People say life begins at 40. In fact, there are many reasons that make us believe that’s true.
But before I touch at the changes that happen to our bodies, I’d like to go over a list with the major transformations that go through our bodies and lifestyle when we reach midlife.
And to better prepare you for this transition, we’ve put together a list of yoga for beginners over 40.
But first, let’s start with the way we dress. We’re more likely to be confident about ourselves and therefore confident about wearing what makes us feel good instead. Life is no longer a fashion show.
Having a comfortable wardrobe becomes the number one priority when shopping for new clothes.
Modern technology slows down aging. We’re talking moisturizers, supplements, organic food, improved exercise equipment and routines, and so on and so forth. But I don’t want to lose focus here.
Let’s just go straight to the point and mention your children who have grown and are more independent. Sex life steams. You’re doing better financially.
You know who your real friends are. You learn to be kind to yourself, and first and foremost, you know who you truly are.
Your Body Goes Through Some Major Changes
It’s a special time in our lives. In my case, to make it even more special, I decided to celebrate my 40th birthday in Paris. I was born on July 14th (Le quatorze juillet, in French). Simply, that’s the French Revolution day.
Needless to say it was an unforgettable experience as the day finished with fireworks over the Eiffel Tower. Can you tell how emotional that was for me? In the end, I think it was meant to be. It felt like a celebration thrown by the Gods, literally!
As per the body changes, I had my daughter at 35. I can honestly say I had been in pretty good shape until then. But, it took me three years to be back in the studio on a regular basis. I don’t regret it though. It was just because I really wanted to devote that precious time of my life to my newborn.
At 38, I started feeling some difficulty to be back in the same shape I was in my early 30s. I could feel my 40s were close. So I started preparing for it.
Both men and women experience major changes to their bodies at around 40 years of age. That includes difficulty to lose weight, hair and hearing loss, a decrease in bone density, and changes in the vision, taste and smell.
In women, there are hormonal changes, and an increased sexual steam, among other things.
Keeping Up with the Same Exercise Routines Becomes a Challenge
Activity levels go down naturally. It’s said an athlete’s performance hits its peak between ages 28 and 32. Interestingly, professional athletes usually retire at around age 40.
That’s when recovering their bodies starts. Mostly due to the years of high-performance wear and tear. Today, many of them use yoga as a way to accomplish that.
People hear about the benefits of yoga. Not all of them are former high-performance athletes. Nor they are in pretty good shape.
In fact, most of them are just regular people who sees yoga as a way to improve flexibility, and to be healthier overall.
Different yoga styles suit different body types and shapes. What type of yoga should I choose? That’s the question these 40-year old beginners are asking.
With the different yoga styles being taught at studios all over the country, it often becomes overwhelming to choose the right one.
Different Styles Satisfy Different Needs
There are a broad variety of yoga practices. As yoga origins date back to 600 BC, at least 3 Indian religions influenced its development. Some say that there could be up to 150 different styles divided by 8 different branches.
In the Western world, it was only introduced in the late 19th century. Mostly as a system of physical exercise.
I don’t want to get into the specifics and history of yoga at this time. Although, I did prepare a list of practices which I think can be a great start for any person 40 years old or beyond.
As I was going over the list I thought of the different body types and needs. Basically, I divided it into 5 different styles that include gentle Restorative yoga, a style ideal for persons excessively over weight and with any type of injury or illness that would abstain them from practice more intense physical activities.
Yin yoga is another type of gentle yoga ideal for people over weight or persons that are not in the best shape but are still able to move around with ease. It’s a slow-paced style with postures that are held for longer periods of time with the intent of increasing circulation in the joints to improve flexibility.
As we get better in shape, we literally move the body to traditional Hatha yoga. Its methodology includes the classical Sun Salutation – a series of specific positions that perform a fluid sequence. Hatha yoga emphasizes physical exercises for relaxation, body flexibility, strength, and personal concentration.
The last two styles in our list include more physically demanding sequences. Vinyasa is a dynamic flow that connects to the breath (pranayama). Transitions are incorporated as interdependent connections within and between the positions.
Last but not least is Ashtanga (a.k.a. Power yoga) which usually begins with five repetitions of “Surya Namaskara A and B” series, followed by a standing sequence, the beginning of one of six series, and the closing sequence.
As you can tell, Ashtanga yoga is recommended to the most experienced and advanced yogi. Completing all the series in the flow is a challenge that stresses the importance of daily practice.
Power Yoga, a very popular yoga style that uses weights and dumbbells was derived from Ashtanga.
Yoga is a Path to Meditation
My goal was to provide you with an idea of what to expect when choosing a yoga style. I hope I was able to educate you about some of the different styles you might find at your local studio, or online classes.
Another thing I’d like to share with you is the fact that practicing yoga is a way to prepare for the ultimate practice of meditation.
Meditation is a practice where an individual operates or trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit (healing) or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.
There’s no better time to practice it. It can be done either before or after the yoga practice. Or early in the morning, or before going to bed.
It’s just imperative that you make it a regular practice. Just like the different yoga styles we went through. You start with an easy practice before you get to a most advanced level.
If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to know more about any of the styles we just covered, please leave a comment below. It will be a pleasure to connect with you.