When we picture yoga, we often make the mistake of calling to mind images of the thin, flexible, young women plastered on magazine covers and social media feeds. This leads many people to believe the myth that you must be young to practice yoga; that yoga is somehow for some people but not for others.
This is a misleading representation of the true image and intent of yoga. Yoga is for all. In fact, the word yoga literally means ‘union.’
The truth is: yoga is a very accessible practice that nearly anyone – at any age or condition- can practice. It’s a matter of taking what you need, finding the right class and instructor fit, and using your props liberally.
Take the risk and step out of your comfort zone, knowing that this is not a competitive space. It’s okay to move at your own pace.
Because, how could anyone be too old or too young to better their life? Common benefits of yoga, and those that may be especially appealing to older yogis, include:
- Improved posture
- Improved circulation
- Better detoxification of lymph fluid & waste
- Increased joint lubrication
- Better balance
- Increased concentration
- Greater flexibility
- More sound sleep
So, for those of you who consider your age a barrier to trying yoga, it’s time to change your mind!
3 reasons to give yoga a try, despite your age
Yoga includes much more than physical movement: Yoga is about making a connection between your breath and the way your body works. It encourages playfulness. It builds community and connection to an ancient lineage, and so much more!
You can modify your practice: You can easily vary your style of practice to adapt for conditions in your body – including practicing with a chair or other form of support. You might also become more interested in the meditation and breathing practices of yoga. Find a teacher with an inviting language, rather than a competitive one.
It might make you feel younger: The benefits of a regular yoga practice strengthen not only the body but also the mind. Yoga can help you recover from injury and boost balance so you avoid falling. But it also helps you learn to breathe through stress, leading to less wear and tear on your body and mind.
Yoga can truly be a fountain of youth. As you become more connected to life, you’ll realize youthfulness has more to do with the spirit than the body. Though your practice may appear slower to others’ eyes, you’ll experience plenty of change inside. You’ll become more tolerant, mentally-flexible, focused, and respectful of your body.
Some of the greatest lessons learned through yoga are to listen to your body, progress at your own pace, and let go of judgment and criticism.
I’ll end with this: you are only as old as your thoughts.
*Any physical elements of yoga depend on your physical status. If you’re recovering from an injury or suffer from any specific conditions, you’ll want to first check in with your doctor for approval and possibly schedule a one on one private yoga session versus a group class.