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How to Find a Yoga Class for People Over 40

Yoga Class - Yoga After Forty

Are you over 40, looking for a yoga class and don’t know where to begin?  There’s a lot of information about yoga on the Internet.  What does it all mean?  Each yoga studio offers something different.  I call it yoga with a twist.   This post will help you find a yoga class that’s right for you.

Am I Tool Old to Practice Yoga?

You might be over 40, in great shape and enjoy working out.  You could also be out of shape or recovering from surgery.  Don’t let age determine if you practice.

I’ve been in yoga classes with people of all ages, including in their 70’s.  I’ve seen mature practitioners move into poses that younger students can’t do.  I’ve also seen mature students modify their practice to accommodate their range of motion.  They practice to their level.  They listen to their bodies.  You can do the same.

If you are on the fence, please read “How to Handle Stress at Work with Yoga After 40”.  This post tells you what yoga is and how it can help you.  It will give you tips on how to start a yoga practice.

Let’s assume you are ready and excited to begin your yoga journey.  Below is basic advice on how to find a yoga class.   It applies to people of all ages but has extra tips for people over 40.

Yoga Might be Under Your Nose

If you belong to a gym, check to see if they offer classes.  If they do, try as many yoga classes as you can.  This will give you a good taste of yoga. Taking classes at a gym isn’t the same as going to a yoga studio.  Yoga studios have a spa like quality to them.  The vibe in a gym isn’t the same but it’s a good starting place.

Location, Location, Location!

Yoga in the MountainsLike buying a home, class location matters.  Do a search on Google for “yoga classes near me”.  Include your city and state or zip code.  See which studios are closest to you and focus on those.

If you can’t find any near you, don’t worry.  I describe other options at the end of this post.

Go Shopping

Let’s assume you have a list of 3 or 4 yoga studios near you.  Visit and explore their websites.  Some yoga studios will teach one form of yoga.  Other studios offer many classes in many styles.  Look at what they offer.  Ask yourself if you want to support them.

So Many Choices!

Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Class - Photo by Peach House ProductionsBelow are some popular types of Hatha yoga classes in 3 groups.  In the first group, “Same Poses”, you do the same postures in each class.  Once you can do all the postures, you move on to the next series of postures.  This can take months, years or decades.

The second group is “Fast Free Form”.  These classes are free style.  The poses may vary in each class.  The movements are fast and connected with the breadth.

The third group is “Slow Free Form”.  These classes are free style.  The poses vary but they are slow.  In these classes you hold the poses for long time.

  • Same Poses:
    • Ashtanga Yoga”: Ashtanga connects breadth with movement.  The first series (or class) of postures is “Primary Series”.  There are 6 series in total, with each series building on the other.  If you are athletic, Ashtanga is a great practice for you.   A Mysore class is good for older practitioners who need help modifying poses.
    • Bikram Yoga”: In this form of yoga, the room is heated to 105 degrees.  Each class has the same set of 26 postures.  If you like heat and sweating, this class is for you!  Bikram Yoga is great for losing weight and increasing flexibility.  This can be intense if you have never practiced yoga before and are over 40.  You might want to hold off trying this until you have tried some other classes.
  • Fast Free Form:
    • Vinyasa Yoga”, “Power Yoga”: These forms of yoga connect breadth with movement.  But the classes are free flowing.  The poses vary and may be different each class.  If you like variety and free form these classes are for you.
    • “Hot Yoga”: Hot Yoga is a knock-off of Bikram classes.  The heat and poses vary by class and teacher.
  • Slow Free Form:
    • “Hatha Yoga”: This is a slower version of Vinyasa Yoga.  You hold the poses for a long time.  If you like a slow practice, Hatha is for you.
    • “Restorative” and “Yin Yoga”: These types of classes don’t offer a lot of movement.  In Restorative, you use a lot of props such as bolsters or blocks.  In both classes, you hold the poses for three to ten minutes.  This helps lengthen connective tissue.  If you want to relax and get flexible, these classes are good for you.   If you are not used to movement, these might be a good starting place.

