Yoga: it's never too late to reap the benefits

Looking at the famous photographs of BKS Iyengar - the grey-haired, bendy-bodied yoga guru (born, so we're told, in 1918) – might have one of two effects. First, to inspire awe at how this form of physical exercise, popularised in the west in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, can keep an individual strong and flexible, never mind at fortysomething but nudging towards a century old.
Those who can't even touch their toes, however, may equally take one look and despair. Because at 80-plus, Iyengar (who's still going strong) is still effortlessly touching his toes - not by bending forwards, but backwards, like a scarily supple Cirque de Soleil act.
It's unlikely, of course, that anyone who embraces yoga in mid-life is ever going to be able to pipe-cleaner themselves into Iyengar-esque backbends. But there is certainly evidence that yoga can help fight all manner of challenges that ageing bodies (not to mention minds) face: loss of bone density, stiffness, hardening of the arteries, hormonal fluctuations, mild depression ... If yoga's starting to sound like a universal panacea – well, there are plenty of yoga teachers who'd argue it is indeed just that.

Source  - Guardian

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