A consistent yoga practice supports women physically, emotionally, and spiritually—but adapting your practice to meet your needs at each milestone is crucial. While you can enjoy a challenging yoga regimen at any age, you’ll get the most from a practice tailored to the present—in other words, customized for your stage in life and how you’re feeling on any given day. Taking time to be mindful what’s happening in your life, physically and emotionally, is the key to getting the most from what yoga can offer you, all through your life.
Here is a quick guide to a lifetime of practice:
Adolescence. Start off with a dynamic sequence to release energy, then quiet the body and mind with seated poses and forward bends. Sun salutations are a great warm up, try to do 10 on each side to feel calm and ready to slow down the pace. Then go into twists, lateral stretches and forward bends focusing on holding each pose for at least 10 breaths bringing your focus inwards as the class concludes, the first half of the class should be viewed as the energetic release and the second half of the class is a mindful replenishment of calming energy, this will also make you feel more at ease with yourself as this stage questions a lot of life’s purpose. The program we would recommend for teenagers is Beginner’s Yoga
Childbearing years. Now’s the time to take up meditation. Studies show that 20 minutes of meditation twice a day lowers blood pressure, decreases anxiety, and improves both sleep and memory. With competing demands put on stay at home moms, working moms and women in the workplace it is important to use your yoga practice as a time for yourself to reflect, re-prioritise and reward all your efforts. This stage in life means that the woman is often juggling many demanding roles at the same time, let yoga shed the stress by opting for gentle vinyasa with attention on pranayama. The program we would recommend is pre and post natal yoga or breathing and relaxation if you are not pregnant.
Perimenopause. Inversions can relieve stress and insomnia; twists can relieve fatigue and depression; forward bends help ease irritability and anxiety. With hormone levels in flux it is important to be aware of the changing moods and feelings with a stand point that this time too shall pass. Poses that focus on balancing the adrenal glads are most beneficial during this time, shoulderstand, plough pose, fish pose, twisting poses also help to regulate a constant energy level addressing times when you feel anxious or lethargic. The program we would recommend is stretch and restore for this stage of life
Postmenopause. Weight-bearing poses may help keep your bones strong and improve joint function. Strength is key at this stage, with arthritis and decreasing bone density common in old age for women it is important that we keep our muscles engaged to lighten the load on our skeletal structure. A consistent asana practice can help maintain your range of motion and flexibility, it is vital that your pracitice is a regular habit so your body adjusts and strengthens gradually rather than shocking the system with intense workouts, you are much better off doing a gentle one hour practice 3 times a week than a tiring 2 hours session at the gym once a month. We would recommend Yoga and Pilates to bring a balance of range of motion as well as muscular control.
In Summation, the main thing is that you see your practice evolve with you, we are always changing so let your yoga practice also change with you, this will honor your body, mind and energy levels. Moreover it will allow your time on the yoga mat to be a life long habit that keeps giving you lasting benefits.