Is Yoga Good for an Aging Population?

Aging Gracefully Yoga Class

Aging Gracefully Yoga Class

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.