Mind & Body: Yoga For All

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Mind & Body:  Yoga for All

You don’t have to be young, skinny, or particularly flexible to begin doing yoga. The wonderful thing about this mind-and-body exercise practice is how truly adaptable it is. Poses can be altered to meet the needs and restrictions of many body types and levels of fitness. For example, low- impact water yoga is a great option for those who suffer from joint pain. The support of the water can help seniors improve strength and flexibility, while minimizing discomfort. Even those with very limited mobility can begin a practice of yoga. Chair yoga offers numerous poses and stretches that can be done while seated. This type of yoga is a good beginning point for obese seniors or those with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s.

Attending regular yoga sessions is arguably the best way to begin the practice of yoga. Experienced instructors will help beginners perform each pose safely and recognize the limits of their bodies. Attending classes is also a chance to socialize and find out about other activities in the community. If attending classes isn’t an option, there are books, DVDs, and online instructions to help get you started.

There are many different styles of classes and instructors. Depending on the particular class, your yoga sessions may include time for guided or silent meditation. The relaxing and restorative power of regular meditation is an ideal pairing to the physical practice of yoga. Meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce tension-related pain, as well as help with issues like anxiety and insomnia. Some instructors may have a heavy focus on the exercise aspect of yoga, while others may incorporate a more spiritual and introspective component. We recommend starting with light restorative yoga or a calming meditation and relaxation session. See what is available in your community that best fits your goals and preferences.

Arrange yoga dates with a friend. Whether you’re learning from an instructor or doing poses at home, having a workout buddy increases your chances of sticking to your new routine, and being able to enjoy the continuing benefits of yoga.

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