As the rise of yoga continues to sweep across our leisure centres and village halls, hopefully too the myth that yoga is only for the fit and flexible is starting to diminish. Yet still I find there is a “not for me” stigma attached to this most ancient and wondrous of practices that alienates a huge population of people from even trying it and finding out its many benefits for themselves.
That is why I felt compelled to write this because yoga’s healing benefits, if given the chance, will far outweigh the awkwardness of questioning our own preconceived ideas about why we do not fit the “yoga body” mould. For me, with my tight hamstrings and rounded shoulders from years of cycling and slouched stressed over an office desk, it was one of the hardest and one of the best decisions I ever made to walk into my first yoga class.
So what’s all the hype about anyway? Where to start? Well, maybe with the fact that none of us are getting any younger! That more of us than ever before are living a good 25 years post retirement age, yet sadly, the statistic is that only 11 of those year are likely to be spent in good health. So with that in mind, there has never been a better time to tap into the preventative health benefits of yoga than now. We need to do this for ourselves, so that we can enjoy life and thrive long into those golden years of retirement and so that we can empower future generations to do the same.
Whilst yoga is so much more than just a physical practice, its physical benefits are a tangible entry point for many people seeking to address an injury or physical tension. Many health care practitioners are now recommending the practice for instance for the prevention and management for one of the UK’s largest causes of disability, back pain and with my own experience of Forrest Yoga and working one to one with clients, I can see why. Developed by yoga pioneer and healer of 40 years, Ana Forrest, this particular style of yoga uses intelligent poses and sequencing to address ailments such as lower and upper back pain as well as shoulder and neck issues that so many of us experience due to our lifestyle.
Over my years on the mat and through my many yoga trainings, I return time and time again to Forrest poses and techniques for my own personal practice and when working one to one with clients. The results speak for themselves with clients reporting substantially increased core strength, a greater body awareness leading to prevention of further injury, increased range of strength and mobility that allows them to excel in hobbies such as walking, running, cycling and golf not to mention reduced stress levels, improved mood and greater quality of sleep.
The beauty of yoga is that it embraces all bodies, all shapes, all sizes and all abilities that come to the practice. It’s an all-inclusive non-denominational practice. The possibilities are only limited by our own imagination as this practice can be completely tailored and adapted to each individual which is what makes working with people on a one to one basis so rewarding for me as a teacher. For instance, poses can be done seated in a chair and using props or wall space to create a safe environment, enabling even those with very limited mobility to fully experience the benefits be it releasing years of built up tension or connecting to the strength of muscles they didn’t even know existed! My approach is always mindful, non-judgemental and all accepting and for many we are re-learning how to be kind and compassionate to ourselves and therefore others.
If any part of this article has perked your attention or resonates, then it’s a sure sign that there really is no better time than now to look into a practice that could well be the difference between surviving or thriving into your retirement years.
So if you’re interested to find out more about how private yoga sessions could really benefit you, from learning about habitual patterns of movement that may be causing you pain to exploring the yoga’s many tools to mindfulness and stress release, then I urge you to get in touch or book on to my free no obligation yoga with Caroline taster evening at Temple Village Hall 7-8pm on Wednesday 27th March. To book email email@example.com