I didn’t discover yoga until I was fifty. One of the most wonderful things about yoga is that there is something for everyone – all ages, all disabilities, all levels of bendiness and commitment! The benefits of yoga are so numerous, this is just a brief overview:

  • There are classes (in person and online) for every possible variation of need
    • from the very unfit and stiff to the super bendy and hard core
    • seated yoga for disabled, injured and older people
    • yoga that is entirely spent lying down, entirely standing or a mix
    • yoga for pregnancy, with babies and couples yoga
    • moves that are empowering – building confidence and energy and giving us that all important dose of D.O.S.E.!
    • Yoga to calm and aid sleep, to improve focus, ease every ache and pain, and improve mood
  • I love online yoga that is prerecorded, as I don’t like being told what time to attend classes – I can’t stand the anxiety that comes with the build up to each session. I also don’t like being watched by other people and I like being comfortable in my own surroundings. But for the first two or three years I went to local classes and I did actually meet a number of likeminded people, including a number of neurodivergents, one of whom has remained a treasured friend.
  • There’s no need to pay for yoga classes. There are literally thousands of free yoga sessions on YouTube and Facebook.
  • There’s no need to buy fancy gear – anything comfortable and stretchy is fine. All you need is a yoga mat, a cushion or two and a blanket (optional). You can buy more bits and pieces if you really get into it but they aren’t essential.
  • Our dogs and cats love to join in with yoga too – which stops it getting too serious!
  • I tried so hard to get into mindfulness about 15 years ago – I did a six week course and that was really good but I absolutely hated doing it at home. All I did was sit there ruminating, perseverating, stressing about what I was doing next – it was torture! It really didn’t suit me. I love yoga because it means I’m being physically active and that keeps me focussed on what I’m doing and stops my mind from wandering off for a quick stress fix.
  • I became really flexible, really quickly and could see and feel the difference in body tone in a surprisingly short time (though this isn’t why I took up yoga – it was an accidental side effect!).

Finding yoga that suits is a very personal choice. I only like morning yoga as it sets me up for the day, some people like evening yoga, to help them wind down. Some prefer one-to-one, some to be completely anonymous. Some want their heart pumping and some just want to help with a specific pain whilst lying down.

Many of us neurodivergents experience isolation but don’t like the pressure of directly engaging with others. Yoga is a perfect solution to this if you attend group classes – either live online or in person. You have others around you but you’re all concentrating on your own thing, in silence, with no pressure at all to engage, unless you want to.

My favourite online yoga is Yoga with Adriene. She has hundreds, if not thousands, of yoga videos available, for every ache, every pain, for anxiety, for headaches, for insomnia, for energy, for focus, for runners, climbers, depression – it’s a seemingly endless list. And she’s really chilled and very lovely. There’s a reason why she’s probably the most popular online yoga teacher internationally, with nearly 13 million followers on YouTube alone.

You can pay to subscribe if you really like her stuff, but there are so many free videos of hers on YouTube and her Facebook page. So start there and see if she suits you. There are lots of different characters, and it’s important that you ‘get on’ with your yoga teacher.

Some neurodivergents really dislike yoga, for similar reasons to why I dislike mindfulness practice: boredom! If that’s the case, I’d recommend avoiding Yin yoga – as the poses are held for longer, that’s harder and it can also be pretty tedious if you are of an easily distracted disposition! If a lack of fitness is your main problem, definitely avoid power yoga, at least to start with. It is exhausting but with very quick results. It’s too much for me, unless I happen to be in one of my superfit phases.

The easiest thing to do is go to YouTube and search for Beginners’ Yoga, or click on the link to Yoga with Adriene, above. Take it from there.

Oh! The wonderful neurodivergent friend I made at yoga class is in her late seventies, by the way. She practices yoga every morning and is bendier and fitter than most women half her age, as well as being mentally super-fit and highly creative. You’re never too old to start!

Bit of an obvious point but, if you do have physical health conditions that concern you and your suitability for yoga – please do check with your GP beforehand. Yoga shouldn’t hurt. Ache a couple of days later, maybe, especially to start with or if you push yourself, but it shouldn’t involve pain – ever!

Whether you’re a fan of yoga, or if you really don’t get on with it, I’d love to hear from you so I can add your personal experiences to this post. Contact me via the Share page.