Do you want to know the best age to start practicing yoga? Well, you can start at any age! I know of five year old children attending classes and I know of Octogenarians who practice daily. I started in my mid forties and the thing is, all of us seem to be benefiting from it.
A forty year old friend mentioned that she feels she is too inflexible to practice but as someone once said, 'saying you are too inflexible to practice yoga is like saying you are too dirty to take a bath!'On that note, I would like to share with you a wonderful resource for the older yoga enthusiast. It's a book called 'The New Yoga for People Over 50' and it's by a lovely lady called Suza Francina. I know she is lovely because I have researched her and I have discovered her blog.
I am not over fifty years of age just yet but I am hurtling towards it. I was forty four when I started practicing yoga two years ago. If you are thinking of starting yoga and you feel you are too old, you can read how I started here .
I bought the Kindle edition of the book on my iphone so that I could start it as soon as possible. Yes. I am impatient and though yoga has helped me to be less so, sometimes I have relapses! I love reading anything and everything about yoga, mainly online, but I will purchase the hard copy of anything that impresses me. I recently purchased 'Beat fatigue With Yoga' by Fiona Agombar after borrowing it from the library.
I am enthusiastic about yoga now where, in the past, I was not so convinced. I did a few classes many years ago and then again a few years later at my workplace. While I found it better the second time, it just didn't impact on me the way it has this time. I believe I just wasn't ready to embrace it back then.I suppose I wasn't middle aged then and I didn't have any physical issues.Since starting to practice two years ago, yoga helped with both my physical and self esteem issues.
The first time I attended class, I was in pain and had to practice from a chair. I was surprised that not only was my teacher an older lady but many of the other students were older too. One man was eighty two and was able to do things that I could not. He still attends the same class at eighty four and is living proof of the benefits of yoga. After a few months of specific postures to help with my back problems, I was able to practice from the mat like everyone else. It was such a wonderful feeling, and to this day, I have much less pain than I used to have. I can actually bend without moaning and I can walk much further than before.
The first time I attended class, I was also self conscious and fully sure I wouldn't stick at it. I am not fond of exercise and rarely stick at anything exercise related! I was worried about what I looked like in my yoga gear, being slightly overweight. I was worried how silly I would look trying to do Asanas/postures. I was surprised to find that everybody was so intent on their own practice and breathwork that nobody cared. Nobody is more surprised than myself that I am still practicing over two years later.
Yoga may not be for everyone but I feel that for most people, if they could stick at it for a few months, they would begin to see the benefits. Don't be impatient if it takes a while for things to 'click' with you. Like most things, it is a learning process and two years later, I am still learning more and more with each session. I did not and do not expect to undo years of negativity and self sabotage in a short period of time. However, I have found that with yoga, you not only learn to see things in a clearer way, you learn to breath properly, you learn to quiet the mind and you learn to love your own body.
You pick up so much information on physiology and anatomy, that it inspires curiosity about things you may not have thought about before. Flexibility, correct alignment and self awareness come with practice. Like anything, the secret is to keep practicing. I recently read an article about how yoga can cause injury to the body but in my opinion, any exercise practised over zealously and without proper guidance can do this. I feel from my own experience and the experiences of many others that the benefits definitely outweigh the risks.
If you think you are too inflexible or too old take a look at these inspirational people and maybe you will be convinced! Also take a look at this terrific site for some practical information on beginning yoga
Have you ever tried yoga classes and what was your experience? Or do you practice yoga regularly? I would love to hear how old you were when you started.