Too Old/Out of Shape for Yoga? Hot Conversation

I really, really want to do yoga.  Years ago I had a video and it was a gentle introduction, and I was so happy doing it, feeling stronger and more flexible over time, but the teacher’s very strong Australian accent bothered me so much I stopped.  Tried 3 times to take classes – ended up frustrated, injured, discouraged.  I’m a bit :) overweight, stiff, bad neck, lower back, knees and one elbow.  Is there hope for me?

Posted in health & fitness.

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26 Responses

  1. Tamara Tamara says

    Absolutely! Yoga is perfect for anyone. Start with a beginner class. Most teachers will be more than happy to help you out as the class continues.

    I have absolutely no sense of balance, but I love taking the classes because I feel so relaxed afterwards.

     

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  2. lovemylife lovemylife says

    I started doing yoga 5 years ago.  Just took a “gentle” class for over 50′s.  I don’t turn myself into a pretzel, just do what I can do.  I only took one class and now do it at home every night before bed.

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  3. Generic Image Ladysmith says

    morning – you really must try to get back into it.  have been doing Yoga for 4 years now, and just love it.  i certainly don’t put myself into “pretzel” shapes – work on stretching and breathing.  you need to find somewhere that has restorative yoga, or if not go with beginner classes.  and just do what your body will allow.  it is well worth it and your body will thank you.

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  4. Generic Image teritwo says

    I have started a Hot yoga class about a month ago and absolutely love it.  I do regularly work out and do weights so I thought it would be easy but I was wrong.  It was very intense and my heart rate does increase a lot.   I do love the way it makes me feel all over.  It is great if you have a little joint pain because all that goes away with the classes.   After 1 month I am seeing a progression with all the poses and doing much better.  The first 90 min class I did I almost fainted but now it is ok.  The more I do the easier it gets.     I still do weights and treadmill work plus  now the Hot Yoga classes.  I try to do at least 3 classes a week to supplement my other activities.   You should try it especially if you have bone issues.  

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  5. Generic Image Renee5 says
    • What you need is a good yoga teacher!  If you can afford it, take a private class and get a custom practice going.
    • If that’s not an option, look for a yoga place that has a variety of classes and instructors.
    • You have the power to only do those poses to the extent you can do them, without injuring yourself.  We have a tendency to be competitive, or want to please the instructor or show the person next to us we can stretch as far as they can; but yoga is not a competitive sport!  :)
    • Look for classes that say “restorative yoga” or ones that are designed for people with back problems.  Most larger studios have them.
    • Ask the receptionist which instructor takes it slow and really takes the time to explain how to do the poses correctly and adjust them if necessary.
    • Also, there are many kinds of yoga.  Ashtanga is flowing and faster–not for someone starting out.  Iyengar is the best, I think, for someone wanting to avoid injury, as it is precise and slow, and you can use props like blocks and straps to ease into poses.  

    I had a back injury and was able to recover using yoga and walking and a good chiropractor.  It has been a wonderful part of my life.  As a teacher, I use it with my students and they enjoy it,too.  Even when my knees went out last year (from another injury), I did the poses I could do, and waited until my knees healed to do others.

    You just have to do what you can do-no one wants to be limited when they get older because they did not do what they could when they could.  You will really enjoy it if you take it slow.  

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    • Generic Image Sevres Blue says

      What a thoughtful, encouraging response!  I am definitely going for it.  Wish me well.

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    • Lynnette Lynnette says

      i cannot do yoga, i am not flexible and never will be.  I have tried it more than 10 times just to be frustrated and just leave the class.  It is the way i am made.  My friend is obese and she can easily stretch sitting down spread her legs and touch her nose to the floor.  I cannot even get to my elbow level.  My personal trainer who is in the best shape of her life cannot do yoga either and quit after about 8 classes.  I can relate.  I would love to do simple stretches and meditate.  Any suggestions?

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      • mcristohill mcristohill says

        i started yoga awhile ago..i too was not flexable, have low back problems and in my 50′s..so i learned quickly not to focus on that..my teacher asks us to do a pose 80% and the breathe 20% this has made the differenc for me .. the breathe and were your focus is..(gaze)..this will help relax your muscles and sink into a pose…hope this helps..

