FEBRUARY 13, 2018
However, it can’t be denied that ageing inevitably brings some extra challenges such as menopause, arthritis or decreased joint mobility, shallow breathing, poor sleep patterns, perhaps digestive problems or lower energy levels.
There is no doubt that practicing yoga will bring immeasurable benefits and improve the mid years of your life. However it is important to know that if you are starting to practice yoga at age 50 or older, that you do not attempt poses that are painful in any way or cause you to worry about your balance. Younger yoga practitioners often challenge their body. In the fifties and beyond it is about maintaining optimum health and strength and flexibility which may also help to prevent injuries.
Moreover, the breathing exercises (Pranayama) will help to strengthen and expand your lungs, improving the blood flow to your heart and whole body. The increased oxygenation helps to balance your circulation and even your respiratory and digestive system.
Bringing the mind to the breath and focusing it there is as good for your mental and emotional health as the physical poses are good for your body. Your concentration and ability to focus will improve as will your memory. Your mind will be clearer and you will be calmer and more able to combat the inevitable stress we all have sometimes. Less stress leads to greater longevity!”
Here are the five best poses for women over fifty. Each one exercises and strengthens a different part of the body. Each one is beneficial during and after the menopause, helping to lessen any discomfort and putting you back in control of your body. Remember to respect your physical limits and don’t over exert yourself. A slow gentle pace is fine.
MOUNTAIN POSE (Tadasana)
A standing exercise that aligns the body and improves posture. This will help your balance and ‘grounds’ you through the legs and feet. Helps prevent the dreaded dowager hunch! Stand tall with feet together and gaze straight ahead. Draw in the abdominal muscles and hold, breathing deeply and steadily for 30 seconds to a minute.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
An iconic pose that brings so many benefits. It opens the backs of the legs, elongates the spine which gently helps to re-align the vertebrae. It offers the benefit of an inversion without having to fully go upside down and this helps with any neck or shoulder injuries. It also strengthens and opens the chest, beneficial for those who sit down for much of the day. Your upper body strength will improve, particularly the arms. This is also a good pose for bringing awareness to the breathing. Here is a good example of a pose that can be modified using the back of a chair or table edge.
TRIANGLE POSE (Trikonasana)
Another good foundation pose, not too daunting and very beneficial. It stretches the side waist and opens the side hip. Many people are good at stretching backwards and forwards but forget about the muscles on the sides. If you use your lower body a lot, do a lot of walking or cycling, the Triangle Pose is important for you. Hip pain is often an issue in mid life, this pose will exercise the muscles which will counteract that. Finally it is excellent for strengthening the core.
BRIDGE POSE (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This pose can be rejuvenating, energizing or restorative. It strengthens the entire back of the body including the glutes, calves and hamstrings, improves circulation and helps alleviate stress. Again this pose can be modified by sliding a block or bolster beneath your sacrum.
WARRIOR 1 POSE (Virabhadrasana)
A classic pose that strengthens your shoulders, arms, legs, ankles and back. It opens your hips, chest and lungs and encourages good circulation and respiration. It will also stretch your arms, legs, shoulders, neck and groin muscles and energize your entire body.
A regular yoga practice into your fifties and beyond is wonderful to maintain and improve your health, vitality and well being!
Kosta Miachin is the creator of VIKASA Yoga method – a unique, challenging and effective approach to yoga. He is also the founder of VIKASA Yoga Academy. You can find him online: http://www.vikasayoga.com