Yoga for Women and Men age 40+
Yoga for women and men age 40+… this post could change your life! Sunday morning, no 5am yoga practice for me today, husband working and one child away so catching up on weekend newspapers in bed with a strong cup of tea - pretty good! In yesterday’s The Times (Saturday 11th June 2016) the “midlife anti-ageing bible” repeatedly cited yoga as a really great thing to do, which you probably know if you’re reading this. A couple of thoughts struck me. I’m 45, and I am fitter, stronger and (most importantly) happier than I have ever been. No question at all that yoga plays a huge part in this.After 40 we need to do extra strengthening and endurance work. Try doing a 60, 75 or 90 minute vinyasa class and I guarantee you’ll know you’ve worked your whole body and feel like you’ve had a challenging work out. The photo here shows Chatturanga (low plank) - displaying strength in the whole body. Of course we work up to this but you can see by just using the weight of the body, we can achieve great results.
I would challenge the idea (again cited in the Times) that yoga is more about flexibility and pilates is more about core strength. Most yoga postures provide an enormous amount of muscle strengthening work. I have clients who have suffered back pain for years, upon adopting a regular yoga practice they are completely pain free. Flexibility does of course improve; according to The Times “flexibility is naturally high when you enter your forties, so don’t let it slip away”. But don’t let being over 50 stop you, flexibility and mobility can decline, but it’s never too late to help. One of my regular male students Chris has taken up yoga in his 60’s … he’s feeling much more limber and has really improved his golf performance.
Small mention of one of the most important aspects of yoga - regulating your breathing and learning about how to undo poor breathing habits will literally change your life. Taking up a new activity will protect your brain “leading dementia experts recommend, every ten years or so, taking up a new activity that is sociable, physical and involves acquiring novel skills”… take your group yoga class, learn how to move your body in very new ways, meet new people, and enjoy learning about the philosophy of yoga and nature of your own mind. Our classes are fun, sociable and definitely up-lifting. We incorporate meditation and mindfulness into the classes. As Andy Puddicombe mentions in The Times article “ we go to the gym and train a muscle which gets thicker and stronger as it receives more blood flow. In the same way when we train the mind in a methodical way with mindfulness and meditation, the part of the brain associated with happiness and wellbeing receives more blood flow”. He then goes on to say that you don’t need to keep a blank and clear mind - in the yoga practice we train ourselves to move with attention, so when a negative thought crops up during the practice you’re right there - observing it - and you have the power to choose something different, to be more positive. That’s really great training for life.
Many of my regular students / clients are over 40. Many are well into 50’s and 60’s. I teach mixed level classes for men and women, which are really good for just about everyone. Just yesterday a student (a very regular yoga practitioner) commented “I love your teaching, you really challenge but without making it impossible to achieve”.
If you’ve not tried yoga - what are you waiting for? You are welcome to try group classes - contact me or check my info for times, and I teach regularly at Yoga Mila in Godalming. If you're nervous about group classes, I regularly teach 1:1 private yoga.