Yoga has many benefits to the body and mind as we move through life and as we age. Whether you have devoted your life to practising yoga, you are just picking it up, or you’ve had an “it’s complicated” relationship with your practice, yoga carries a transformative power that is sure to move you. This power is always within you and your practice and may impact you differently along various stages of your life. Read on to find out about yoga’s magical powers at any and all stages in life!
Kids & Youth
For young children, the mind is at its’ peak for developing creativity. During this formative time of life, yoga can create space and opportunity for kids to explore and play. This play is necessary to foster imagination and creativity that will continue to develop with children throughout the rest of their lives.
Yoga practice can help kids to learn how to take an idea or thing, and how to translate that into their physical body. For example, many yoga poses are named after animals, and children can learn how to imitate and portray these animals through yoga practice and play.
Teens & Young Adults (high school)
Young adulthood is a period of many changes and development, especially in the physical body. For many, these dramatic changes cause confusion and self-doubt. Reaching into a more spiritual practice of yoga, the Yamas and niyamas (an ethical code of yoga) will teach us many lessons, including the practice of ahimsa, which translates to non-violence. Yogi's practice non-violence both towards others and towards themselves. Practising ahimsa cultivates compassion, care, and self-love and can improve feelings of positive self-esteem.
Aka the what-the-hell-am-I-doing-somethings. In the chaos of early adulthood and trying to figure out what your purpose and meaning in life are (does this ever end though?), yoga allows for stillness and creates moments that encourage introspective thinking. In yoga, we call this our internal drishti, or “gaze.” Yoga prompts us through asana and meditation to turn our gaze inward and work through challenges.
Yoga teaches us the power of letting go, especially of things and emotions that are not of service to you. Anger, jealousy, greed, (and many others) are like fiery coals. The longer you hold on to them, the deeper they burn into your skin. By letting go, yoga helps to put things into perspective - what matters and what doesn’t matter - especially during a stage of life where you may be managing a lot and caring for others with your job, family, kids, neighbours, friends, and the like. Yoga allows you to both take care of yourself, and nourishes you so that you can also continue to care for others.
“Everything will be okay as soon as you are okay with everything. And that’s the only time everything will be okay.” ― Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
Yoga provides many physical benefits to seniors including improved balance, (which is especially important for decreasing the risk of falls) and improved range of motion and flexibility (which is especially important for day-day functioning). These physical benefits combined can greatly improve the overall quality of life and satisfaction with life - I mean look at those big smiles!
You may find some of these descriptions to fall under a different life stage than I have listed here. These descriptions are based on my personal experiences and experiences of those who are close to me. Yoga surely has infinite more transformative powers than I have been able to put into words here. So, please comment below and share how yoga has impacted you throughout your life!
Wherever you are at in your chapter of life… whether you picked up yoga a long time ago, or you’re picking it up for the first time, yoga will impact your life. And yoga will continue to impact you're life - moment to moment, year to year, decade to decade. Because after all, yoga teaches us that we’re all beginners. There is always something new to learn, to discover, to feel, to observe. As your body, mind, breath, spirit are changing moment to moment, day to day, year to year, decade to decade, practising yoga is a humbling reminder that we’re all beginners. SO grab your mat, find some space, breathe in and out, and welcome yoga into your life, no matter what page you are turning.