It often seems as though there are two kinds of people in this world: those who have been doing yoga all their lives and those who know they should do yoga but are too nervous to get into a class full of people who have been doing yoga all their lives.
The truth is, it’s never too late to start practicing yoga and it’s the perfect exercise for anyone over 40.
As you may have experienced, managing a career, family and all that life brings can cause stress.
Typically, women over 40 are at a point in their lives where their full schedules give them little time to take care of their health. Unfortunately, this leads to issues such as fatigue, muscle weakness, weight gain, and difficulty sleeping.
Yet, one of the easiest ways to manage stress and eliminate these health problems is by staying active and adding yoga to your daily regimen.
“Yoga is a way to manage stress, create a sense of well-being, and improve your mental health.”
Unlike a Tough Mudder race or tennis match, yoga is not a competition. That bears repeating. Yoga is not a competition. People of all body types, ages, activity levels and athleticism participate in yoga and personally reap the benefits.
Whether in a full class or in your living room, there are no rules. You shouldn’t ever feel pressure or that because you “cannot do a pose” you shouldn’t practice at all.
Everyone in the class is on their own journey and should not be concerned with what the person next to them is doing. Some people may be able to hold a handstand while others may prefer to do a different, simpler pose.
Other than safely holding a pose and doing it correctly, there is no right or wrong way to practice yoga. It is a very individual, and relaxing experience that allows anyone to have Zen time of their own.
The beauty of yoga is that it combines graceful movements and your breath to guide you from pose to pose. Even if you have never tried yoga, there are many classic moves such as Chaturanga (plank position), Downward Facing Dog, and Bridge that are natural and easy for beginners.
In most beginning classes, teachers will use the simpler names of the poses so there is no need to feel nervous about getting lost in terminology. You may even surprise yourself with how easily the poses come to you and how quickly you become confident in your ability to do each exercise.
Once you begin, every time you unroll your yoga mat you will feel inspired, energized, and strengthened (physically, mentally and spiritually).
And remember, if you think you are too old to stand on your head or even to simply touch your toes, know that every day women in their 80s and 90s are staying fit and flexible through yoga. It is never too late to start strengthening your mind and body and eliminating unwanted stress through a manageable and enjoyable exercise routine.
Stay young, do yoga!
Need more yoga inspiration? Learn about the body positive movement sweeping the yoga community!
Featured Image: Flickr