September - Yoga month


 If, like me, you're just getting back into the swing of things after a sizzling summer, then welcome back.

Apparently September is the month to celebrate all things Yoga. Sounds good to me. For those who are already hooked no introductions to the health  benefits are necessary. However, for those who need convincing, here's a brief overview.

About 18 months ago I returned to Yoga after a break of many decades. Now it seems I'm hooked and it's become one of my key health activities for this year. I urge you to make it one of yours.

Yoga is a particularly good form of exercise for older women, as it can be restorative, strengthening and help with balance, stamina and flexibility. It also enhances awareness around the importance of breathing and integrating mind/body. Earlier this year I worked on postures to help lift mood, cleanse the body and improve stamina. As an older woman, whatever your health priorities  are, there are exercises that you can adopt to suit your needs.

For those who are not yet converts let me give you a quick review of what Yoga is and how you too can benefit from it.

Yoga is an ancient  form of physical exercise which  combines postures with meditation and breathing and older women especially might benefit from the mind/body integrative approach.There are many styles; the most popular being Hatha. I do Ashtanga, which is actually quite dynamic and demanding and I'm still a little surprised that I can keep up!

So, what are the health benefits?

According to the John Hopkins School of Medicine Yoga has been shown to -

  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce the pain associated with chronic diseases
  • Eliminate headaches and insomnia
  • Increase stamina in athletes
  • Improve quality of life for some individuals with cancer 

Here  in the UK  there has been some press coverage about Yoga and healthRecently published studies, involving hundreds of patients, has demonstrated that Yoga practise can help control the joint pain, morning stiffness and depression associated with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. This in turn helps to improve physical function and quality of life.

In my experience Yoga practice somehow enables you to tap into the flow of nature which I find reassuring and empowering. Also, if done in a class setting, yoga is  a good way to get to know other like-minded people and forge meaningful friendships; great for the older woman and mental health.

If you haven't yet tried Yoga and are curious, then maybe the start of a new term is a golden opportunity to give it a go.

Here in the north east of England there are many good Yoga teachers. To sample a drop-in session Liz Watson, an Ashtanga teacher, has classes at Pinetree leisure and also on the coast. Cristal Gaskin, a Hatha teacher with a more meditative approach, has just started a 6 week programme at the Ouseburn Wellness Centre; focusing on restorative postures and nourishing breathing.

For those who are looking to combine Yoga with a bit of Mediterranean sun, then March 2015 at Es Cucons Ibiza may be for you. Yoga teachers Melanie Jane and Cindy Andries are running a Yoga retreat in a peaceful corner of rural Ibiza. Places will be limited.  So, if you're interested, you might need to act swiftly to ensure your mat at the experience. I'll be there. Can't wait!








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