Yoga is not a practice for the Young. It is a practice to keep us feeling young. As you age the movements, breath work, and mindfulness practices of Yoga can help you to continue living a full and engaging life.
Yoga for the Young
When I was in my early twenties I was in so much pain that there were occasions when I couldn't stand up straight. My lower backed was compressed. The activities of my daily life were increasing the damage. I saw the doctor, took muscle relaxants, stopped running and went to the chiropractor. Then, my friends invited me to audit a Yoga class. Everything changed.
I had found a way to feel well and to reduce my back pain. I started seeking out places to practice Yoga. I visited gyms, studios, people's homes, American Legions, community centers, and more. I sought Yoga classes everywhere I went. Eventually, I decided that vinyasa was my preferred style of practice. At the gym and eventually, my teacher's studio, I was the star student. I knew every posture and could flow through the sequences almost flawlessly. Headstands and handstands, arm balances and backward bends were my favorite postures.
Yoga is Wellbeing
I trained to become a Yoga teacher and while doing so learned much about what Yoga really is. When I first began teaching I guided in the style that was most familiar; vinyasa. My teacher and guide helped me to identify what was out of balance in my practice. She suggested I work on alignment. Again, everything changed. I dove deep into study of anatomy and physiology, the body and psychology. The way in which I practiced and taught changed. I started to identify my own imbalances and began to help others recognize theirs.
The more I practiced, the slower my asana and the more intentional my practice became. I was less interested in the athleticism of the practice. Caring for my body, mind, emotions, and energy became my focus. I wanted to do things that will keep me feeling well in every way.
Yoga as We Age
Approaching the practice with awareness of self opened new doors. Clients with specific needs including anxiety, Rheumatoid Arthritis, cancer remission, spinal issues, Multiple Sclerosis, Sciatic pain, recent surgery, Ankylosing Spondylosis, Scoliosis, overweight, as well as other minor and major limitations began seeking me out. Practicing therapeutic Yoga includes more than just addressing bodily needs. We attend to every aspect of ourselves.
Teaching people of all ages with all types of needs enlightened me to the importance of Yoga as we age. Whether 19 or 99, Yoga is accessible and available for all. Every posture can be varied or adjusted to serve individual needs. Pain can be managed, discomforts reduced, healing increased, and wellbeing created through the movements, breath work, and mindful practices of Yoga.
Yoga as a Challenge
My specialty is my ability to vary and create practices in the moment that serve the needs of whomever is in front of me. This skill came naturally while I was training to teach Yoga and has continued to develop over time.
Anyone who sticks with the practices I guide will observe that we are always working through the various aspects of postures before we actually get into them. The pose itself may seem easy, at first, but when we break it down a new appreciation for the subtleties of each position can be developed.
Practicing in a variety of locations can create challenges that you may never have expected. Your ability to focus, balance, breathe, and access the practice can be effected by where you are, who you are with, and the surface upon which you practice.
Challenge yourself by creating variation in your practice and learn to serve your own needs as they continually change over time. Keep practicing Yoga, everywhere, and experience how it always provides you with exactly what you need no matter your age.
Join a scheduled practice, request a private session, or deepen your individual practice now and as you age. Learn more about how we can help at LakeTahoeYoga.com.
By Alex founded localfreshies.com® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.
My First Experience Before Lake Tahoe Yoga
Since I’ve been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis I’ve been on a search to feel better and get healthier. I stopped smoking. I got into the gym doing exercises specifically geared towards my condition. My diet has changed. So, when I first did yoga, I chose to do a free introductory class years ago. It was ok, but it didn’t really help me.
Breaking Down The Barriers
I won’t lie Jenay and I are good friends and for many years she’s been trying to coax me into doing a personal session with her. The first (and only) class I did with someone else left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt like it was mumbo-jumbo. For those free-spirited individuals. I balked at the cost as well. Why the heck would I spend a $100 for one session?!?! With the help of my wife I reluctantly said “yes.”
