Whether you first come to yoga during your golden years or you have been at it for decades, practicing yoga at a later age usually means making modifications that support your body in the right way. Fortunately, yoga is designed to be adapted to the individual’s body regardless of age, so with the right mindset, making modifications as you get older will be a natural progression.
When in doubt, begin at the beginning. Level one and gentle yoga classes are geared for everybody—that is, every body. With plenty of modifications, props, demonstration, and verbal cues, beginner classes will teach you the nuts and bolts of yoga, and most of all, how to adapt the poses to your particular body.
The movements in yoga are often very different from the movements of everyday life, so it can take time to get used to this new way of configuring your body. But once you attend class for a few weeks to months, you will get the hang of the most common poses and know how to accommodate your needs during the practice.
After a few months or a year or so of regular practice, depending on the individual, you will likely find that you feel comfortable trying more challenging poses or classes. You will likely find that your balance and strength improve, your focus sharpens, and your distracted mind becomes less so. You may find that you can more easily relax both on and off the mat, and that you are less stressed and have a better outlook on life.
From increased bone density, reduced dowager’s hump (curvature of the upper spine that comes with age), and improved mood, yoga has been shown to have many benefits as we age. Yoga can be a comprehensive body, mind, and spirit practice. What you put into it you will get out of it—and usually more.