This Yoga After 50 New York Times piece that’s been floating around the past few days had us immediately thinking, Yoga after 50? Was there ever a question? In fact, the very image of Sally O’Malley’s springy, “I’m 50! 50 years old!” came to mind. Because, of course, that’s what fit and lively 50+ yogis look like, right?
But (as you may have guessed) we’re not over 50. And when you think about the general lack of information, representation and immediate options out there for the midlife types, we’re glad they’re getting some attention. After all, we can’t let the nonagenarians have all the fun!
The whole Times article is worth a read, if you haven’t done so already, but what we really loved about it was this last paragraph and what NY-based senior Iyengar teacher Carrie Owerko had to say about “advanced” practitioners.
“In my experience, older students often bring a mature wisdom to the practice,” said Ms. Owerko, who turned 51 this week and has for many years attended an advanced yoga retreated for women over 40. “They have lived long enough to have a sense of humor about themselves. And they are often more compassionate toward themselves and other students.”
Keeping the conversation going NYT editors invited readers to send in questions for backcare and yoga therapy specialist Dr. Loren Fishman. Round one of the answers is up and it’s all great info but here are the bare bone basics you should know.
Is yoga good for the aging population? My answer is yes.
Are there any aspects to yoga practice that the over-50 practitioner should give up if she/he is healthy and otherwise feeling well?
Yes, there are things you may need to give up in your yoga practice as you get older.
Dr. Fishman goes on to answer readers’ questions about joint pain, back pain and Sciatica, but we found his response to several people asking the simple question of where do we start? to be a valuable one:
Besides these readers, Big Bird from NYC and SH and Pinotman from Chicago wrote in wanting to know the best place and the best way to begin or resume yoga when you are over 50. The absolute best way is to find out what your liabilities are, and this is an individual matter, requiring a medical visit or summary. The next step is an appointment with an experienced and smart yoga teacher, one on one. Group classes are an artifact of urban economics: the teacher cannot afford to live in the city in which she teaches any other way. But chronic conditions are cumulative, by definition: when you’re older you need the individual attention that yoga has traditionally offered.
Individual attention and knowing your own body. When we talk about yoga practice and injuries at any age, these two little gems keep popping up. We’re think they’re useful for anyone looking to KICK and STRETCH annnnd KICK well past your 50s.
Part two of the questions will be up at the NYT Well blog next week.
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