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First, please read "7 Ways to Ease Into Yoga." Then, to reap the benefits of yoga and minimize risks, find an appropriate class taught by a qualified instructor. Look for classes:
1. At a hospital wellness center or integrative medicine center. Many offer yoga for general well-being, as well as classes designed for specific groups, such as breast cancer survivors, people with heart disease or those with chronic pain.
2. Designed for "over 50s." Senior centers and yoga studios often have classes geared to older adults. Ask the teachers how long they've taught yoga, whether they have experience teaching older adults and whether they've had any special training in working with seniors or people with health problems.
3. Then check out these resources. For referrals to instructors in your area, visit the Yoga Alliance, an organization that registers yoga teachers whose training meets certain educational standards. Visit Yoga for Seniors to find a yoga teacher near you who has completed a special training designed to help yoga instructors safely adapt the practice to older adults. To find a yoga therapist in your area, visit the International Association of Yoga Therapists, a professional organization for yoga teachers and yoga therapists worldwide.
4. Try a video or book at home. Home yoga guides may not be able to compete with a terrific yoga instructor, but if you want to try practicing at home, yoga therapists Carol Krucoff and Kimberly Carson have created the DVD “Relax into Yoga for Seniors.” http://www.pranamaya.com/relax-into-yoga.html Their new book, “Relax into Yoga for Seniors: A Six Week Program for, Strength, Balance, Flexibility and Pain Relief,” includes audio practices that you can download onto your computer or smart phone, so their voices will guide you through the practices pictured in the book.
Carol Krucoff, a yoga therapist at Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, N.C., is codirector of the Integrative Yoga for Seniors Professional Training and author of several books including “Relax into Yoga for Seniors,” “Yoga Sparks: 108 Easy Practices for Stress Relief in a Minute or Less” and “Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain.”