Advice Independent Living

Considering Yoga? Don’t Be Afraid To Join In

Senior man and woman doing yoga
27
Mar '19

If you follow social media, all the photos of people doing handstands and contorting their bodies can make yoga seem intimidating. However, this ancient form of physical activity offers something for nearly everyone, and you can start at any level of ability.

At Edgehill, you’ll find multiple opportunities to enjoy an energetic lifestyle, including joining a yoga class. To get you started, we’ve put together a primer on the benefits of yoga, along with tips for beginners.

Benefits of getting started with yoga

Yoga poses may be all the rage on social media these days, but breath is at the core of the practice. Taking part in yoga primarily entails mastering breathing, which can have benefits for your overall well-being.

Research has found that participating in just one breathing session – lasting 25 minutes – resulted in a lower breathing rate and blood pressure in both healthy volunteers and those with hypertension. Paired with physical movements, the deliberate form of breathing used in yoga may help reduce anxiety and depression, improve mood, lower stress, and boost sleep quality and mindfulness.

In addition, the poses, known as asanas, used in physical yoga sessions may improve balance, coordination, flexibility and strength.

Some seniors find yoga intimidating because of seemingly difficult poses and the perceived need to get onto the floor. If you’re interested in trying yoga but you feel intimidated due to physical limitations, consider a personalized class, such as the chair yoga and gentle yoga classes offered at Edgehill.

When poses are tailored to participants’ abilities, yoga is a safe and beneficial form of exercise that most people can enjoy. Before joining a class, check with your doctor.

Beginning your yoga practice

Ready to get started? Before you choose a class, you may want to spend some time learning about the various types of yoga. Some forms of yoga can be physically challenging, while others cater to beginners. Still other types focus on achieving proper alignment or incorporating spiritual elements such as meditation, while the aptly named “hot yoga” uses a very hot environment – sometimes above 104 degrees Fahrenheit – that may not be appropriate for people with medical challenges or certain medical conditions so check with your doctor first.

If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to choose a class personalized for beginners. Before you attend, look into what equipment you might need; for instance, for classes that include floor poses, you may want to bring along a yoga mat.

Be sure to wear comfortable clothing, such as pants or shorts in a stretchy material, along with a shirt that won’t ride up as you master various poses. In most cases, you’ll take off your shoes to participate in yoga. If you’re uncomfortable going barefoot, you may want to invest in socks with gripping material on the bottom to avoid slipping.

When you find a class you enjoy, listen to your body, and know your limits. Poses that may be enjoyable and safe for one person may prove to be too taxing for someone else. In most cases, your instructor can provide you with modifications if you have concerns about specific movements or poses.

Most importantly, have fun! Despite what you may see on social media, yoga can provide a variety of benefits for people of every fitness level, so don’t be afraid to join in. We invite you to learn more about yoga classes and the many wellness options at Edgehill.

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