Not Just Yoga… A Physical Therapy Session
Before we even had our 1st session she read up about my illness, looked at my x-rays, had me ask specific questions to have my doctor answer, and did a bunch of research on what things to do and not do. As we started the hour-long session… the type of yoga moves we began with warmed up the body. She explained each posture and why it was important to me. It felt less like a yoga class and more of a physical therapy session. I began to sweat. My muscles began to quiver.
My First Personal Course – Mind Altering
By the end, I was exhausted physically, mentally, and spiritually. As I woke up the next morning it felts as though every muscle had finally let go. A release of pent up tightness that I didn’t know existed. It was then that I realized what Yoga is. It isn’t just stretching. It is a way for those of us who have disabilities to get better slowly. It was worth EVERY penny and I now budget my life so that I can do it every other week.
The Difference Between Each Type Of Class
Over the course of the past few months there have been times when I couldn’t do the personal session and have done different levels and I’ve finally realized you get what you pay for. For those with physical issues the 1-on-1 is a MUST! You’ll get more than you’ll ever dream, but it isn’t cheap (and rightly so). The virtual 1-on-1 class is the second best, but not even close to as good as the in-person course. Last but not least, a group class with Jenay is a good substitute but it will never give you the results the other two sessions above will.
If you’re in pain, tweaked something in your body, or just feel tight I HIGHLY recommend you scheduling a personal session with Jenay. You won’t regret it.
Guest Article: Trevor McDonald - Website
Life is chaotic.
From the moment you wake up and open your eyes, you’re already being greeted with a steady stream of stimuli from seemingly everywhere.
And that’s even before you get out of bed!
It’s all too easy to want to block everything out, put your blinders on, and try to slog through your day-to-day routine.
It’s easy to become so focused on just getting through your day, that when it winds down to an end? You realize you haven’t even focused on one single thing.
You were just go-go-go, trying to survive another day.
That simply won’t do.
That lack of mindfulness can come back to haunt you. You may not even realize it, but being detached and distracted can be very harmful to you.
It’s so important to be in the moment, be focused, and be mindful.
Yet these days, more and more people are detached, distracted, and unaware.
It’s easy to get distracted by countless ads, blog posts about how to avoid body shaming, and everything in between.
The truth is, mindfulness – within your daily routine as well as in your Yoga practice – is an essential element to both your physical and mental wellness.
What Is Mindful Focus & Why Does It Matter?
It’s so easy to get caught up in the big picture that you overlook the smaller details in life.
When you feel like your attention is pulled in a thousand different directions, feeling overstimulated and overwhelmed can seem normal.
The thing is, though, that it’s not normal to feel like you’re constantly on an emotional or mental ledge. Over time, chronic stress can actually be extremely harmful to your health.
Mindfulness can help redirect your thoughts, allowing you a chance to relax and breathe.
Practicing mindful focus has been shown to have several important health benefits. People who practice mindfulness tend to be happier overall and have better health.
They're less likely to get sick too since mindfulness has been shown to help boost immunity.
Mindfulness is also a great way to help relieve anxiety and stress.
If you feel like you’re so overwhelmed with tension and stress that your mind doesn’t want to shut off at night, you may benefit from mindfulness. It has been shown to help those suffering from insomnia, too.
Finally, people who struggle with chronic pain have reported finding lasting relief from their aches through meditation.
As you can see, mindful focus isn’t just something that gets passed around by yogis; even researchers and medical professionals can agree that it’s got some pretty incredible health benefits!
Practicing Yoga to Become a Healthier You
If it feels like your mind is racing and you can’t seem to shut it off, you’re not alone. If you’re struggling to calm your mind, then you may find that practicing mindful focus through yoga can be incredibly helpful.
It’s important to remember that yoga isn’t something that’s reserved exclusively for the trained and enlightened. It’s a practice that’s inviting to people of all age groups, genders, and backgrounds.
Before you can understand the benefits of yoga, though, you first need to understand what the principles of yoga are.
