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Starting your yogi career: Part 2

Senior Wellness | Jun 02, 2015

Yoga is a great way to improve your mental and physical well-being. According to AARP, practicing this exercise throughout different times of your life can improve everything from your balance to your risk of hypertension.

"Yoga has a powerful effect on stress and hypertension and can help people reduce the amount of medication they need," said Amy Wheeler, yoga professor at California State University at San Bernardino, according to AARP.

When you decide to embrace the yoga lifestyle and incorporate it into your routine, you will see many of the other benefits it can offer, such as increased mental sharpness and bone strength.

Speak with your health care provider, and discuss what poses and exercises you can safely participate in to begin your journey as a yogi.

Follow these tips to help yourself adopt this beneficial exercise:

"Shop around when looking for a yoga studio. "

Tour a few studios
Oftentimes, studios allow new customers to sit in on and participate in one or two classes for free. In some instances, you can come to a class every day for an entire week at no cost. Ask about deals offered or first-timers, and consider asking if there is a discount for seniors.

While in class, keep your doctor's recommendations in mind. Do not push yourself too much. If you feel that a class is too advanced, speak with the instructor afterwards and ask if another class is offered by the studio that caters more to the needs of a beginner.

Shop around when looking for a yoga studio. You will likely want to consider the regular price, the instructor, the proximity of the studio to your home and class offerings that fit your needs and abilities.

Also, you might find some studios provide classes specifically for older adults. This may be a great option that allows you to enjoy a class with peers and know the poses are tailored specifically to your age group. For example, Yoga Alliance offers a variety of classes ranging from sessions designed for those 65 years of age and up, gentle yoga for beginners and chair yoga, which can be especially beneficial for older yogis.

"Ask a plethora of questions before signing up for a studio."

Know what you want in a teacher
Finding a quality instructor is a great way to introduce yourself to the art of yoga, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

"An instructor can observe you and help you make modifications to your poses," said Steffany Moonaz, who holds a doctorate and is an expert in yoga and arthritis.

This is especially beneficial if you will need help adjusting poses to accommodate your unique needs, such as muscle pain or poor flexibility. Additionally, being properly trained can cut down the risk of injury.

Ask a plethora of questions before signing up for a studio. Try to get to know the instructors and ensure they are aware of your needs. If you want to focus on strengthening your back or are concerned about your ability to properly do certain poses due to a recent surgery, let them know and ask if they accommodate to their students' needs. This can help impact your ultimate decision.

You may also want to ask about your teacher's previous training experience. You want to find someone who has worked with older adults and has properly been trained to instruct a yoga class.

Yoga offers a wide variety of benefits for your physical and mental health. The poses and breathing exercises can help enhance your overall well-being. Before you begin practicing yoga regularly, ensure that you find a studio and instructor that can help you as you begin learning about this art.