In the list above, you will find a range of beginner and advanced classes.  For example, you might see a Vinyasa Yoga class with levels 1-3.  If you are a new to yoga, you want to try level 1.  Don’t attend a level 3 class!

If you have any medical conditions, make sure you check with your doctor before starting.

Yoga with a Twist

Paddle Board YogaThe above list should be a lot longer!  Yoga studios offer classes in many different forms and styles.  New classes are created on a regular basis.  “Aerial Yoga” and “Circus Yoga” are becoming popular. I wouldn’t advise anyone to take them who is new to yoga.  But you could branch out  on vacation and, for example, take “Paddle Yoga”.

There are classes named after teachers like “Iyengar Yoga”.  You will see classes for types of people like “Yoga for Runners”.  Look at class details to find the right one for you.

Read the Teacher Bios

You might want a yoga teacher with a specific skill set.  For example, one of my favorite local yoga teachers is a doctor.  She knows how the body works and how to talk with students.  Another yoga teacher I like is a massage therapist.  Both teachers have skills that go beyond the norm.

Make it Easy

Pick times that work for you.  Some yoga classes last an hour.  Others can last an hour and a half.  For Hot Yoga, you may need time for cooling down or showering.  Make sure your yoga classes fit into your schedule.  That way you keep going back.

Feeling Groovy

How do you feel after class?  Do you feel relaxed and calm?  Do you feel agitated because the teacher played music? Would you prefer a class without music?  Was the class too fast for you?  Was it too slow?  Do you have a medical condition and need a certain type of class?  Keep trying classes until you find a class that works for you.

Make New Friends and Get in Shape

Practicing in a group makes you work harder.  It forces you to keep a pace with the rest of the group.  In other words, you can’t be lazy.  It’s a great way to make friends.  Your teacher acts as a guide on your journey towards health.  Receiving a hands-on adjustment from a good teacher feels great!

Yoga at Home

Maybe you are not able to practice at a yoga studio.  In this case, you can practice at home through on-line classes, DVDs or CDs.  Practicing at home has benefits.  You don’t have to worry about traffic or how you look. You learn to practice at any time and any place.  This is useful for traveling.  To learn how to practice at home, see my next post called, “Find a Free Yoga Class Online – A Basic Overview”.

I hope this helps you find a great yoga class!  Please leave any questions or comments you have below.

Happy yoga practice!  Thank you for reading this.

Nora

 

 

Nora

4 Comments

  1. Wow, I never thought of how much the location of a yoga studio would have on my session. I guess that, if you practice with a beautiful view of the ocean, the workout will be much different than one at a studio downtown. That is really important.

    I do have a question though. I enjoyed your section on teacher’s bios, but I would like to learn more. When examining a bio, what is the number one consideration you make? I look forward to hearing your answer. You could probably write a whole post about just looking at teacher’s bios.

    Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!

    • Hi Alex
      Thank you for your comment! Yes, location matters! I was at a conference in Palm Springs, CA that had a beautiful view of the desert. I got up early and practiced outside while the sun rose. It was a great way to start my day.

      That’s a good question. Thanks for a new post idea! The main thing I look for is their level of certified training hours (200-500) and the teachers they have studied with. Also, since my main practice is Ashtanga Yoga, I like to see if they are a certified by the Ashtanga Institute in Mysore, India.

      Another thing I look for is if they have other skills like massage therapy or energy work. This makes me feel comfortable with them giving me adjustments.

      Hope that helps. Have a great day!
      Nora

  2. Hi Nora,
    I love your site about yoga,I’m definitely after 40, even after 60. Is it too late for me to start yoga?Don’t suppose I’ll ever be able to do yoga with a twist,? great site
    Regards
    Fintan

    • Hi Fintan,

      Thank you for the feedback! You are definitely not too old! Many people come to my yoga class who are over 60. You would just need to start slow and modify so that you don’t do anything to hurt yourself. Anything is possible even yoga with a twist – or half-twist 🙂

      The main thing is that you will feel better, regardless of how far you take it. So I say go for it!
      Nora

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