Yoga focuses on a combination of special techniques. More commonly, they include learning specific poses, mindful focus, and breathing.
Together, these make up a portion of yoga.
By taking the time to practice and grow with yoga, you can start to notice a huge difference in your overall well-being.
Because Yoga poses are a type of gentle exercise, it can have incredible effects on your physical health. Yoga can help relieve chronic lower back pain, for example.
It can also help with numerous neurological disorders that can cause severe pain and discomfort. Researchers have found that it can help with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and fibromyalgia.
They can also help lower your blood pressure, allowing you to live a much healthier life.
Yoga has been shown to help address a huge spectrum of both physical and mental health issues, as well. It can help treat depression, reduce stress, help with addiction, and reduce insomnia.
Regular practice of yoga poses can also help boost your immune system, reducing your risk of catching an illness.
The bottom line?
Just the mere practice of yoga can greatly, significantly improve your quality of life.
Applying Mindful Focus to Your Daily Life
Applying the principles of yoga to your daily life doesn’t have to be something difficult or complex.
You don’t need to worry about trying to carve hours of your week to focus on, well, focusing.
In fact, even taking the time to practice a tiny bit of yoga can be quite beneficial to your health and welfare.
Even if you don’t have an hour to commit to yoga, you can still find a few small ways to sneak it in.
Finding even 10 or 20 minutes to practice mindfulness can still be a positive influence in your life.
Even better? You can do it right here, right now, in the clothes you’re wearing – no special equipment or yoga mats needed!
To dip your toes into a yoga practice, you need to start small. Take 10 minutes to focus on your breathing. See if you can relax your mind and try to meditate.
If you have a few more minutes, then the gentle hatha yoga postures can help you work out the stress and aches of your body and mind.
Begin with Hatha, after you have developed control and ease of the postures, then you might attempt the styles of yoga that have grown from Hatha such as vinyasa or Yin yoga.
Yoga is so inclusive and gentle that it can be beneficial to you, no matter your age or current ability level. There really is no excuse not to practice it.
That’s the wonderful thing about yoga. There really is something for everyone.
The more you practice yoga and mindfulness, the better you will start to feel.
If you’re looking to improve your focus, reduce your stress, enhance your outlook on life, and even shed a few unwanted pounds, yoga is for you.
What are you waiting for? Your inner peace awaits you.
You just have to be ready and willing to practice mindful focus.
Are you ready?
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 40.4 million family caregivers for adults age 65 or older in the United States. These caregivers are typically family members who take on the responsibility of helping their loved one with long-term services and support. Caregivers may provide financial assistance and personal care, but a large part of what they do is helping with day-to-day activities and emotional support. While most caregivers find that being there for their loved one is a rewarding experience, it stands to reason that the role involves a certain amount of stress with the risk of burnout. While dealing with that stress involves several healthy lifestyle choices, adding yoga and meditation to your daily schedule can be a huge boon to the overall mental health and wellness of both caregiver and senior.
A Morning Stretch
Among the many changes that happen to the body as we age, most seniors find that they lose flexibility and agility as the years go on. Doing a gentle yoga routine in the morning is a great way to improve mobility and balance, which is essential for preventing senior falls. Stretching is also beneficial for caregivers of all ages, as it eases tension due to stress. Furthermore, it’s helpful in reducing pain as well as stiffness in both the muscles and joints.
To get the best results, it’s important to be consistent and commit to stretching every morning. Having a dedicated practice ensures both senior and caregiver maintain muscular integrity while building strength. Try this easy stretching routine to help relieve stress and improve flexibility. To make it more like yoga, focus on your breath with each stretch. Inhale through your nose as you prepare to enter each pose, and exhale through your mouth when you release.
A Mindful Approach
As stretching and yoga help seniors and their caregivers maintain healthy bodies, meditation helps improve the health of the mind. By dedicating time to contemplation, people who meditate increase their mindfulness for a happier and more fulfilled life. According to Gizmodo, research shows that meditation can shield the brain from the damaging effects of stress and anxiety. Furthermore, it helps improve patience, enhances sleep quality, and alleviates feelings of depression. A daily meditation practice enriches one’s life and helps build self-esteem. Learning how to meditate is even a helpful skill when it comes to the management of chronic pain.
