Hints on Selecting a Yoga Class

More and more senior citizens are interested in taking yoga. Older people have heard that a regular practice of yoga can help one sleep better, reduce back and sciatic pain, improve physical fitness, and improve one’s quality of life. Their children and doctors encourage them to attend a yoga class.

Yoga has some wonderful benefits for conditions that effect seniors.

  • Yoga helps elders who have arthritis by keeping joints flexible. It helps those with osteoporosis maintain bone density.

  • Yoga keeps the heart healthy by improving endurance, decreasing stress, and promoting healthy aging and wellness.

  • Yoga improves balance and is helpful in fall prevention.

  • Yoga helps seniors who suffer from depression or insomnia. It helps one sleep and promotes healthy attitudes.

  • Yoga helps to increase attention and relaxes the body.

Selecting a yoga class is sometimes a problem for senior citizens. There are hundreds of styles of yoga being offered at Y’s, continuing education programs, libraries, and senior centers. Not all teachers are trained to teach the elderly. They may have limited understanding of the chronic conditions some seniors face. Thus, selecting the right teacher and the right class are key.

The following are a few hints that may be helpful:

Think about your goals in taking yoga. Why are you taking this class? Is it for exercise, to gain more flexibility, to be part of a community of people interested in wellness, or to learn about relaxation?

Ask what the teacher’s qualifications are? Where was she/he trained? Are they a member of the Yoga Alliance, which is association of yoga teachers who have completed training programs that meet certain standards?

Where is the program located? Is it easy to get to and is there parking? Is it easily accessible for older people?

Does the teacher stress safety? Is she / he interested in meeting your needs? Can they modify poses and practices to meet your capabilities or are they “doing their thing in front of the group”?

Does the class allow you time to warm up, cool down, and practice breathing techniques? Is their time for relaxation and integration of the experience?

Tell the teacher about your medical history and ask her/him if they are familiar how to adapt the class to meet your needs.

In the right class with the right teacher, older people can make tremendous progress and have a wonderful experience.

Return to list of articles.