The Benefits of Yoga through Midlife and Beyond

By Larry Payne, Georg Feuerstein, Sherri Baptiste, Doug Swenson, Stephan Bodian, LaReine Chabut, Therese Iknoian

If you’re on the senior side of the life curve and you’re considering taking up yoga, you’re not alone. A 2012 Yoga Journal study reported that approximately a third of the 20.4 million adults in America who practice yoga are older than age 45.

Midlife, as the word suggests, refers to the middle of life. It’s not, as some people think, “The End,” but rather a new beginning. Yoga helps you navigate the physical and emotional changes associated with midlife and allows you to age gracefully, healthfully, and actively. Consider these benefits:

  • Working through menopause: Regular yoga practice can help alleviate the physiological side effects of menopause and help you cultivate a forgiving, accepting, and positive attitude important for your emotional well-being. Inversions, which have a profound effect on the glands and inner organs and (both literally and figuratively) allow you to view things from a new perspective, are especially helpful. For soothing rest and whole-person recovery, cultivate the corpse posture.

  • Navigating andropause: Men experience something similar to menopause called andropause. When they see their vitality and hairline recede a little, men are often thrown into an existential crisis. Regular yoga practice can buffer the unpleasant physiological side effects of andropause and stabilize the emotions triggered during this period.

  • Promoting bone health: With regular exercise, you can prevent the bone loss (osteoporosis) associated with midlife and old age.