Just about everyone can benefit from meditation, but when it comes to seniors, there are particular benefits to consider. For one, when used in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and medical supervision meditation slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, degenerative conditions that impede cognitive function and memory. When seniors meditate, they are less likely to suffer from isolation and loneliness, which can have devastating physical health effects on top of the mental and emotional strain. Meditating stimulates the brain’s centers for memory, so it can help slow the memory loss that affects many people over the age of 65. Furthermore, the deep and focused breathing that accompanies meditation introduces healthy oxygen into the blood while improving circulation. Many seniors suffer from poor circulation resulting cramping, pain, or a heavy sensation in the limbs.
Millions of people in the United States provide unpaid care for a senior loved one. Care giving involves many things, including financial assistance, personal care, assistance with day-to-day activities, and emotional support. While most caregivers enjoy being there for a loved one, it comes with its share of stress with a risk of burnout. Along with a healthy lifestyle, seniors and their caregivers can ensure wellness with daily yoga and meditation habits. Stretching in the morning is a great way to improve agility and balance for seniors, while it can help their caregivers relieve anxiety and stress-related pain. Meditation is as good for the head as yoga is good for the body. It improves mindfulness and protects the brain from stress, but it’s also helpful for seniors, as it slows the progression of dementia.
Give The Gift of Yoga
Lake Tahoe Yoga offers a variety of options for individuals interested in beginning the practice of mindful movement and meditation.
One of the instructors at LTY recently approached me to ask for advice on how to differentiate her classes and make them more accessible for beginners. I was overjoyed to hear her say that she wanted to improve her skills so that she could help make everyone feel more comfortable in her classes. Teaching beginners is not an easy skill to learn. Many teachers approach their instruction from where they are; they teach based upon their abilities and knowledge. Learning to break down the poses in a away that is accessible for new practitioners and exciting for those with experience takes practice.
Teaching for You
One of the topics covered in the Lake Tahoe Yoga Teacher Training Program is how to teach FOR our practitioners rather than TO them. Those of you who have joined the practice at LTY know that no two practices are ever the same. We change up the postures, sequences and focus in every session. Our goal is to keep you focused, but also to challenge ourselves as teachers. Our intention is to create practices that are for you. From the poses to the breath and the energy of the space (even when outdoors) we are constantly considering ways in which to make Yoga happen in every aspect of the practice.
Every Body Can Do Yoga
Just like you, our team of teachers have a variety of styles, talents and abilities. We are proud to offer classes that are inclusive for all bodies. We use tools to help ourselves access postures and are honored to share our knowledge of tool useage with you. We accept all practitioners as themselves. We want to know what your goals and intentions are, what you hope to get out of the practice and how you intend upon growing, changing and transforming through the practice. Come to us with your requests, needs and wishes. We are ready to guide you upon your path.
We Love Our Small Class Sizes
Our studio space can fit just 20 mats (25 if we really want to get cozy). In a typical scheduled practice we will have just 1-10 practitioners. This leaves plenty of space for movement, tool placement and expression of each individual in the space. As teachers, we love this. We are able to give everyone attention. Whether offering specific guidance for an individual’s body, answering a question asked during the practice or providing an adjustment to each and every participant, we enjoy spending time with our practitioners and knowing that each individual has been noticed. You will never be anonymous at Lake Tahoe Yoga. You will always be welcomed into the studio as a member of our intimate community of Yogis.
Do Not Be Fearful
Regardless of your ability, age, knowledge or comfort level with Yoga, we invite you to join us. Try one of our classes. We would be honored to have you join our community. Give us the chance to guide you through the poses, breath and mindful practices of Yoga. Give yourself the chance to feel better, every day, through the practice of Yoga.