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The benefits of yoga

Improved mobility, agility, balance, strength and mental clarity are just some of the benefits of yoga.

While certified Iyengar Yoga instructor Traci Skuce said it’s better to start yoga at a younger age, starting at an older age shouldn’t be intimidating.

She should know, since she teaches classes for seniors at the Filberg Centre regularly.

She uses pose modifications regularly so people with trouble spots can do easier versions, and she said inflexibility is the norm in her classes.

“People apologize for not being flexible and really the majority of my students are not very flexible,” said Skuce. “I don’t teach in a way of trying to get your foot behind your head, but more just keeping blood flow, keeping the joints happy.”

However, she said some people are surprised when they first take a class because yoga involves more than simply stretching and participants do “work.”

“They might think that they just flop around, (laughs), but they don’t; they’re working,” explained Skuce, adding that many yoga forms are a combination of stretching and “work,” but they have differing levels of relaxation.

“There are yoga classes that are a different pace, so for example, I do a healthy bones class, which is quite toned down, quite gentle.”

Improving alignment and strength while moving with a sense of awareness of the body is an important aspect of yoga, according to Skuce. And feeling a greater connection between the body and mind is another benefit of yoga that may not be as prevalent in other forms of exercise.

“We live in our heads, or we work our bodies out, but we don’t sort of bring our mind into the body,” said Skuce. “That’s what’s so great about yoga, and it’s done just through the cues and so on of the practice and the teaching.”

For more information on upcoming yoga classes for seniors, call the Filberg Centre at 250-338-1000 or the Lewis Centre at 250-338-5371, or check out a local recreation guide.

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