Enjoy the benefits of yoga at any age with these tips and pose suggestions…
One of the most wonderful things about yoga is that it has so many benefits for people of every age, shape, and size! As you change and grow throughout your life, your practice can grow and change right along with you. Below are some considerations for doing yoga at any age. However, keep in mind that your yoga practice is individual to you, so of course you should feel free to practice any yoga poses and styles that appeal to you at any time!
The Teenage Years
Teens are one of the least likely age groups to practice yoga – yet they can benefit greatly from a regular yoga practice. Teenage life is particularly stressful these days, with high expectations from parents, teachers, and peers, and the pressures of social media, preparing for college, and building a social life and a resume. Combine all of these pressures with raging hormones and changing bodies, and you have a recipe for stress and depression!
Yoga can have a significant impact on teens’ mental health, helping them to release stress, find peace with their bodies, and develop strength and flexibility that will serve them well throughout their adult lives.
The Childbearing Years
Between your early 20’s and mid-30’s, life becomes more complex as you move into full adulthood. New issues, responsibilities, and emotional twists can bring stress and anxiety, and pregnancy and/or a more sedentary lifestyle can cause physical changes that may be challenging, especially for women.
The good news is that during these years, your body tends to be at its peak strength and flexibility, so energetic yoga styles such as Vinyasa or Bikram yoga may be a great way to blow off steam and stay in shape even as you begin to slow down a bit in your mid-30’s and spend more time chasing kids around than you do working out.
The Perimenopausal Years
As you move into your 40’s and 50’s, you may find yourself becoming a bit less energetic, and more inwardly focused in your yoga practice. A more settled lifestyle generally corresponds with less physical activity, and you may also experience some joint stiffness, and slowed recovery times after an injury or an intense workout session.
You may find yourself replacing your energetic and fast-paced yoga practice with one that focuses more on introspective and meditative practices, and longer, more sustained poses, such as found in the Yin Yoga style. Conscious breathing practices can also help with the symptoms of menopause. On the other hand, energetic yoga styles such as Kundalini can provide an inward focus as well as powerful movements that help keep your metabolism lifted and keep the extra pounds from creeping on.
The Postmenopausal Years
During your 60’s and beyond, maintaining bone strength, joint flexibility, and balance becomes very important – especially for women. However, with less pressure from children at home and demanding jobs, this time of life can be a particularly wonderful time to explore the many benefits of yoga, which provides a great way to maintain muscle and bone strength as well as flexibility. Quiet and internally-focused practices such as meditation and pranayama can also help to benefit the mind and keep the body young.
Don’t be afraid to modify poses as needed, and incorporate props if you find them helpful. Just because your body may not be able to do everything it could when you were 20 doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great benefits from your yoga practice! Embrace the changes, and enjoy the unique ways that yoga helps you care for yourself.
Practicing yoga can be a great way to maintain both your mental and physical health throughout your lifetime. Allow your yoga practice to grow and change with you, and you can experience its many amazing benefits for years to come!