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The Surprising Connection Between Gentle Yoga and Positive Self-Image (Video)

By Margaret Manning December 05, 2014 Health and Fitness

“I’m a complete beginner to gentle yoga.” “I’m a total newbie.” “I’m a bit stiff and overweight.” “I’m a complete novice, with practically no strength or flexibility.” These are a few of the ways that women in the Sixty and Me community described themselves when I asked them if they were interested me producing a series of gentle yoga videos for older adults.

One woman even said, with a sad face, “I have a terrible time even getting on the floor when I play with my granddaughter.” I have mixed feelings about these descriptions.

On the one hand, it’s difficult to listen to the challenges that the women in our community are facing with regards to flexibility, stress and energy. On the other hand, what an opportunity! After all, yoga isn’t just for young people. In many ways, older adults can see the greatest changes by embracing this simple practice.

Can Gentle Yoga Help Us to Develop a Positive Self-Image?

If I’m honest with myself, I also have to admit that their comments amplified my own hesitancy and embarrassment about my own body. Like many women in the community, I have started and stopped exercising many times over the years. I didn’t prioritize my health and put other aspects of my life first. As I gained weight and lost my strength, I rationalized it as just a part of getting older. Do you feel the same way?

Don’t forget to watch the free gentle yoga for seniors video at the beginning of this article. And, when you are ready, you can always order a DVD with the entire series.

Maybe you are one of the disciplined few who have managed to stay consistent about looking after your body. But, I suspect that there are many more women, just like me, who know that they need to make a change in their lives and just need a place to get started.

While searching for the perfect yoga teacher with whom to record our gentle yoga video series, I was lucky to meet Cat Kabira. She is a remarkable woman on so many levels. I promise you, if there is one teacher on the planet who can make you feel comfortable about trying yoga in your 50s, 60s, or beyond, it’s Cat.

During the course of our three interviews, Cat explained that she has been practicing yoga for 20 years and teaching for 14. She has worked with over 1000 students over the age of 60, so, she really understands the unique needs of our bodies.

She also has a remarkable level of empathy for the emotional challenges that some of us face as we get a little older. She has heard all of our “excuses” and “negative self-talk” and responds with positivity and encouragement.

During our interviews, Cat and I discuss the powerful benefits of breathing and the gentle movements that are at the center of her approach to yoga. We also talk about the many misconceptions that people have when it comes to yoga, including the myth that it is only for young people.

Cat also explains that, if you’re not feeling flexible – that’s perfect! This is exactly why you do yoga. If you are feeling weak and still – great! This is also why you do yoga. Yoga is not a competition. It is a personal journey. All you need to do is show up consistently and learn to love your body, day after day.

As I spoke with Cat, I realized that yoga is about so much more than getting in shape. It is also about becoming comfortable with our bodies and developing a positive self-image. As we age, it is easy to get disconnected from our bodies. Inside, we still feel like we’re in our 20s. Outside, we are slowly turning into our grandmothers. Yoga has the potential to bring together our mind and our body into a complete whole.

Gentle yoga can help us to accept and love ourselves again.

Cat encourages us to be kind to ourselves and to see yoga as a way to become stronger and more grounded. She reminds us to be grateful to each part of our body and to see each yoga practice as a small step towards a healthier life after 60.

At the end of this article, you will find three interviews that I filmed with Cat. I hope that you find them inspiring and useful as you begin your yoga journey.

Please join Cat Kabira and me as we discuss:

  • Why the typical objections to starting yoga are exactly the best reasons to start
  • How gentle yoga movements can make huge impact on your flexibility and health
  • How old injuries and chronic back pain can be helped with gentle stretching and yoga
  • Why having a strong body image is the key to confidence after 60
  • How to get started on your journey to a healthier, happier you with gentle yoga
  • Why yoga is so much more than physical exercise
  • Why yoga is arguably more important for older adults than for people in their 20s

If you are a complete beginner to yoga, fantastic! You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by reconnecting with your body and learning to love yourself more deeply.

If you find our conversations fascinating and are ready to take the next step, please take a look at the gentle yoga videos that we filmed with Cat. Do you have a specific part of your body that you want to work on? Please join the conversation.

In the meantime, please enjoy these interviews. I hope that they help you to get on the path to the healthiest possible life after 60.

Do you have any questions about gentle yoga? Have you already tried yoga before? What was your experience and what did you learn from it? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below and don’t forget to like and share this article if you enjoyed it.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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