fitness levels, genders, and body types can experience yoga’s health benefits. As yoga gains popularity in the Western world, there are plenty of safe, healthy options for people over the age of fifty, regardless of condition.
Set an Intention/Goal
The right tools, technology, and equipment can both ease you into your regimen, and help take an established yoga practice to the next level. For instance, there’s a smartphone app for everything. You can download a yoga app that fits your personal criteria, set weekly or monthly goals, then track your progress. Meeting and beating those goals can foster motivation, encouraging you to keep up your practice long-term.
Many apps only work with newer phone models. If you find that your phone no longer supports the latest and greatest yoga apps, it may be time to upgrade. Luckily, with a bit of research into current offers, you’ll see you don’t have to break the bank to find a good deal. Shop around and find a device and plan that suits your needs. For instance, Verizon offers the latest iPhone, for as low as $45.83 a month. Even if you’re not an iPhone user, you can look at online reviews for Android phones to suit your budget and needs. With the right tools and technologies, an improved yoga practice will literally be right at your fingertips.
Suit Your Style
Yoga should never hurt, and many people are intimidated by the bendy shapes they associated with yoga. However, yoga is truly for everyone, and if you have limitations there are styles and positions that can improve your overall quality of life. Seniors in particular can benefit from safe, gentle options like chair yoga, yoga for lower back pain, or yoga for joint-related pain.
Additionally, yoga nidra, also known as “sleep yoga,” can be helpful for anyone having trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Yoga nidra is a gentle practice that involves lying completely still on your back, with your eyes closed, while meditating. It’s safe enough for individuals of all ages and some studies indicate it offers many health benefits.
Find a Qualified Yoga Teacher
Yoga’s increasing popularity in the modern world means people of all ages have access to more yoga teachers, studios, and classes. Unfortunately, not all teachers are created equal. Finding the right teacher will make all the difference in preventing injuries, strengthening your body, and improving your balance. As Yoga Alliance explains, when you find a qualified instructor, they “can offer you the appropriate tools that will help you advance in your practice.” Look for an approachable teacher who specializes in the specific type of yoga you’d like to learn, and don’t be afraid to ask about their education or background.
Go Easy on Yourself
Yoga is a gentle practice. Likewise, be gentle with yourself throughout your yoga class. Nobody is perfect, so try not to worry about how you look or whether you accidentally did the wrong pose. Psychology Today explains this kind of sizing up can be unhealthy, undermining your motivation and reducing self-confidence. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others, especially if you’re attending a yoga class with other students. Instead, try to keep your focus inward, on your own body and your own mat, and you’ll feel more positive about yourself, and about those around you.
Along with the gifts of wisdom and perspective, aging brings many challenges. Some of us experience arthritis or lower back pain, while others have reduced balance or increased anxiety. Regardless of what you might be experiencing, yoga can help ease some of these age-related mental, physical, and emotional conditions. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply looking to savour each moment, yoga could be just what you need.