We know that our chances of remaining independent, physically able to get around and mentally alert depend on how well we take care of our bodies. We have to stay active. We have to keep challenging ourselves.
More and more Baby Boomers are turning to yoga to achieve that. We’re finding it to be a fun way to address most of our health concerns, find new friends and keep us fit.
Trouble sleeping – insomnia visit often? Yoga tremendously helps relieve this.
Trouble concentrating or focusing? Yoga helps settle the scattered mind.
Yoga helps loosen and relieve stiff muscles, aching joints and eases many health conditions like osteoporosis, lower back pain, high blood pressure, limited range of motion and issues with balance. And the really good news is yoga can provide an overall sense of peace and well-being.
While yoga for Baby Boomers can be a little tough for the newbie, it gradually becomes easier and pretty soon, we’ll find we can do poses that were totally out of reach at first.
Experienced yoga instructors are great about letting you and your body set the pace. You’re never pushed beyond what you can do. There’s no competition.
If you can’t get on the floor – many of the yoga poses are done on a floor mat – you can practice yoga in a chair.
You’re welcome to start wherever you need to start and always encouraged to be gentle with yourself. We want to coax rather than force our bodies into the poses.
A 2008 National Health Survey found that 18.4 percent of Americans practicing yoga were over the age of 55 and growing each year.
The health benefits of practicing yoga for Baby Boomers have been well documented in numerous studies over the years.
Of many styles of yoga, hatha yoga is the most commonly practiced in the United States. It emphasizes postures (or asanas), breathing exercises and meditation.
Iyengar is likely the most popular of the hatha yoga styles. It uses props like belts and blocks to help accommodate any special needs or injuries.
For a beginner's guide to the various styles, click here.
Classes are generally easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Look at your local YMCAs or YWCAs, recreation departments, health spas, and gyms or just get out the Yellow Pages and look up yoga studios. There are many out there.
If you’re unable to find a class that works, you can get instructional DVDs to walk you through poses and levels of yoga. Try the library or purchase videos online for $20 or so.
As always, clear with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Then give it a try - not much beats yoga for Baby Boomers wanting to live a life of gusto!