It is a typical misunderstanding that Yoga consists only of Asanas and you need to be very flexible to do Yoga. Yoga consists of practices to give strength to both your mind and body. You do not “need” to be flexible to do yoga, but regular yoga practice can make you flexible.
By Anandhi Venkateshan, Yoga teacher & Therapist
Published Jul 16, 2021
Yoga encompasses one’s wellbeing from within, starting with the practice of breathing.
It can be practiced by any person, regardless of their age.
As a woman, you play a key role in supporting your household and society in myriad ways. You don the roles of a daughter, student, sister, friend, wife and mother etc. throughout your life.
Did you know that there are three stages of life defined from youth to old age in the study of Yoga? Let’s learn more about them.
The Three Stages of Life
The first stage - youth or Vriddhi Krama is the stage of growth, both physically and intellectually. In this “Vriddhi” stage, you have enough energy to fulfill all the above roles.
As you enter the stage of midlife, or “Stithi” stage, as called in Yoga, all these roles can drain you physically, mentally and emotionally. As your hormones fluctuate in midlife, it can be challenging to manage these roles along with the mood swings, insomnia, lethargy, among other things.
The last stage of life, or old age, called “Laya” in Yoga, is the stage when you rest and when you enjoy the fruits of all that you have achieved in life thus far.
The Stithi krama stage, which lasts from 35 to 60 years of age, is the stage when there is no physical growth. But it is in this stage that women juggle between the multiple roles they play as young mothers, working women, home makers, entrepreneurs etc. A lot of physical and mental strength is needed to accomplish the tasks set out through these roles.
In your late 40’s you would typically deal with perimenopause and in your early 50’s you could be going through menopause. With all the physical and physiological changes your body goes through, you have to maintain good health to fulfill your “dharma”, or, your duty towards all these multiple roles you play in life, and more importantly towards "you" - your health, vitality and vigour.
Role of Yoga in the three stages
Yoga can play a key role in all these three stages of life. Let’s learn more about this.
In Vriddhi krama there is physical growth of the body, as we already learnt. During this stage, one should focus more on asanas (yogic postures) with proper breathing which aid in the strength and flexibility of the growing body. It also helps fine tune the mind, develops self confidence and provides a solid foundation for family life that comes in the next stage - the Stithi krama.
In this stage, when physical growth stops, yoga practice can include asanas and good yogic breathing that focuses on relaxation and rejuvenation of the body, and also serenity amidst familial and social responsibilities. Thus, yoga in this stage of life facilitates you to fulfill your responsibilities, maintain good health and prevent illness.
The Laya krama or the third stage is also called adhyatmika krama. The yoga practice in this stage consists primarily of intense meditation while using limited resources to the best use, as many women during this stage could have lowered physical strength. Thus, lesser asanas, some pranayama (breathing practice) and more of dhyana (meditation), is recommended for mental calmness and spiritual inclination.
Thus, all through your life yoga plays different roles and helps you stay strong, physically and emotionally.
It is a common misunderstanding that Yoga consists only of Asanas and you need to be very flexible to perform Yoga.
In fact, Yoga consists of practices to give strength to both the mind and the body. You do not “need” to be flexible to do Yoga, but regular Yoga practice can make you flexible.
Importance of Yoga during midlife
Yoga asanas along with pranayama give you a holistic experience of Yogic practice. Yoga works on both the physical as well as emotional aspects, which helps deal with life’s challenges in a calm and composed way.
Yoga aids in staying healthy, and a healthy body and mind is less likely to suffer from illnesses specific to midlife such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Further, yoga helps you stay calm, focus well and gives you a sense of fulfillment and joy through consistent practice.
Discover a world of possibilities and benefits through Yogic practice.
Register for yoga sessions with our expert Anandhi Venkateshan on the Elda Health app. Should you have any questions on the same, please do not hesitate to contact your Care Manager.