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Yoga for Women over 40 – Stay Fit, Flexible and Full of Energy

by Helen Smeaton

I’ve been an addict for over four years, a yoga addict that is. And, I wish I had become an addict years ago, but after having tried yoga in my 30s, I honestly thought it was horrid, slow, dull…oh so dull…much worse than watching paint dry. For me, exercise had to be fun, and it had to give me a good workout, but yoga didn’t tick either of those boxes.

Hatha: A Different Type of Yoga

Then, four and a half years ago, a good friend introduced me to an amazing yoga teacher who was a Hatha yoga specialist. And, while her style of yoga was also slow, this new teacher taught me to breathe, yes…breathe. It sounds strange, but I found that proper, “deep” breathing was really, incredibly hard at first. Then, after a couple of weeks, something strange happened, and I started to breathe from deep down in my throat. And, when that happens, you can suck far more air into your lungs and get far deeper into each yoga pose.

Suddenly, a simple touch-your-toes-type stretch (called a forward bend in yoga) became a deep, energizing movement, and with ever-deepening breathing, I realized the power of yoga and its ability to stretch ligaments and muscles in a whole new way. Forget boredom; my passion was well and truly ignited.

Then I Lost My Yoga Teacher

Unfortunately, my yoga teacher decided to have a family and gave up teaching, but the fuse had been lit, so I started to self-practice yoga at home. It was the perfect fit with my mountain biking (yeah, I’m the mad woman you may have read about elsewhere on Booomerinas) because, although cycling keeps you fit and your abs nice and firm, it doesn’t work your hamstrings and hip flexor joints. But, I missed not having a weekly yoga class to inspire me and show me different stretches.

Vinyasa and Ashtanga Yoga

A year ago, I met a truly inspirational yoga teacher called Vanessa, and she introduced me to a whole new world of yoga. Her style is a mix of Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga, where you flow through each yoga pose (called an asana) generating intense heat and amazing energy.

Vinyasa Flow Yoga

yoga for older womenThe beauty of Vinyasa flow yoga is the graceful movement from pose to pose using your breath to guide you through the sequence. If you have never tried yoga, there are many classic poses like Downward Facing Dog and Chaturanga (also called plank position) which, when combined together in a Vinyasa flow, energize your whole body and, quite literally, set your muscles on fire.

I cannot believe the difference in my practice from four years ago. Back then, many classic poses like headstands scared the pants off me. I just couldn’t see how I would ever be able to balance in the middle of the room on my head.

Now, I believe anything is possible, given enough time and practice. I have learned how to listen to my body through my breath, and I now relish my weekly one-and-a-half hour class, which I mix with self-practice on most days. In between, Vanessa runs occasional workshops and a monthly, evening advanced class for yoga addicts like me.

Yoga Makes You Strong and Flexible

Even though I’m a mountain-biking jock, I’m not exactly the strongest woman out there. Jeez, even carrying a couple of shopping bags makes my arms ache. But, now I can do various arm balances like Crow and even Side Crow, where you support your whole body on just your arms, yes…really. It’s partly done through strength, but it has far more to do with technique and using your breath to focus your mind on the pose.

And, last year I set myself a goal to master a headstand in the middle of the room, without using a wall for support. What an amazing feeling it is when everything just clicks and you feel light and perfectly balanced upside down!

So, go find yourself an inspiring yoga teacher and stay fit, flexible and packed full of energy through practicing yoga. I know that I’m totally inspired every time I unroll my yoga mat. If you think you might be too old to stand on your head or even touch your toes, there are women in their 80s and 90s who stay fit and flexible through yoga.  And, you can start doing yoga at any age. Live life, live yoga…it’s the perfect exercise for women over 40.


See Helen's Book About Cyprus:

101 Things to Do in Cyprus

More Articles for Baby Boomer Women:

Daytime Cruise Wear for Women With Style

Best Cruiser Bikes for Older Women - Baby Boomers

Women's Travel Cruise Wear Online - Chicks Over 40 or 50

Best Swimsuits for Women Over 40 & 50

Are you into Yoga?  Leave a comment at the bottom of the page or give us a Google Plus.

Helen Smeaton is a self-confessed mountain bike and yoga addict and loves cooking, wine and animals rather than kids – they’re far easier to deal with! She juggles writing with running a mountain bike and walking business with her husband on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus and has several websites including an insider’s guide to Cyprus Travel Secrets. She’s also the author of several eBooks including 101 Things to Do in Cyprus.

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  1. Katrena - Like the yoga piece!

    I started teaching yoga about 4 1/2 years ago. I had never taken a yoga class before but the yoga instructor for our gym needed someone who could sub. Before I became familiar with this type of exercise, I pictured a bunch of people sitting in the dark humming...honestly. Although there are many different forms of yoga (and some are all meditation), I think many boomers have the wrong impression of this type of class. I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone...I now teach a variety of yoga classes on a regular basis and enjoy better flexibility, a stronger core, improved balance, and how to relax!

  2. M

    Hi, I will be 48 years old on August 6, 2013. I have always been a very active person in sports and exercise. Over the past few years I have let that go due to being a single Mom and working full time. I have never tried Yoga but have thought it would be great for a start to get me back into shape. I come across this article while searching Yoga over 40. Can you tell me where I can get DVD's of this style yoga.

    Thank you,

    • Tina


      I have sent an email to Helen (the author) to see what she recommends. Hopefully, she knows of something we can get in the states... or her yoga instructor may have a DVD.


      Tina Boomerina

  3. Tina


    A writer pal said you might want to start with a DVD from Lilias (Folan).