By: Sarah Kaminski
No matter how old you are, yoga can be a fantastic addition to your weekly routine. It promotes mental and physical health and has nothing but positive effects on your day-to-day life.
However, if you are in the 50+ box, you might want to be a bit more cautious, as you would with any other exercise regimen.
To help you get started with yoga and experience all of its benefits to their fullest, we’ve rounded up these six useful tips.
Talk to your doctor if you have a medical condition or injury
If you have trouble with your back, hips, knees, or any other joints or muscles, you might want to first discuss the idea of yoga with your physical therapist or GP. While yoga should be perfectly safe for you, there might be some extra precautions you need to take to help you ease into your flow.
Also, make sure you sign up for a beginners’ class, and preferably one in your age group as well. Some beginners’ classes are slower in their pace than others, so try to find one that corresponds with your age and needs. Don’t jump straight into a session of hot yoga – it will hurt more than it should, and you don’t want to push your body too much too fast.
Tell your instructor what injuries or difficulties you may have so that they can adjust movements to your needs.
Go to a live class if you can
While you should, by all means, practice at home, and there are countless online videos you can use to guide you, it’s highly advised to attend a class in person. While online resources are certainly an amazing way to maintain a routine and keep practicing, you also need someone to correct your posture and show you how you can modify each movement to your own needs.
Never forget to warm up
Warm-ups are the most important part of any exercise, and the same is true for yoga.
Especially as you get older, when your joints are a bit stiffer and refuse to cooperate as easily, you will need to devote enough time to warm up before a proper yoga session.
On some days, you might decide to just stick to the warm-up exercises, some light stretches, and relaxation movements. They will be enough to get your blood flowing and put you in a better mood on the days when you’re really not able to do an entire routine.
Invest in a good mat
A yoga mat can make a lot of difference to your practice, so make sure you find one that is comfortable and supportive enough, especially if you have joint and back issues.
A mat that is too thin will not cushion you against the floor enough, so find one that feels right to you. When buying a new mat, even things like color can make a difference. While you’re at it, don’t forget that your clothes also need to be comfy and stretchy.
Socializing is an important part of your practice
If you are going for a yoga class in person, don’t forget to engage with others before and after. A survey has shown that those who live longer are more active and social, so adding a bit of chit chat to your practice can be a great option.
Yoga class is often also a great place to meet individuals from all walks of life, to whom you would not have access otherwise. It’s an opportunity to meet people who can share experiences completely different from your own, which is a great way to keep your mind active and curious.
Meditate as you practice
Meditation often goes hand in hand with yoga, so adding a meditation session to your yoga practice can be an even better way to boost its benefits.
You might find it difficult at first, but once you stop trying to control your thoughts, you will get the hang of it. Soon enough, you will find that meditation is simply enjoying how your thoughts flow and monitoring the emotions they bring with them.
Give yourself enough time to get used to the sensation and the effort needed for meditation, and you will be thankful you stuck to it.
If you are still unsure about how you should go about adding yoga to your life, give yourself a trial period. Try it for a month, and if you don’t see any benefits, let yourself give it up. But we are pretty certain a month will be all you need to fall in love with yoga and the improvements it adds to your body and mind.
Sarah Kaminski is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She’s been a freelance writer for over a decade and loves researching health and wellness topics.