Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise we can take up to improve our health, writes Ron Cain. (Sara Jobling -

Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise we can take up to improve our health, writes Ron Cain. (Sara Jobling -

FITNESS: The hazards of yoga for old men

Long-term yoga training will significantly increase strength and flexibility

I enjoy trying new activities.

We decided to check out Hatha flow yoga and loved it. There are so many kinds of yoga I had no idea what to expect, except I knew it wasn’t hot yoga which had no more appeal than hitchhiking in Mexico.

The class went well. I was optimistic I could do the exercises when I saw all the grey hair in the class. As a former group fitness instructor, I felt even better when I recognized all of the stretches.

There was only one problem. I have irritable bowel syndrome, and even the slightest dietary transgression has gaseous results that can leave a negative impression when in a social environment. The wife is used to it. She suffers in silence.

A common effect of aging compounds IBS – bending down and exerting oneself often leads to socially unacceptable noises and subsequent offence to the olfactory system. This was, unfortunately, my malaise on that day, leading to my ineffective effort at assuming another identity.

It was with relief that the silence this incident encountered was, in fact, the norm for the class, lost in a wave of relaxation and a higher state of consciousness.

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I thought I had dodged a social bullet and possible permanent image blemishing. Upon subsequent return to the crime scene a couple of days later, prepared with a double dose of Gas-X, I was hoping to redeem myself only to see my picture on the studio’s front door with instructions to attend only the outdoor class. Someday I will try and sneak in the back.

Yoga is one of the best forms of exercise we can take up to improve our health. When I look at yoga teachers as old as 90, with their lean, sinuous frames, moving with the grace and ease of people half their age, I am reminded of the adage, “the proof is in the pudding.”

Long-term yoga training will significantly increase strength and flexibility while burning calories to create a lean and strong frame. Issues with the low back can often be resolved because there is so much emphasis on the two leading causes of back pain: tight, inflexible muscles and weak core muscles.

Yoga is so effective at helping pain that the American College of Physicians recommends it as a primary treatment. Arthritis symptoms are often relieved, mobility improved, better sleep, lower blood pressure, weight loss, and improved ability to cope with stress.

As soon as group classes are an option, I think my wife will go back. On the other hand, I will respect the will of the masses and find an alternative, less gaseous option.


Ron Cain is the owner of Sooke Mobile Personal Training. Email him at

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