Is it too late for me to start Yoga or Pilates? I asked myself this question many times when I would search through the internet, trying to gain a better understanding of it all, up popped hundreds of images of well toned young looking women (and men) effortlessly striking a pose fit for a beautiful warrior. Could my body (along with my bad back and in my thirties) really do this? I had an image in my mind of me toppling over in every attempt to balance and then getting stuck like a bad game of twister whilst trying to do the more complex poses.
Nevertheles, our of pure desperation (due to my bad back - caused by hours of sitting in-front if my laptop working from home). I spoke to my physiotherapist and asked if it would be ok for me to join the Yoga and Pilates fusion class at my Health Club. He didn't seem to see a problem with it (as my home physio was coming along nicely) but he advised me to take it easy and to speak to the instructor beforehand to discuss any injuries and back concerns. The instructor was confident I would be ok to start but I was advised to "only go as far as your body is comfortable". I was relieved to hear this, so I signed up to the yoga and pilates fusion class and now a few months down the line ...I am hooked! My body has never felt better!
I went along to my first class feeling a little nervous but once I was there, before I knew it, I was in a (semi) downward dog and posing like a warrior. The class was a mix of men and women of all ages (mainly women) and due to social distancing rules it was well spaced out and felt very personal and uncrowded. I followed the instructions and only pushed my body as much as I was comfortable with. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a lot of the poses carried out in the class were exercises I was given to do at home by my physio therapist... such as my favourite go to back stretch - The cat and cow pose. I always find this pose helps me when my back is feeling a little stiff. I was happy to see that I was familiar with a few of the other poses too. By the end of the session, I really did feel a lot more stronger and relaxed, both mind and body. sometimes it’s more than a body workout, it’s the feeling of slowing down your mind and caring for your mental health too. I felt energised and like a new person. I started off doing the class every other day and then moved onto every day (But you must find what works for your body).
I am no professional so please do consult your physiotherapist and Yoga or pilates instructor before you begin. It is important to discuss any health conditions or injuries you have with them so that they can best advise you. I am still a beginner and still unable to fully achieve some of the harder poses but each session I find my body is able to do more.
There is of course a slight difference between Yoga and Pilates (which I will write another piece on) but here are a few useful poses to get you started.
Again...please consult your physiotherapist or Yoga / Pilates instructor before performing any of these poses.
The Child Pose
The child pose feels great for when my back needs a real stretch. I also use it as an indicator of how stiff my back is and how my body is feeling overall. I sometimes do this stretch in between other poses to realign.
Cat and Cow pose
I Love this pose as it is so easy to do and does have an immediate impact on my back - don't forget to practice your breathing.
Downward facing dog
I Still find this pose a little hard when I have to stay in the pose for longer than a breathe or two (it looks easier than it is). I tend to bend my knees slightly but I am slowly reaching the perfect triangle. I find this pose to really challenge my upper body - but it does give you a great all over body stretch if done right.
Another one I did in my physio classes already. This pose really helps me straighten and stretch my back and strengthen my upper body and core. It’s also gives my stuff back a strange sense of relie.
There are many different Warrior poses but I really find relief and relaxation from this one
Strong, easy and very warrior like!
Obviously I do not look as Elegant as the picture below when doing this (though in my mind I do) . This is a slightly harder pose to do and I would recommend it once you are confident enough and have supervision / have discussed this with your instructor. Again - only go as far as your body will allow you to.
Another simple pose and another one I did in my physio sessions. I felt like it really stretched my back and whole body. If done correctly with the right breathing technique it is also very relaxing.
So no .....It is never too late to get into Yoga / Pilates. Speak to your physiotherapist/ Yoga or Pilates instructor and if it is right for you, why not give it a go.
Why not share some of your favourite poses - get in touch via our contact us page.
Let’s get strong - Mind and Body!