Teaching Yoga For People at Midlife or Older

Yoga for people at midlife or olderBy Sangeetha Saran

Where is the Yoga for people at midlife or older? Yoga students vary in shapes, sizes, and ages. Each age group presents its own set of limitations and strengths. Teaching Yoga students over the age of 50 is going to be a little different than teaching teenagers. As we age our bodies’ change, joints can stiffen, muscles can grow weaker and bones can become more brittle. However, that doesn’t mean that all physical activity should stop. It just means that certain modifications may have to be made. The use of props to aid in certain poses may be needed at times. There will also be students over the age of 50 who will surprise you with their strength, flexibility, determination and good character.


It is rewarding as a teacher to work with so many students who give 100% all the time. Students over the age of 50 might be prone to certain issues such as arthritis. It can cause pain and affect flexibility. However, Yogic techniques can help with the associated issues that arthritis can cause. It can help to decrease pain while improving range of motion. The important thing to realize is that change doesn’t happen overnight, but it most cases, it does happen. Many people in their 50s and beyond enjoy Yoga training because it is a low impact yet effective form of exercise. It doesn’t add to the wear and tear on the body that other types of physical activity can cause, it can help to restore it.


Some people may not recognize the benefits of Yoga until later in life. They often turn to Yogic exercises after an ailment, injury, or maybe they realize that they need to start living a healthier lifestyle. Whatever the reasoning is, it is important to make asana practice as accessible or as challenging as the students need it to be. Some students will sail right through certain poses but may have trouble with poses involving balance. Offering guidance through compassionate advice and gentle positioning may mean the world to your students. Yoga for people at midlife or older is more than throwing a chair at them or telling them to go into Child’s Pose if they have and difficulty.


We hear the buzz word “accessibility,” but what action do teachers take to encourage students of all ages? We need to take action and welcome students who are not young adults anymore.  Getting regular exercise benefits everyone, no matter what age group they are in. Doing Yoga a few times a week (or even every day if possible) can help a person to get more in tune with his or her body. It can help to enhance relaxation while decreasing pain levels. Practicing Yogic techniques and eating a healthy diet are two ways to enhance health, and that benefits people of any age. Yoga for people at midlife or older can be a life enhancing experience.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Special Discounts and New Products.

To see our selection of Yoga teacher training and continuing education courses for specialized Yoga certification, please visit the following link.



Related Resources:

YOGA Anatomy Second Edition

by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews


52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice

by Rina Jakubowicz.


A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance

by: Gail Boorstein Grossman.


by B.K.S. Iyengar

TEACHING YOGA: Essential Foundations and Techniques

By Mark Stephens

Vergeer I, Bennie JA, Charity MJ et al. . Participation trends in holistic movement practices: a 10-year comparison of yoga/ Pilates and t’ai chi/qigong use among a national sample of 195,926 Australians. BMC Complement Altern Med 2017; 17: 296.

Youkhana S, Dean CM, Wolff M, Sherrington C, Tiedemann A. Yoga-based exercise improves balance and mobility in people aged 60 and over: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Age Ageing 2016; 45: 21–9.

World Health Organization. Multisectoral action for a life course approach to healthy ageing: draft global strategy and plan of action on ageing and health. 2016.

Hallal PC, Andersen LB, Bull FC, Guthold R, Haskell W, Ekelund U. Global physical activity levels: surveillance progress, pitfalls, and prospects. Lancet 2012; 380: 247–57.

Tennant R, Hiller L, Fishwick R et al. . The Warwick-Edinburgh mental well-being scale (WEMWBS): development and UK validation. Health Qual life Outcomes 2007; 5: 63.

Steptoe A, Deaton A, Stone AA. Subjective wellbeing, health and ageing. Lancet 2014; 385: 640–8.

Lampinen P, Heikkinen R-L, Kauppinen M, Heikkinen E. Activity as a predictor of mental well-being among older adults. Aging Mental Health 2006; 10: 454–66.

Chen KM, Chen MH, Chao HC, Hung HM, Lin HS, Li CH. Sleep quality, depression state, and health status of older adults after silver yoga exercises: cluster randomized trial. Int J Nurs Stud 2009; 46: 154–63.

Cheung C, Wyman JF, Resnick B, Savik K. Yoga for managing knee osteoarthritis in older women: a pilot randomized controlled trial. BMC Complement Altern Med 2014; 14: 160.

Cheung C, Wyman JF, Bronas U, McCarthy T, Rudser K, Mathiason MA. Managing knee osteoarthritis with yoga or aerobic/strengthening exercise programs in older adults: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Rheumatol Int 2017; 37: 389–98.

Hariprasad VR, Sivakumar PT, Koparde V et al. . Effects of yoga intervention on sleep and quality-of-life in elderly: a randomized controlled trial. Indian J Psychiatry 2013; 55: S364–368.

Noradechanunt C, Worsley A, Groeller H. Thai Yoga improves physical function and well-being in older adults: a randomised controlled trial. J Sci Med Sport 2017; 20: 494–501.

Oken BS, Zajdel D, Kishiyama S et al. . Randomized, controlled, six-month trial of yoga in healthy seniors: effects on cognition and quality of life. Altern Ther Health Med 2006; 12: 40–7.

Teut M, Knilli J, Daus D, Roll S, Witt CM. Qigong or yoga versus no intervention in older adults with chronic low back pain-a randomized controlled trial. J Pain 2016; 17: 796–805.

Tiedemann A, O’Rourke S, Sherrington C. Is a yoga-based program with potential to decrease falls perceived to be acceptable to community-dwelling people aged 60+? Public Health Res Pract 2018. Epub ahead of print 16.2.18

3 thoughts on “Teaching Yoga For People at Midlife or Older”

Leave a Comment

Your Cart