One of the best things about yoga is how easily it can be adapted to meet the needs of practically anyone willing to give it a try. But there's no one-size-fits-all yoga class, which is why it's so important to find experienced teachers who are well versed in modifying the practice to different conditions and body types. Perhaps one of the fastest growing groups of yogis is the Baby Boomer generation, which is why some teachers are beginning to offer classes tailored specifically to their needs. Last week, the New York Times Well blog interviewed well known yoga teachers who are increasingly catering to this growing demographic of yoga practitioners.
“People want to be pushed, but not in the same way they did in their 30s,” said Desiree Rumbaugh, who, at 54, leads a class aimed at fellow yogis 50 and older called Wisdom Warriors in Del Mar, California and in workshops around the country. The class, according to her website, focuses on making practice "intelligent and wise."
The above 50 crowd can definitely benefit from yoga, and their life experience can be an advantage on the mat, experts such as Loren Fishmen, MD., reported. (See Yoga Buzz for a recent report about the demand for yoga instruction for people over age 60.) But a vigorous vinyasa class might not be the best place for them to optimize those benefits. More time to warm up and an emphasis on weight bearing poses and balance postures may be particularly helpful to this age group.
If you’re interested in adapting your current home or studio class practice to meet your needs, the Yoga for Healthy Aging blog has loads of information. Its contributors are seasoned teachers such YJ.com's Doctor's Orders blogger Baxter Bell, YJ’s contributing medical editor Timothy McCall, and author and teacher Nina Zolotow. They offer advice for modifying for common medical conditions, answer questions, and offer suggestions to help keep yogis practicing well into their later years.