Yoga for All Ages
Yoga is the union of the mind and body. It is a word that can be intimidating at any age; many envision aÂ conditioned yogi performing advanced pretzel-like poses. But many styles of yoga exist, from simple chairÂ stretches to sequences of flowing poses that move with your breath. It’s important to find a style that meetsÂ your needs, whether it is to improve balance and flexibility or a way to wind down after a long day. YogaÂ comes in all ages, fitness levels, shapes, and sizes.
Body mechanics and the way you align the poses are vital aspectsÂ of safely practicing yoga. Preventing injuries like over-straining canÂ be achieved with a few simple modifications. By staying safe andÂ tuning in to your inner awareness, the full benefit of the pose canÂ attained.
Modification forÂ Standing ForwardÂ Bend
Standing with your feetÂ hip-width apart, bendÂ your knees deeply andÂ rotate your upper bodyÂ forward and down towards the ground. MovingÂ from the hips, let the headÂ hang heavy with your gaze behind you. Hold for 5 breaths. IfÂ bending your knees does not enable your hands to reach the mat,Â try bringing two blocks directly under your shoulders.
Modification for Plank
Begin on all fours with yourÂ shoulders over your wristsÂ and engage your abdominalÂ muscles by bringing yourÂ navel to your spine. Your toesÂ should be tucked under, withÂ your knees slightly behind your hips. Gaze at the mat to keep yourÂ neck long and continue to breathe. If this position causes youÂ wrist pain, another option is to come down onto the forearms.
Modification for Tree Pose
With your feet hip-width apart and yourÂ hands in prayer position at the chest, startÂ to transfer more of your body weight into allÂ four corners of your left foot. Begin to peelÂ your right foot off of the mat and try bringingÂ the sole of your foot to your left ankle orÂ calf. Cultivate balance, and gaze down forÂ stability. Repeat on the other side.
Listen to your body; notice sensations and challenge yourself.Â Contract your muscles and experience positive pressure. ExtremeÂ discomfort is a sign that you might need to back off or softenÂ somewhere. Holding the poses for longer periods of time willÂ strengthen mental focus.
Remember that yoga is a practice. Be patient and immerseÂ yourself in the present.
We live in a fast-paced world; take the time to slow down andÂ enjoy being in your space.