Yoga is not just an exercise; it’s a way of life. It’s a common misconception that it should be practiced only by the youth capable of doing the delicate asanas (yogic poses). People of all ages can harness the benefits of the practice to improve both emotionally and physically.
“As you age, your understanding of asana becomes more sophisticated. You move from working on the external alignment and mechanics of the pose to refining the inner actions to finally just being in the asana,” says Iyengar Yoga teacher Marla Apt.
The benefits of yoga assist kids in more ways than one. First off, it’s a large step towards maintaining their innate flexibility. It helps to increase confidence levels, self-esteem, aids concentration, improves memory and even helps to cope with stress at lower levels. It prepares the child to be calm and aware of themselves.
Teens going through puberty are under a lot of stress; physical, emotional, situational and social. The practice helps in improving their bodily image and concurrently helps to reduce being over conscious of themselves. Yoga’s self-discipline and physical agility helps mould teenagers.
- 20’s and 30’s
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These are usually described as the years to lay groundwork of building an efficient yoga practice. During these peak years one has energy, vigour and zeal and yoga helps preserve it. In these years you can detect any unhealthy habits such as hunching postures etc. Yoga also aids in relieving stress and anxiety by cultivating calmness.
- 40’s and 50’s
Stiff joints, slow metabolism, and longer recovery periods are a common complaint of this age group. Yoga opens a door to battle these ailments. This age group noticeably have an insightful and distinguished approach to the art. Props can be used as backing. It is essential to not over strain but repetition rather than longer durations are advised.
- 60’s and above
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Stiffness, high BP, insomnia, and lack of balance are a common feature. It is important to sustain range of motion and agility especially of the spine. Back bends counteract the signature ‘bent over’ posture of the elderly. Yoga also helps combat arthritis and bad circulation.
A senior citizen can benefit from the increased mobility, improved concentration, memory (Alzheimer’s) and much more. Using their wisdom, life experiences and perspective, they can appreciate the value of the practice even further.
Yoga also helps alleviate problems with regard to pregnancy, obesity, asthma and allergies (through breathing techniques).