I am a Yoga teacher and most of my students are over 50.
In this particular age group many people come to class with a limited range of movement and ask me if Yoga can help them. I certainly tell them that Yoga is the best choice to help with bringing more movement to the body, learning to breathe better and allowing the body to loosen at its own pace. The practice of simple postures brings both body and mind into harmony - remembering that symptoms often appear in the body as a result of emotional tensions. Yoga's philosophy is 'union' of body and mind (not working separately). Stiffness is released through our practice and allows the energy to flow through the muscles thus supplying better oxygen to them and every cell in the body including the brain!! Yoga can give the individual strength without tension and this aspect is particularly helpful for people who already participate in different sports. It allows the individual to open up through the practice of asanas (Yoga word for postures which aim to control the body with comfort and steadiness) and brings the systems of the body (endocrine, nerves, organs, muscles, respiratory, mind etc.) into balance. Sports people would find Yoga ideal for them, particularly breathing techniques. These techniques prepare the mind as well as the body, and although people who partake in sports are aware of the importance of the breath, Yoga introduces techniques ranging from ‘the cooling breath’ to ‘individual nostril breathing’ amongst many others. It encourages the physical and mental wellbeing of the individual and would be a great regime as preparation for their particular sport. It would also give them a chance to practice without that 'competitive' edge creeping in - it is about 'letting go, so when there is a need to compete the individual is well prepared. Two ladies in my class are involved in sports and coming to Yoga helps them, not only through the physical work, but prepares them mentally for their particular sport. Muscles enjoy stretching and the physical work of Yoga encourages this aspect with importance on suppleness and strength. Relaxation postures help to de-stress the symptoms of physical and mental fatigue. They open the body while giving the nervous system a chance to rest. Yoga allows us to work dynamically or gently with our bodies – we find our own way with this amazing art. Give it a go!!!!