In my opinion, Baby Boomers are a seriously under-served population when it comes to yoga. Because I work predominantly with this population, I have heard over and over how challenging it is to find classes and studios that suit this group as they mature into their sixties and seventies. In my private yoga business and as a Director for Inner Power Yoga, it is a major priority to reach baby boomers and spread awareness of how essential yoga is for this generation, but also why that is beneficial for those generations beneath them. So here is a little shout out to my favorite group of clients and how and why I reach them!
First of all, let’s start with some respect! As baby-boomers age, we have a responsibility to reach the “young old” before they are sick. The large population of active seniors presents an incredible opportunity! They are the grandparents who want to vacation and play with their families, socialize with their peers, grow spiritually and intellectually. Constantly being told they need these elements to avoid alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, and depression, I believe they just need the tools. This generation is paving the way for what it means to work hard and play hard—they have seen more technological changes in their time than any generation will ever see again, and have stepped up. Facebook has more baby boomers now than any other generation currently using their platform!
This is a social, awake group of people who want to contribute and remain useful. Even after retirement, they are working in their communities and continuing education, taking every opportunity to remain vital and inspired. As well, they want to feel vibrantly ALIVE and accept their age with grace and pride. They are whom we need to embrace and energize because we desperately NEED this population. We need them to continue working if they can, to care for our children so that we can work! We need them to be healthy enough to teach and work with the truly old—those bound to wheelchairs and beds through age or disease. I have worked in so many nursing homes, and those who are 80 and older respectfully look to those in their 60’s for care and interaction. So let’s teach them! Let’s target classes and workshops and trainings specifically to this group! I can tell you from experience, my baby boomers are my most dedicated group of students. They love researching, improving, and practicing the homework I give them! They see the changes in their bodies and how they operate in the world and they want to tell all their friends! And oh how they teach me.
We know yoga is good for any ageing body: to digest stress, retain muscle strength and bone density, prevent rigidity, and support healthy organ systems. So, in addition to looking to yoga for the movement aspect to facilitate mobility, strength, and vitality, we at IPY also look to baby boomers to continue learning and set a supreme example of healthy, embodied ageing. We encourage our ageing students to join our education programs and trainings. Whether or not the goal is to be a teacher, our older students completely embrace and live the teachings. Because our style is very whole, all asana is about accessibility and benefit to all populations. We show modifications that are empowering, and enable those with more limited ranges of motion to still cultivate a strong practice. Everyone wants to feel strong in their body! To bend over and pick things up, rake the lawn, pick up grandkids, move furniture! Not all baby boomers want to go to a restorative class, many flow classes move too quickly and don’t offer props. This generation needs some support and tools, but they still want a challenging asana practice. They aren’t afraid to sweat or be sore—and they are wise in their ability to just push themselves far enough. It’s a beautiful thing! Because they are already compromising for their changing bodies in every way, they naturally embody a surrender toward balance and ease.
My baby boomer (and older) teachers are so inspiring and those younger, Gen X to Millennial all look up to them for their settled wisdom. But to those in this population who have never tried yoga, it can be intimidating and inaccessible. We need to reach out and tell them—COME TO YOGA!! Become teachers and teach your peers! I am here to say YOGA IS HERE FOR YOU, Baby Boomers! Imagine if all grandparents were teaching their kids and grandkids what we teach them in yoga: how to breathe and find peace and meet personal needs and stay kind; to love and respect their bodies, prevent injury and illness, to eat well, manage stress, cultivate joy and peace. That would be a wave of karmic contribution that would never end.