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      • Generic Image MaureenB says

        Lynnette, I too had trouble with yoga … my back just didn’t like it (old back injury).  Just started doing Qigong … very gentle and easy to do, no matter how inflexible you are.  There’s a good book called ‘Heal Yourself With Qigong’ by Suzanne Friedman that I first took out of the library, then bought.  I’m definitely more energized and relaxed.  The book also targets specific physical areas and conditions, as well as emotional balance.  My husband even mentioned that he wouldn’t mind trying it with me (GASP!!).  :)

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    • Generic Image max says

      I also have been giving yoga some serious consideration. I live in a rural area, and wonder where do I look for a private yoga instructor?

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    • Generic Image hilandflwr says

      Thank you Mary2, this is just what I needed to hear.  I’ve been struggling with a back injury for over 2 years, and I just recently started thinking about yoga……. I need to DO something, and I believe this is it. 

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  6. Louann Louann says

    OK – I don’t know if I can encourage you because I have enough problems with yoga but they are a little different.  I don’t do it because I get gas and I can’t bend without stopping so I don’t cut one loose, if you know what I mean.  But I think what everyone else said is pretty good but I am wondering what people do about my problem?  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

     

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    • lovemylife lovemylife says

      OH my….I aways would think of this when I took a class.  I go to a gym and do weights.  Fortunately they play loud music!  There are times…..

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    • Generic Image rachel sally says

           try drinking a couple of cups of mint tea a day  (real mint from real leaves) and get thee to an herbalist.they can do great things with gas …yeah i know what you mean…been there.search out a good accomplished accupunturist/herbalist..perhaps there is a chinese medicine school in your area?there you can proobably get an appointment for cheap if you dont have health insurance.

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  7. Stellaaa Stellaaa says

    I’ve been doing yoga on and off (more off than on) since I was  teenager.  I only ever took a class once, and discovered that pretty well all women have vaginal farts when they do headstands.  On the whole I’d rather do it alone, so I can make whatever noises my body makes without worrying.

    Browing the bookstore one day I noticed this one http://www.amazon.com/Megayoga-Megan-Garcia/dp/0756619475 , Megayoga – designed specifically for large women.  I thought it was a great idea.  One of the reasons I stopped doing yoga was that I gained weight around my belly and couldn’t bend properly without smothering (I since lost weight and am bendy again).  Might be worth a try.  Apparently Megan Garcia did a DVD a few years ago too, Just My Size Yoga, something like that.

    So there’s my suggestions, yoga specifically for your body type, done in the privacy of your own home.

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    • Generic Image Sevres Blue says

      Hey, this is great – my belly is where I carry my weight, and this really helps!  Oh, yea, the fart-y thing is interesting, too…..  I always don’t eat well before an exercise class!

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      • Generic Image Colleen Ann says

        When I took my Reiki training one of the things we were told is often the body releases negativity in various ways, farting, burping yawning, sneezing etc.  I suspect that is a lot of what happens with yoga and as Shrek ( and probably many health care providers) say better out than in.

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  8. Lucy9444 Lucy9444 says

    I use an excellant Yoga DVD made by Gaiam called AM/PM Yoga.  Rodney Ye and Patricia Walden are the instructors.  This is a very gentle yoga workout that only takes about 20 – 25 minutes.  You can check this dvd out on Amazon.  I have been using this workout for 2 years and love it.  It stretches and loosens you without killing you!  Good luck in your search….Yoga is a wonderful form of stress relief and exercise. 

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    • Generic Image Renee5 says

      The Rodney Ye series are VERY good!  I first started doing yoga with Lilias (also very good; but not around any longer)  She had a show called Lilias, Yoga and You.  Very down to earth, kind and practical.  

      I teach 4th grade and my students love doing yoga!

       

       

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      • aquablue aquablue says

        FYI:  Lilias is still alive & well & teaches yoga occassionally near where I live, you can get a Lilias, Yoga and You video on Amazon.

