As a yoga participant, you understand that yoga does not stay still. Few forms of self-care and self-improvement are quite as fluid as yoga. Throughout the years, you will find that you go through different life stages of yoga. These additional phases can play a big role in helping you understand how you can practice yoga.
Of course, when you are in your latter years of life, it is unlikely that you will have the same physical mobility as you did when you were younger. As such, the yoga practices that you carry out might become less physically intensive but more mentally empowering. There is, though, yoga for different life stages.
These three stages are very important to understand if you want to ensure that you can continue to use yoga to your benefit as life goes on. What, then, are the four life stages of yoga in the traditional sense? Let’s look at each life phase so you can understand the impact it can have on your long-term well-being.
The Four Phases Of Yoga Throughout Life
Brahmacharya – The Student Phase
The first and arguably most important yoga phase is the ‘student phase.’ This is arguably the first yoga phase for many people, especially when paying close attention to the Ashrama of yoga. This is generally a phase where, alongside challenging ourselves with new yoga techniques, we take the time to look closely at ourselves.
This phase of your yoga experience should be built around trying to help you become more focused on understanding key elements of human life: compassion, respect, and trust. During this early phase of your yoga life, you will likely find that much of your study about yoga comes down to helping you better understand yoga itself.
During this phase of your yoga education, you will constantly enlighten yourself on practices in yoga and how to behave as a human being in general. During this phase, we have the free time and the physical ability to really become engrained in what yoga is all about. Look at other forms of yoga; be creative, do not close yourself off to any form of practice whether it be an ascetic practice or other forms of self-development. In this phase of your yoga education, focus on the fact you are building a lifelong passion and commitment towards learning.
Grihastha – The House Holder
This phase is quite different because it is often a time in life when we become more aware of our responsibilities in day-to-day life. Our biggest challenge is finding the time to make our yoga practices as beneficial as possible. At this phase in life, you likely have a house, a family, and a career to deal with: finding time for yoga becomes more challenging, but it is an essential part of your journey.
Our advice would be to make sure that you try and become more creative in your approach to yoga. You are more likely to find the time for yoga if it still feels innovative. So, going outside the strictness of a series of yoga moves is very important. At this time in your life, you might feel it is important to start focusing on elements such as making your yoga practice more fruitful to benefit your well-being.
If we continue to do what we did during the student phase, we might lose motivation. Instead, at this phase in life, we become more creative with our time and energy. While practicing new forms of yoga that go outside the traditional norm, focus on other factors that matter to you. For example, many people at this phase of life try to be more compromising with their thoughts and opinions.
Vanaprastha – The Forest Dweller
As we age, we eventually reach the third phase of yoga. This is often a phase of life where we become more secluded from the world, both physically and mentally. However, learning the benefit of simply enjoying your own company is a unique and gratifying feeling.
At this phase, you should start to find that you hold yoga poses for longer. You might take the yoga practice a little slower, but you are more deliberate in ensuring the form is near-perfect. Take the practice extremely seriously, as this is when you need to become more comfortable in your skin.
You are now more than experienced enough to take yoga in your route. Make the practice feel more individual to you; avoid always strictly following the teachings given. You have been doing yoga long enough by this phase in life to have the self-belief that you can create your process. Consider what interests and inspires you in yoga at this point in your life: how can you make that the primary focus and learning of your experience?
Sannyasin – The Renunciation
At this phase in your yoga life, you are at a stage in life where you are hopefully very comfortable with the life that you have led. At this phase, you should practice yoga because it makes you feel good and because you understand the benefits that it brings enough to practice for the joy of practicing.
You will find that your practice is so ingrained in your life by this phase that you do not have to be too ‘out there’ or creative with your yoga practices. Focus on being more thankful that you can still participate in yoga practices at this age. During your practices, enjoy the silence and the serenity that comes with yoga practice. Focus on the subtleness of the techniques you employ, and make sure that you take the breathing element more seriously than ever; at this phase in life, you want to be using your yoga practice to help you communicate with the world outside the material.
Regular yoga practice at this time of your life is about melting away the fears of everything from the future for your family to your mortality. By this point, you should have enough experience to know the benefits of yoga – it has been a part of your life for decades by this point!
Find The Yoga Method That Is Right For You
Of course, changing the yoga style that you participate in across the years is not easy. It can be tough to find the style that feels more applicable to who you are. If you want help and support in making the right changes, speak to our experts at Quintessence Yoga.
We can advise you on how to adjust your yoga experience best to suit the current phase in life you are going through. Whether you are in one of the early phases of life or reaching the Vanaprastha phase, we can assist you today.