It still seems strange to me that I’ve reached 50 and can speak about yoga for women over 50 from my own perspective. I remember when I thought 50 was old – but it isn’t.
So, if you think that 50 is old, please reset your thinking and realise that we are as old as we allow ourselves to be. Or put differently, we are as old as we create ourselves to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying your body will look like a twenty-something year old, but likewise, there’s no reason to accept that you have an unhealthy body just because it’s 50. We can reclaim ourselves if we’ve let ourselves become unfit, unhealthy, overweight, aching etc.
So Why Yoga for Women Over 50?
Yoga is amazing because it can fit so many different people’s requirements. There’s a form of yoga for all tastes and levels and the benefits are there for everyone, young, old, fit, unfit, stiff, supple . . . it doesn’t matter because we all do yoga to our own personal limits.
The amazing power in that means that you can always work to stretch your line. As you become more flexible you will go deeper into the poses. As you create more strength, you will do more supporting poses and as you build cardio you can add swifter flows to your practise.
As you progress, you don’t have to extend the time like you would with other forms of exercise – because as you become more and more fit, your yoga routine will take you that step further, that step deeper. It’s about working to your new line. Every moment, every moment.
With yoga you include stretching, toning, cardio, respiratory, mental, spiritual and all benefits for your mind and body. I want to invite you on my personal journey with yoga.
Starting Out With Yoga in Your 50s
I first came across yoga when I was in my 40s and I loved it. I started slowly and worked my way through several beginner yoga videos from you tube. If you want to read about that, I wrote about it in yoga from home.
So I fell in love with yoga but I did what so many people do – I had brief spells of doing yoga, followed by long spells of not doing any. So, over the space of a few years my subconscious mind learned more and more about the skill of making yoga a part of my life and the easy tendency to slip out of it.
I came across the winter of 2018 with no yoga in my life and then suddenly, one day, I woke up and I realised I wanted to feel more alive in my body. I remembered running as a child, doing handstands and gymnastics and I wanted to feel that connection again. At the same time, I wanted yoga to be part of my daily life.
So I committed myself to prioritise yoga every day. To really make it part of my reality.
I started at the beginning of March 2019 and I set out on my journey of enjoying the present moment to the full while doing yoga and enjoying everything it brings with it.
Yoga is about the present moment. One thing I’ve learned is to not think of yoga as a result-based activity. Yoga will give you huge results as long as you don’t start out thinking of it as a means to getting those results. That would be the quickest way to stop the results from flowing in.
What type of Yoga?
There are so many types of yoga and within the different styles then there are different styles from individual teachers. Some voices might grind on you while others sooth you and bring out the best of your workout. It’s really important to keep looking until you find videos that resonate with you.
I started out in the very beginning with Esther Ekhart yoga. Esther has a calm and reassuring voice and her yoga brings peace and calm and inspiration.
After Esther I looked for something a bit faster, more exercise based, and I found Tara Stiles. Tara has since founded Strala Yoga and you can find full workouts on youtube as well as the shorter videos from the past, called The Yoga Solution.
After doing Tara Stiles for a while, I discovered various other teachers whose videos I tried, but none who stayed with me, that is until I came across the adapted series 1 Ashtanga yoga by Fightmaster Yoga. I loved that video and practised it throughout the course of a whole summer. But then, yet again, I let the yoga slip and returned to my sedentary lifestyle.
If you’d like to read more about the Ashtanga yoga I wrote about it in What is Ashtanga Yoga About?
Suddenly, one day I woke up and decided to make yoga a permanent part of my life, I decided that I want to seriously challenge my body to stay active and in use! Not just a little but a lot!
I discovered Cat Meffan who does some great intermediate power yoga flows, vinyasa flows and stretching yoga flows, also for all levels. I love her voice and way of teaching and I’m really enjoying the challenge her videos bring to my body. I feel invigorated and alive after practising yoga.
So, the Big Question – Why Should it be Different After 50?
Well, unless you’re already in great shape and keeping fit, I can almost bet you have very low muscle mass in your body. Our strength needs keeping alive and if we neglect it we can become quite weak beings.
So bear that in mind when you set out on your yoga journey. Don’t beat yourself up for being weak, just allow it to be what it is and know that with each session you are helping to feed your body back to strength and health.
Apart from the lack of muscle, you may well have built up some surplus fat reserves. Again, don’t criticise your body for this. Your body is just a reflection of how you’ve treated yourself. So instead of feeling disheartened when you see extra body fat, feel excited that you’re finally providing yourself with healthy input to tone up your body.
Do Not Count The Days! I recommend that you forget about the time and live only in the present with each yoga workout. No weighing or measuring yourself. You are doing this for the NOW. Your body needs this. You will Love it – as long as you find just the right way to do it for you.
We may be over 50 but we shouldn’t think that therefore we can’t do yoga. In fact I’m more inspired than ever to do more and more and more yoga and feed my body with the exercise which it needs in order to thrive. I’m going to look after my body as though it belonged to someone else. Because let’s face it, if your body belonged to one of your loved ones, you would cherish it and love it.
Do the same for your own body. It’s a miracle that’s been lent to us so that we can experience this life. So whatever stage you’re at, whatever level of fitness or non-fitness, start out slow and gradually build your yoga up until you can truly say that it is a part of your life.
How to Include Yoga in Your Life
There’s only one way to do this. And that is to put it as a top priority. There’s nothing more important than your health and happiness. It may take some re-programming of your subconscious mind before you truly believe that this is essential, but the only way to get something done for sure is to know that it’s totally important.
You accept that eating’s essential, so when you take time to grab a sandwich for lunch, you don’t feel like you’re indulging. Because eating’s important. Well, yoga’s the same. If you take my advice, you’ll start rewiring your mind to realise that yoga’s essential to your wellbeing.
Find a video on youtube and set aside 20 minutes each morning before you go to work, just to follow your yoga video. After a while, maybe days, weeks or months, you’ll want to find another video to progress to. You may even prefer to do a different video every day to give more variation. Whatever keeps you interested is the best way.
Yoga And Meditation
Meditation’s a whole topic on its own, but when you take up yoga, even if you’ve never meditated, I recommend that after you’ve been lying flat in Savasana for as long as suits you to finish your practise, you then sit cross legged, hands facing upward, thumb resting naturally and gently on your first or second finger, and close your eyes.
Be present and feel the great energy or life source as it flows through you. You can sit like this, calm, clear and quiet of mind for just a few moments or for much longer. I’m sure you will feel the benefit of the serenity and power of this moment after your yoga session.
We are incredible beings capable of so much. We just need to learn to tap into it. Learn and grow and you’ll be amazed how far you will travel. How your life will progress and unfold before you. And how grounded you will come to feel in your practise.
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