If you’re over 60, the mere thought of starting a new yoga practice can be a little daunting.
Online videos and DVDs usually feature lots of pretty, athletic looking women who look incredible in their yoga pants.
You might be thinking… “There’s no way my knees can handle THAT!”
They make everything look so effortless and easy because they’re young and have been practicing forever.
How the heck are you supposed to start now, when your bones are creaky and your body doesn’t always behave the way you want it to?
Plus, the thought of squeezing into yoga pants and a sports bra might not make starting a practice seem very enticing.
The truth is that most yoga studios have classes for people of all ages and activity levels, and nobody cares how you look in your yoga gear, believe me. – They’re all too worried about how they look in THEIR yoga gear.
Pretzel shapes and headstands are also not required.
The most beautiful thing about yoga is that ANYONE of any age and experience level can do it. The key is to make your practice just that – YOURS.
If you’ve taken the plunge and decided to start a practice, kudos to you! You’re going to love the way you feel after you’ve been doing it for a while.
Here are some tips to start your new yoga practice safely and to help you stick with it.
1. It’s How You Do It, Not How Much or How Often
Exercise is important at any age because it keeps us fit and healthy. Yoga can help us do that, but it doesn’t have to be about how often you go or if your heels touch the mat during Downward Dog.
Many of us have spent years in torturously high heels, shortening our calf muscles to the point that it’s a surprise when our heels touch the ground when we’re simply walking! Sometimes they never quite get there, no matter how long we practice.
The quality of time we spend on the mat is way more important than how much time, or how long we hold a pose.
Bringing awareness to the tightness in a muscle while we stretch and exploring why we might be holding tension there, can have a lot to do with how our practice evolves.
2. Find the Right Studio and Teacher
You can’t walk through Whole Foods without running into at least one yoga teacher in every aisle. There are almost as many types of yoga classes to choose from!
Most yoga studios offer gentle yoga and senior classes. They’re usually taught by instructors that have experience with people who have special physical needs or seniors.
If you’re in great shape and you feel like you can do a regular yoga class, then go for it! It might be helpful, though, to start with a class that’s geared toward seniors, then as you get comfortable, move into a regular class.
Many seniors should take extra precautions because of issues like decreased bone density, balance problems, high blood pressure, low flexibility, and poor circulation.
3. Go Easy on Yourself
It’s a fact that when we get older, our bodies don’t bounce back like they used to. It’s also human nature to get super excited about starting something new and going at it with serious gusto.
We often end up regretting this when we realized that we jumped in too quickly.
When we get older, our bodies need a lot more love than they used to. We aren’t as stretchy and bendy as when we were younger.
We also tend to lose muscle strength, bone density, and the ability to regenerate tissue quickly. If we get injured, we go down for the count much longer.
Don’t sabotage your new practice by going too hard, too fast, too quickly.
Give your body time to get comfortable with the basic poses and to build up strength in muscles you probably haven’t used in a long time.
Take it easy and go at your own pace.
4. Practice with a Smile
It can be hard to learn something new, and most of the time when we are doing a new type of exercise, we strain, groan, and grimace.
Put a smile on our face if it’s the last thing you do.
Getting your yoga on doesn’t mean you need to be serious. In fact, a great way to gauge if you’re overdoing it physically is if you can’t smile while you’re in a pose.
Yoga isn’t about worrying how you look or if you’re doing the poses right; it’s about letting go and being in the present moment. It can also be about having some fun if you let it.
Learning how to do yoga can be pretty funny. Sometimes you fall or catch yourself in a ridiculous position in the mirror, or someone accidentally passes gas.
It’s okay to smile, or even laugh, and have a little fun when you practice. It releases stress and helps you connect to the present.
If you enjoy yourself while you’re doing yoga, you’ll probably stick with it. Life is short, so find joy in everything you do, including yoga!
If you are looking for a little more guidance on what poses are right for you and how to put them together for a practice, our Yoga Fat Loss Bible for Beginners would be a great place to start. It’s a great program for all ages!
It comes with a complete flexibility guide that also has many beginner modifications to help you loosen up your muscles and relieve your aches and pains faster than ever!
I designed it so that you can learn all about yoga, which poses are right for you, and so that you can go at your own pace with your practice.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you liked this article on yoga tips for women over 60 or have any questions!