I started a new series of classes recently and one of my new students enquired ‘who is yoga suitable for’? The true and fabulous answer is anyone. Absolutely anyone can practice in some form. There will always be something that can be gained from a regular yoga practice regardless of age, physical fitness, level of ability, gender, illness etc. Yoga means to yoke or bind, the mind body and breath. There are classes through out the country for those with specific illnesses but a skilled teacher will be able to adapt any posture to suit any level. Funnily yoga initial started out in India as a predominantly male exercise, in the west it has evolved into being more female dominated, perhaps because it is non competitive. There are as many men as women teachers, the benefits are effort dependent not gender. There are yoga classes for infants- helps them to sleep, little ones – helps them to concentrate, specific illnesses and those of advanced age- maintains movement, balance and confidence.
There is an inspirational yoga teacher (www.matthewsanford.com) in the states who is wheelchair bound following an accident, who teaches those with a disability and able bodied. Elite sports people including Ryan Giggs credit yoga with prolonging their sporting career. Even if you are only a weekend sports star, incorporating a yoga class into your regular training program will help prevent injury, develop strength and flexibility. As someone who would have been very overweight when I started yoga, many moons ago, I have a particular kinship with those who are carrying excess weight and aren’t physically fit. Yoga helped me, it may help you. So my take home is don’t limit your self and don’t live with the limits others try to put on you. Give it a go.
Joanne Dowds MISCP