By Carla Y. Faulkner
John is a pretty fit guy but he has never taken any kind of exercise class, let alone a yoga class. Now that he is retired, he wants to stay in shape. But, when his hips and other joints started to bother him, he thought that it might be time to take a break from the treadmill and head into the yoga room. The gym he belonged to had a wide variety of yogic practices, but he didn’t really know which ones were appropriate for a man of his age. Which classes are appropriate for older folks?
– Many yoga programs that are aimed primarily at adults focus much of their attention on trying to make people just a little more flexible. As we get older and fail to stretch as often as we should, we lose a lot of our flexibility, which means that when we do exercise, it hurts. So, taking classes that help you stretch more will help you in all parts of your life.
– If you search around, you will be able to find several different types of yoga classes, including a gentle or restorative posture practice that is aimed primarily at people who are older or who have less range of motion. Remember that when you take classes, you are not trying to outstretch the person on the next mat. Asana practice is a solitary pursuit and although the person next to you might be super limber, that doesn’t mean that you have to be.
– You should never be in pain while holding a yoga posture and if you are ever asked to do anything that is painful or frightening to you, then you should not do it. Yoga training should not hurt. You might feel a little sore the next day, but that is only because you used your muscles. It should not hurt at all when you are doing it. If you feel that you are being pushed too hard for your own body, then stop and find another class to go to.
The yoga training sessions that are for seniors are generally a little easier on the joints, and require less extreme stretching. Any beginning class is also good for seniors as long as they know their own limitations. Of course, it is always a good idea to check with your doctor before you start taking any type of class, and that includes a yoga session.