So, you went for a routine doctor’s appointment with all the typical aches and ailments generated by your aging body and the doc said something you didnt expect. Perhaps you should Practice Yoga. You must admit, you were slightly bewildered and moderately confused. What happened to the 4 advil and a glass of water prescription? You’ve heard of this yoga business, but certainly never thought at your age that you should or even could start legitimately practicing…or could you?
Yoga is an ancient healing practice that has, within the last 100 years, become westernized and used in many ways within modern society. Yoga can often be “interpreted” by excercise enthusiasts looking to rev up its intensity, it can also be a free flowing spiritual experience, or even in some cases find its roots in the ancient mood lifting practices of its originators. Regardless of the type, yoga itself can in fact be a powerful tool to help keep you young, and maintain your overall health and well-being. Yoga has been proven to lower blood-pressure, reduce stress, ease pain, and improve balance. Its worth a shot and with the proper teaching, yoga can benefit you no matter how old you “think” you are.
Here are some tips for your yoga endeavor…whether you are starting on your own (which you absolutely should) or whether its just what the doctor ordered:
1: Yoga can be good medicine: Yoga offers main health benefits including, but not limited to, improving sleep, lowering blood pressure, reducing pain, and increases overall mental health.
2: Yoga is not just for the fit and flexible: Yoga is not just for those that can seemingly twist their bodies into pretzels. Yoga is for everyone and has a extremely diverse range of participants from all age brackets to prove it. The only requirement for a yoga class is the ability to breathe.
3: You dont have to stand on your head: Ive been doing yoga for 5 years and have yet to stand on my head. Yoga isnt about getting to the most extreme point possible…its about allowing your body to flow to its own measure of extreme…regardless of what anyone else is doing around you. Its your practice, your body, and your mind. Its so important to find a yoga class that fits your level such as a yoga for beginners class with a well trained instructor.
4: There are many styles of yoga, from “hot” to gentle: For example, ashtanga yoga is very athletic, while kripalu yoga tends to be gentler and viniyoga is generally done one-on-one in a therapeutic setting. Most western yoga is based off of something called “Hatha” yoga…which is a series of postures being held for 3o seconds to 1 minute. It is designed to balance the mind, body, and spirit while strengthening week muscles and stretching tight ones.
5: Yoga should never hurt: If it hurts…YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR! And any good yoga instructor should tell you that. Yoga is meant to strenghten and calm. In each posture you should find yourself pleasantly stretched. Its not to say you shouldnt push yourself to try to achieve new things each class, you should always listen to your body, and your breath, and if its too much then just stop. Pain is not a part of the gain in yoga.
6: Yoga is not ONLY a workout: Yoga is a powerful tool for mind-body medicine by creating a holistic approach to excercise. Yoga is about recognizing that your physical ailments are about more than the feeling of pain, but generally have emotional and spiritual connections as well. Yoga taps into that and offers medicine for the physical, emotional AND spiritual.
7: Ask for help for a smooth start: Dont be afraid to ask for help when beginning a new practice. Let the instructor know its your first time and when you sign up at a studio, be very clear about intentions, your level of yogi spirit, and your doubts and inihibitions. The best instructors will work with you to develop your practice and find a place that’s comfortable and effective for you.
Utilize these tips and remember to choose a reputable studio in your area. If you can take the heat, hot yoga is a great way to instantly loosen your muscles and find a little more ease in your postures. If you the heat is too much to stand, head to a studio with a large variety of class offerings and good reviews. Ask a lot of questions and make sure the instructors are receptive to you. Most importantly embrace your yoga adventure and open your mind to a life changing experience!!
-Professional Medical Team