The benefits of yoga – including lowering blood pressure and easing back pain – should be enough to get anyone on the mat
Discover the benefits of this ever-growing favourite pastime
But while two million Australians embrace their inner yogi, the numbers take a nosedive for those past age 50. That’s unfortunate, experts say. “Yoga can be a lifelong best friend – if you know how to respect and listen to your body,” says Colleen Saidman Yee, owner of Yoga Shanti Studios in New York. “Yoga will keep your joints and muscles fluid and flexible, and aid digestion and sleep,” she says.
Yoga can also have a positive effect on mental health, says John Zrebiec, director of behavioural health services at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. “Studies indicate a variety of beneficial outcomes,” Zrebiec says. Yoga may reduce stress and improve mood, quality of life, cognitive function and energy levels. Yoga may even reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Our recommendation: just start. Look for a beginner’s DVD or class. “Then show up,” says Saidman Yee. “Chances are you’ll get more out of it than you thought.”
Read on for everything you need to know, whether you’re a first-timer or a regular wanting to learn more.