Would you like to start a yoga practice but are worried that you are too old? The good news is that whether you are nine years old or 90 years old, it is never too late to start a yoga practice. Yoga offers many important benefits for older individuals, including enhanced mobility and flexibility as well as stress relief and improved sleep.
Yoga offers the benefits of mobility without the strain on the joints and muscles that is associated with high-intensity cardio or strength training.
Yoga helps older adults safely integrate an exercise program into their daily routine without some of the dangers associated with cardio and strength training. Yoga integrates elements of cardio and strength training into every practice. However, since you will be using your own body's resistance, you are less likely to injure yourself.
Beginning a yoga practice as an older adult can be intimidating, however, especially if you do not currently exercise on a regular basis. To help your body acclimate to yoga and become familiar with the poses, you will want to start with a more gentle hatha practice rather than a more physically demanding practice like heated vinyasa yoga or bikram yoga. Aim to practice two to three times per week at the beginning. This frequency is gentle enough to keep your body from hurting itself due to overuse, but regular enough to help you build a strong foundation for future practice.
Common challenges faced by older adults include tight hamstrings and limited flexibility. For these reasons, it is important to start with a more gentle practice. Many communities have yoga studios that offer classes specifically for older adults and individuals who are just getting started with yoga. These classes are a good starting point for learning about the practice.