Recently I was asked to run a short session at a local women’s group (Merched y Wawr, lit. Women of the dawn) meeting. The women range from 40s up to 80s, with most of them over 60. I knew we’d be in a small-ish room, and that nearly all of them had never done yoga before. I wanted to do some simple seated stretches that would begin to mobilise their joints and which would start to loosen off areas that tend to be tight or stiff. And I also wanted to do quite a bit of it in a chair so that the older ones would still be able to take part. I didn’t want to put them off yoga by doing complicated things, but neither did I want it to be bland and not challenging.
After a little talk about what yoga is, we got going. They all took part, and were brilliant! There were quite a few giggles, not least as the session was in Welsh and my Welsh isn’t the best, especially not my vocab of parts of the body! I also prepared a handout with some of what we’d done so that they could take it away and maybe practise at home. Feedback after the session was really positive and they all enjoyed it.
If you want to take a look at the handout it’s here – it’s ideal for beginners, older people, very stiff people, or as a gentle set of stretches for a daily routine. You can download it for free from the link.
To blow my own trumpet, here’s some of the feedback: “…roedd hi’n dweud pa mor ffab oedd pawb yn meddwl oedd y sesiwn ioga wnes ti – felly rwy’n credu bod pawb, fel fi, wedi meddwl bod y sesiwn yn llawn o’r ‘wowerger!’ ffactor.” (Trans: “she said how fab everyone thought the yoga session was, therefore I think everyone, like me, thought the session was full of the ‘wow’ factor.” And special thanks from me to Elin for asking me to do a session with the group.
If you’re looking for a yoga book for older people, I would recommend ‘Keep moving, keep young’ by Margaret Graham or even ‘Office yoga’ by Julie Friedeberger. Both are quite old books now but you may be able to pick them up second hand.