Yoga helps those of all ages develop flexibility and strength. Starting yoga classes as a senior citizen can be intimidating, but that should not deter you from trying it out! To help you prepare for your first senior yoga class, we've compiled a few tips to help you feel ready and understand what to expect.
Assess Your Physical State
Yoga is a great activity to start at any age. However, several movements might not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions. As always, you should consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise. It is worth noting that there many different types of yoga. After you have consulted with your doctor, speak to your yoga instructor if you have a conflicting medical condition, show your reports for him/her. You may be able to create a suitable plan/exercise.
Once you get the green light from the doctor, here are a few of the benefits you can look forward to upon starting your yoga routine!:
- Increased Flexibility
- Improved Sleep
- Reduced Chronic Pain
- Better Movement
- Enhanced Energy
Attending Yoga Classes
Physically going to yoga classes might present a problem for older adults, particularly when trying to practice social distancing. Fortunately, online classes and books can serve as great resources. If you are unable to attend a class in person, consider joining a virtual class where you can get live instruction and feedback.
An expert instructor in the class will keep an eye if you are following the particular breath and body posture required. Moreover, with others in the senior yoga classes, you can have a great time to relax, learn, and enjoy your time.
Select an outfit that is stretchy and comfortable to wear during the sessions. Try to avoid clothes that are too baggy as they may get in the way of certain positions, and you don't want to worry about them not staying in place. It is recommended to simply wear a nice fitting t-shirt and jogging pants.
Yoga sessions are typically done barefoot. There is no need for special footwear, but you can wear sneakers or non-slip socks if you are worried about slipping.
Although they provide yoga mats in some senior yoga studios for free, other studios (or if you are practicing at home) will expect you to bring a yoga mat. Purchasing your own mat is also good for hygienic reasons. When you purchase a yoga mat, consider these factors:
- Look for eco-friendly materials (Jute, Rubber or Cotton)
- Make sure it is long enough supporting your entire body lying down
- Check that it is sticky enough to hold your posture without the risk of slipping
Seek help from your instructor on the best suitable mat for your need. Additionally, here are a few other things to pack in your yoga bag:
- Doctor's Details
- Remedial ID Bracelet
- Water Bottle
- Sandals (Remove when you go inside)
Look For A Qualified Instructor
Depending on your area, it may be difficult to find a qualified instructor who recognizes the prime challenges often faced by senior citizens. Don't worry; you can get the names of expert instructors from:
- Online Classes
- Voluntary Registers
- Ask your friends/network
Although this will likely vary from one senior yoga studio to other, general etiquette includes:
- Arrive at the Venue Early - Gives you enough time before check-in, talk about your concerns, and discover a space inside the studio.
- Take Off Your Shoes - Since the practice sessions involve plenty of footwork on the floor, leave shoes outside the door, or keep them inside your bag.
- Switch Off Phone - Keep the day's stresses out when you are entering the relaxation place.
- Watch Your Feet - It is not good to step onto other's mats.
- Stay For Whole Class - Often, people tend to leave the class during the relaxation for final minutes. However, it is a vital component and can effectively develop your health benefits too.
Choices For A Suitable Class:
- Breath Work
Try to find a studio that offers all of these as a package!
Do Regular Warm-Ups
Warm-ups are suggested even for people of all ages. And with the growing years of age, joints get stiffer and might need additional time for relaxation. To achieve the best possible outcome from your practice sessions, warm-ups are essential.
Improve your flexibility with yoga. Say, for example, you want to bend & touch toes by placing your hands on your thighs. Take deep breaths and try to reach your knees. Take a short break and then reach the mid-portion of shin.... begin again. Avoid overstretching.
Take enough rest time every pose you do and don't rush for new postures. Don't add new movements until you have fully adjusted. Just start at your own pace. To continue senior yoga practice sessions use props such as:
All these can help you to get additional support for the sessions.
A Few More Helpful Tips
Follow these tips for better yoga practice sessions:
- Eat a light snack an hour before
- Stay hydrated
- Ask Questions
- Let your instructor recognize the health concerns
Altogether, these useful tips can help you achieve the best out of your sessions. To learn more about why you should try yoga, check out our recent blog, 9 Benefits of Yoga for Older Adults.