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  9. sunflower1912 sunflower1912 says

    Absolutely!!!! I think at this age we all have stiff everything ;-)

    Try looking for a DVD that has an AM/PM type route.  Gets you warmed up & limber without stressing you.  I have Comcast digital cable & on their On-Demand if you go to Exercise TV there’s some good routines.  

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    • Generic Image Colleen Ann says

      I came across the most fun yoga DVD in clearance sale bin.  It is Yoga in Bed. It has an am & pm routine, the poses are all done in bed with the wall or headboard and pillows as props.  I set up my living room floor with a foam and pillows as I don’t have tv & dvd in the bedroom.  I find this to be easy and a lot of fun and takes about 25 – 30 mins.

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  10. Generic Image Colleen Ann says

    My local automall sponsors events designed toward women and last night they had a yoga class.  I have been trying to do yoga at home but it is difficult to check the book or watch the dvd when I am turned away and my glasses have slipped off my face, I am also almost as round as I am tall.  I went to the yoga class and the teacher was my age or maybe a tad older and was an ordinary size for women our age and certainlly not sylph like.  The class was a mixed age, size and bendiness group but it was wonderful.  She told us up front not to over do and gently admonished those who needed it and just kept tabs in general that we weren’t hurting ourselves.  She also made a point of telling us that if we physically can’t do something say so because there is always another way to get there.  So I guess my suggestion would be to check out different places by buying a 2 week package or what ever short term yoga classes they have and try it out and see how it feels.  As for your body making noises so what we all do it and as I once heard in another class someone has to be first and it might as well be me.  LOL

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  11. Generic Image Anikay says

    yes there is hope.

     in the class I currently take there are any number of full figured women.

     in a class I took several years ago there was one  woman who looked to weigh close to 300 lbs.

     

    take a beginners class, perhaps one at a rec center

    you might even want to call or talk to the instuctor before hand and share your concerns.

    she will give you her honest advice as to her level of instruction and point you in the right direction 

    in my class there are many who are seasoned and others for whom this is their first class

     

    ITA with other poster, you just have to find the right instructor

     

    don’t give up

     

    I’ve noticed that those who practice long term have a youthful “vibrant” spirit

    that’s worth capturing isn’t it?

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  12. SassySenior SassySenior says

    I am by no definition an expert in these matters, but having read many of the responses and having felt many of the same feelings, I would like to share something I think is important to the whole Yoga experience. First, we in the Western world tend to think of Yoga as an exercise discipline. It is soooooooo much more – more akin to a religion whose main tenents are to bring the mind, body, and spirit into a common sense of place and being in the universe. The meditation and breathing exercises which should precede any body movements are part and parcel with the whole experience. In general, there are (I think) some 80 or so basic Yoga movements and the various disciplines pick and choose among them. Some are VERY easy, very calming stretching and movements which almost anybody can do. They all have names – mostly associated with their similarity of other natural movements in nature (as in the butterfly or rocking the baby). My first Yoga instructor started with the Sun Salute which I couldn’t have done when I was 18 much less now. So my advice is this: do a little research on line – most of the swami’s have videos – find an instructor who views the process as a whole – NOT JUST AN EXERCISE PROGRAM. The breathing and meditation (really just a way to quiet your mind and let your body relax before asking it to perform) are really important. No one who is studied in Yoga will treat it as an exercise or ask you or your body to do what is not comfortable – but as you do what you can from day to day, you WILL find that your body responds. I’ll check my library and send you some names that will get you started. Hope this helps. 

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    • SassySenior SassySenior says

      The granddaddy of American Yoga is probably Depak Chopra. There are many “free” assessment opportunities on his various websites and that might be a good place to start learning about the discipline as a whole.  I do Isha Yoga which is very gentle. They have week-long retreats in various cities – meet from 7 to 10 at night and most of the weekend at the end – very reasonable at about $200. If you are near one of these, it is an excellent place to start learning more about the whole rather than just the exercise. My basic routine which I do twice daily before breakfast and dinner (don’t do Yoga on a full stomach) is VERY simple and takes about 20 minutes including the breathing and quiet time. I’ll try to check on where they are currently scheduled for programs and let you know. 

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