Yoga for Adults – Techniques and Tips to Get the Most From Your Practice

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Improving flexibility and staying active are good goals for any age, especially if you’re over 50. You may think yoga is just a simple form of stretching, but think again. There are many benefits to yoga and it’s a great way to increase your activity in your 50’s and beyond. If you want to start a yoga routine, you don’t have to show up at a yoga class, because you can establish a routine right in the comfort of your own home. Once you start, you’ll be reaping all kinds of great physical and mental benefits.

Benefits of Yoga for Older Women

As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, especially if we’re not really active. The University of Connecticut found that older women could preserve their muscle mass and even improve protein utilization with regular yoga. The study looked at two groups of women: one group didn’t perform any physical exercise regularly, while the other group did Vinyasa yoga at least twice a week for a year. End results were surprising, as the yoga group showed lower body fat amounts and higher muscle mass, plus better balance. That’s not all, as yoga can also help slow bone thinning to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and help protect your joints. Yoga is a good way to lubricate your joints and replenish the joint to reduce risk of arthritis. Your heart gets a good benefit from yoga too, as yoga is believed to reduce hypertension; a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania revealed an average drop in blood pressure readings when participants did yoga versus those who didn’t perform yoga.

Getting Started with Yoga

If all of these health benefits seem like a must-have, then you should start a yoga routine after checking with your doctor. Don’t worry if you’re not ready for a class just yet, you can start off with easy yoga poses such as Warrior II, Warrior I and Mountain Pose in your home. The AARP has a list of 10 recommended poses that will work for any age or skill level. If you want a video to illustrate the poses for you, there’s plenty on Youtube under “senior yoga, or you can visit DoYogawithMe, which features over 100 free yoga videos.

Yoga is applicable to any lifestyle, and most senior yoga is considered “gentle-style yoga.” Your local fitness center may even offer yoga classes for seniors. Consider looking for beginner options or classes of chair yoga or water yoga. After you’ve done beginning yoga for a while, then you can try doing one of these yoga styles:

Ashtanga – Described as an athletic yoga, Ashtanga has you practice 6 specific poses. It’s a form that’s not recommended for a beginner, according to the AARP. However, once you’ve become adept at doing yoga poses, you can find plenty of benefit with it.

Hatha – Hatha is a style of yoga that emphasizes breathing and mindfulness, so it’s good for relaxation and stress relief.

Lyengar – Lyengar is a slow precise yoga with a focus on deliberate and proper movements. It’s a type of yoga that’s suitable for older adults because it uses props to help with motion. If done with a qualified instructor, it can be quite enjoyable.

There are over 100 yoga styles out there, but these are some of the more common for seniors. The best thing is to start with your beginner yoga, get used to doing deep breathing, and establish a routine that you follow each week. As you get better at holding your poses and keeping your balance, you can shift into a more intense yoga — before you know it, you’ll be a yoga master!