The Age Old Answer
This question came up recently on LinkedIn. This person said they were 32 years old, and of course I said ‘no’. But the answer would’ve been ‘no’ if this person was also 92.
There is no “right” age to begin yoga. I started doing yoga in my late 20s nearly 20 years ago. Since then, I stopped and started a handful of times, taking classes at different studios.
The Honest Answer
The biggest difference between yoga and other movement forms is that yoga is accessible for everyone. This is regardless of body shape and bone structure. Yoga also is as easy as you want it to be or as hard as you want it to be. This all depends on the class, the instructor, and the student.
Practicing yoga and doing so consistently has many benefits. This include increasing flexibility, toning muscles, and injury prevention. For beginners, a good starting place is online or a community center. The latter will offer a more affordable experience.
In my beginners classes this year, I’ve had students range from their early 20s to their 60s. Age doesn’t correlate with the ability to go deeper into a pose. But what does is how much one moves their body on a regular basis. Therefore, every body – regardless of age – looks different doing the same poses. My students vary in terms of how much movement they’ve done in the past. But more importantly, they are making the effort, learning how poses feel in their bodies, and challenging themselves. It’s been inspiring to see how this group of students of all body types progress in their practice and it’s been a joy to teach them.
However, I also had beginners who perhaps thought yoga would be “easy”. They felt frustrated when they couldn’t do a pose. Generally, these individuals – regardless of age and body type – never return for a second class. My sense about such individuals is were hoping for a “quick fix” to resolve whatever challenges – be it physical or psychological – they were facing. The reality is yoga will be difficult if you’re going into it not moving your body much to begin with. But like all things in life, it’s about the journey and not the end result.
Whenever I came back to yoga after periods of time away from it, it was hard for me. But over time, the hard stuff became easier – even effortless – because I was consistently practicing. That resulted in feeling better in my body. And regardless of body type, consistent practice at any age will ultimately lead to feeling better physically and mentally.