Yoga – a practice for the body, soul and mind
Jean Bloker, a 51 year old yoga and writer enthusiast, has written a piece for Age Better in Sheffield about the benefits of yoga.
Hello there! My name’s Jea, and I’m a 51-year-old fitness enthusiast who loves writing in my spare time. But mostly, I like being active and bringing down stereotypes about what we 50-somethings-and-above can and cannot do. Last year, in fact, I finished my first triathlon, and am planning to compete in one again next year. But as you can probably guess, by the title of this article, I’m deep into yoga, and you should be, too, because it’s got so many benefits.
Yoga has helped me in many ways in the three years since I first took it up. And I want you all to benefit from it as well. In case you’re not convinced, take a look at yoga’s positive impact on various aspects of our health:
Yoga has many physical benefits — enhanced flexibility, better joint health and improved endurance, just to name a few! But for me, the main physical benefit of yoga is that it improves balance, stability, strength, and coordination. The benefits of which, are invaluable for active ageing. Additionally, yoga has a positive impact on your breathing (improves it significantly), blood pressure (lowers it to healthy levels), and weight (helps in maintaining it).
Yoga is a holistic exercise as it doesn’t just benefit your body, but your mind as well. This is why lots of people turn to it for its calming effect. Lifestyle writer Jane Adamson details how yoga can alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia, making it a form of self-care that helps improve not only your mental state, but also the overall quality of your life. In fact a study published in the International Journal of Yoga details how yoga can provide you with ‘a healthy and positive alternative from depressing negative thoughts’ and a sense of hope and purpose, too.
In addition, yoga is a non-pharmacological form of holistic management that can help you regain or improve your self-confidence as you start performing simple practices, and then improve on your performance later on. This results in feelings of motivation and accomplishment that can ultimately manifest in a sense of joy and jubilance, along with an increased resolve to live life to the fullest.
As the NHS notes in its guide to yoga, the best way to start yoga is to attend a class, where your instructor can teach you how to do poses and breathing techniques correctly. It’s in these classes where you can get an understated but equally important benefit of yoga: social interaction. Obviously, attending yoga classes in-person isn’t advisable just yet because of this pandemic. Fortunately, it’s possible to replicate to some degree the social dynamics of yoga virtually. Proof are Stephen Smith’s virtual classes (Stephen is pictured above), which are part of his popular Chi Living wellbeing project. His free yoga classes over Zoom, in particular, have been a hit, and have allowed his clients to connect with one another. You might recognise Stephen from our “We’re Getting Through It Campaign”, you can find out more about how he has moved his yoga classes online and created a wonderful online community. Popular yoga studios like Fly LDN, FLEX Chelsea, and Triyoga offer the same setup, and will allow you to do yoga synchronously with other people your age.
The good news in all this is that you’re never too old for yoga. Now is the time to make yoga part of your life!
Written by: Jea Bloker