At Sunrise Yoga, we, of course, believe yoga is good for everyone! But, we are often asked if those age 50 and above should even consider yoga. Most of the questions asked by those new to yoga are fairly similar regardless of the age of the person asking . . . What if I’m not flexible? How will I know what to do and when to do it? What if I have limitations or conditions that have kept me from exercising?
This last question may strike a chord with those in the 50+ age range. As we age, we may face more “limitations” from a physical standpoint. As noted in a recent article on the New York Times “Booming” site (a site that offers news and commentary about baby boomers), practicing yoga may address some of the more common aging issues in a very positive way. In this article, Dr. Loren Fishman, a back-pain and rehabilitative medicine specialist who has long incorporated yoga into patient care, answers many of the more common questions related to physical issues and yoga. He responds to questions about arthritis, osteoporosis, injuries, back pain and sciatica, joint pain and metabolism.
Dr. Fishman recommends, and we concur, that for those age 50 and above, the approach to yoga as a new or resuming student is to ” find out what your liabilities are, and this is an individual matter, requiring a medical visit or summary. The next step is an appointment with an experienced and smart yoga teacher, one on one.” At Sunrise Yoga, we offer private yoga sessions that will definitely start a new or resuming student off on the right yoga journey. From that point, the instructor can better recommend classes we offer that are appropriate for the student. And it is important to note that our instructors are all well versed in modifying poses taught in classes to accommodate each student’s limitations.
Additionally, at Sunrise Yoga, we utilize the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar who developed the use of yoga props to assist students in practicing poses that they might not have been able to do otherwise. Yoga props provide support, confidence, and relaxation. Dr. Fishman states, “I believe the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar are the most anatomically sophisticated and therapeutically oriented, but there are many other good types of yoga. You’ll need a resourceful and sensitive person to get you started, and to introduce you to an appropriate yoga practice that you can do every day. Then, after a month or two or three, you should go back to that person for a reassessment and suggestions about how to progress to the next step. Yoga, practiced consistently, does good things to your temperament and perceptions.”
If you are not currently in a yoga class, get started today! Our Beginner Yoga Classes are appropriate for all ages of yoga students. We also offer Restorative Yoga classes, Back Care Classes and iRest:Yoga Nidra workshops. We do have classes, however, that are geared to those age 50 and above . . . Aging Gracefully with Cathy . . . and Gentle Yoga with Kim.
If you are under 50, how do you think yoga is helping you slow down the aging process? If you are over 50, is yoga allowing you to work around your limitations, if you have some, or is it helping you stay healthy? Let us know. And read more of the HERE.
If you are male and reading this, you’ve either asked yourself the same question or you at least have an opinion on why more men don’t do yoga. According to the 2012 Yoga in America study, 82.2% of yoga practitioners in the United States are women and that number is up from the same study of 2008. And, though the top five reasons for starting yoga were: flexibility (78.3 percent), general conditioning (62.2 percent), stress relief (59.6 percent), improve overall health (58.5 percent) and physical fitness (55.1 percent), benefits appropriate for both genders, men are less likely to think of starting yoga for these benefits.
A recent article in the Washington Post by Eric Niiler cited several misconceptions men hold when it comes to yoga. The lack of flexibility is commonly mentioned but Adrian Hummel, a male Bikram yoga instructor in Bethesda, MD, responds, “It’s almost a joke when guys say, ‘I don’t think I should do yoga because I’m not flexible. It’s like saying, ‘I’m too weak, so I can’t lift weights.’ ” Other myths, according to the article include “yoga isn’t a decent workout; it’s too touchy-feely; you have to be flexible to do it; men’s bodies just aren’t built for pretzellike poses.”
Loren Fishman, MD, a frequent prescriber of yoga for a variety of ills and a practitioner of yoga since the 1970’s, notes, “When it came to the United States, yoga became a sort of gentle gym, a noncompetitive, non-confrontational thing that’s good for you. Yoga has this distinctive passive air to it. You get into the pose and stay there.” But many athletes have learned that practicing yoga regularly helps them avoid injuries and frequently cite its benefits.
So, what’s your take? Read the full Washington Post article HERE and let us know what you think.
In September of this year, the Huffington Post reported Six Myths About Meditation from Dr. Deepak Chopra, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and an adjunct professor of Executive Programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. An avid author on many health related topics, Dr. Chopra has long been a proponent of meditation.
In the article (read it for yourself here), the Mayo Clinic is cited stating, “Meditation is a way to reduce stress by focusing your attention and eliminating the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind.” But, as Dr. Chopra points out, many have misguided ideas about what meditation is and how it works.
The Six Myths listed (and countered) by Dr. Chopra are:
1. Meditation is hard. (“Though it’s best to learn from an experienced, knowledgeable teacher, the techniques can be as simple as focusing on your breathing or silently repeating a mantra.”)
2. You need to quiet your mind completely to meditate successfully. (“Through meditation we can find the quiet that already exists in the space between our thoughts.”)
3. It takes years of practice to receive any benefits from meditation. (“The benefits of meditation are both immediate and long-term. Other common benefits of meditation include improved concentration, decreased blood pressure, reduced stress and anxiety, and enhanced immune function.”)
4. I don’t have enough time to meditate. (“In life’s paradoxical way, when we spend time meditating on a regular basis, we actually have more time.”)
5. Meditation requires spiritual or religious beliefs. (“Meditation doesn’t require a specific spiritual belief, and many people of many different religions practice meditation without any conflict with their current religious beliefs.”)
6. I’m supposed to have transcendent experiences in meditation. (“Although we can have a variety of wonderful experiences when we meditate, including feelings of bliss and oneness, these aren’t the purpose of the practice. When we emerge from our meditation session, we carry some of the stillness and silence of our practice with us, allowing us to be more creative, compassionate, centered, and loving to ourselves and everyone we encounter.”)
Would you like to learn more about meditation? Join us for our Mindfulness Meditation & Movement with Anna Leisa Schuh, a 4-Week Series beginning Sunday, October 13th! Practice structured meditation and movement, explore through readings and discussion, and learn home-based practice ideas.
Register online or at the studio.
(At least 5 students need to register before 10/9 for the classes to be held.)
See you at the studio!
Do you remember what it felt like when you first started yoga? Did you have any qualms about taking a class? Did you hesitate at all because you were new to yoga? Or maybe you are that person who would like to begin but you feel a bit intimidated because “you don’t know what you don’t know”?
We often tell new students at Sunrise Yoga Studio that they will not feel like newbies for very long. Our active students are welcoming and our instructors make every effort to create a relaxed and “safe” environment for all levels of students.
But, if some questions are running through your mind about starting a yoga journey, know that others have had questions too! Erica Rodefer Winters recently addressed some of these questions in an article entitled, “10 Things Every Beginner Yoga Student Should Know”. She is the former online editor for Yoga Journal magazine and has had interaction with many yoga studios, yoga conferences and workshops. See how many of the “10 Things” to which you relate!