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Yoga Throughout A Lifetime: From Toddler to Senior by Nancy Mahon

As we explore how a yoga practice influences each stage of your life, one element is clear—yoga can improve life at any age.

In the Womb

An expecting mother who practices yoga will invoke a sense of calm in the womb through breath work and gentle stretches, giving her baby a sense of security and ease. The practice of yoga is an opportunity not only for the new mother to prepare herself for the birth but also to allow her child a nurturing environment prior to birth.

As a Toddler

Yoga can be used as a bonding measure between parents and toddlers. Some benefits of yoga for toddlers include longer and better sleep and a strengthened immune system. The physical introduction of yoga is a way to encourage the neuromuscular development of the child.

The Teen Years

As teens practice yoga, they will move from the physical to a more conscious practice as they are introduced to changes in their bodies and self-acceptance. They can then move on to the acceptance of others and the value of celebrating difference without judgment. Yoga can be a crucial support system for teens who face challenges in school and stress in their social environment. Yoga can help them begin to develop their own positive responses to situations.

As an Adult

As an adult, we can continue to condition and reap the benefits of yoga, including skeletal, repository and pulmonary well-being. By staying strong, the endocrine system can remain balanced and the immune and digestive track can be healthy. Yoga is an extremely effective form of preventative medicine. Through regular practice the sympathetic nervous system is kept in check which results in healthy reproductive and metabolic systems. The body will look strong and supple but beyond the physical attributes, the organs are receiving great benefit through the practice of yoga. This may be the fountain of youth right inside your own body.

For overall health, it is important to take care of the entire body, including the lungs, blood, organs and glandular system. Additionally, we can support our emotional well-being with a regular practice including guided breath work and meditation. This will prepare us for anything that life throws our way. Through consistent yoga we can maintain an honest and compassionate look at our own life and be confident in our inner voice. This is how individuals are able to make choices that are best suited to them rather than be influenced by advertising, fads or outside pressures. Yoga can help us achieve all of this.

The Senior Years

As seniors, we have developed an acceptance for change because we have lived long enough to experience it ourselves. Now our yoga practice keeps us safe and social. Taking a yoga class twice a week or more will allow the body to remain supple and strong while also maintaining our ability to balance and support our frame. This is key for independence.

The body awareness we gain also is an excellent reason to continue along the yogic path. Through classes we experience how all the parts of our body are working together. Breath work and meditation begin as a physical conduit and then enter into an awareness of consciousness and spiritually as we connect with ourselves and the divine. We understand that we are in fact infinite, immortal and whole.

Regardless of when you start or return to your yoga practice, the time is right as you have chosen it for yourself.

Nancy Mahon is a yoga therapist and the founder of Sanctuary Yoga Studios located at 132 Park Avenue in New City. The studio offers yoga classes for all ages and levels, meditation workshops, yoga teacher trainings and more. For more information, call 548-1090 or visit SanctuaryYogaStudios.com.

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