You’ve read our blog, you’ve seen our lush line of sustainable activewear; we know you know that we are crackers about yoga.

You needn’t traverse to the farthest-flung corners of the internet to hear someone touting the benefits of a yoga lifestyle. Frankly, though, the bland listicles and dime-a-dozen yoga-inspired Instagram posts are more often than not accompanied by shots of the generic lithe tanned 20-something girl who seems to have come to represent the entire yogic community.

In this post, we want to diversify the discussion on the benefits of yoga and hone in on a powerful demographic - women in (and over) their 40s.

This post was inspired by our gorgeous model for Maria Malo’s new line of sustainable yoga clothing, Spanish yoga teacher Raquel Sanz . In writing the post, we also interviewed Irish yoga instructor Irene Dunne who shared her insights on the benefits of practising yoga after women hit 40.



The cycles of the moon, life, and yoga

As anyone with a menstrual cycle will tell you, the hormone struggle is real - and something that women grapple with throughout their lives. “But after 40”, says yoga teacher Irene Dunne, “it’s something you notice so much more”.

“I really know my body now, and I’m really enjoying being in my 40s - I’m trying to enjoy my age, always, because I know my body is deteriorating and I’m battling that all the time. It’s an interesting process, trying to stay healthy and maintain my agility of movement; regular yoga practice helps that.”



Aging is a beautiful process, but particularly for women, there is a social pressure that comes along with it.

“As a yoga teacher, there is a standard that you feel you must maintain”, says Irene, “You appear to the world as a pillar of health, and you’re representing an important philosophy in terms of both mental and physical health. In that regard, self care is almost as a social responsibility - to the practice of yoga, to my students, to my lifestyle”



How yoga can support women in this transitory stage of life


A yoga practice can support us to feel comfortable in our bodies and in our lives. “Coming into my crone years,” shares Irene, “I have no fear. I have the power to follow my dreams. Yoga gives me the power to do this. When I’m not feeling that in life, I know I need to dive in and deepen my practice. I feel blessed to have the body that I have. Of course, I feel hung up on parts of myself sometimes, but I know that’s my social conditioning - the ego receives way too much stimulus in this regard. Instead, I try to ask myself, what can I do with the body I have to feel more comfortable? Like water, I must find a way to show my body the path of least resistance through life.”



Regulate Hormones

There are certain poses that we can do that stimulate the thyroid and parathyroid glands to help regulate our hormones. “Shoulder stands, bridge pose, backbends - anything that's stimulating the chest area”, suggests Irene. “If you see someone collapsed into their chest with poor posture, they look low. Noticing this can help us determine how a person feels. Someone confident in themselves seems to stand tall with a strong chest, reaching up for the stars. This kind of yoga practice can support strength in this part of your body, which can have knock-on effects elsewhere in life.”

“This part of the body is also where your throat chakra, voice, and heart is; where your truth meets the world. Opening this part of the body can open us to our inner truth and wisdom.”


Recovery from injury

“Yoga has helped me through every massive loss and every pregnancy I’ve had in my life. It’s always helped me retrieve my physical strength, and when you have that your spiritual strength runs alongside it. I feel I can overcome and repair from the hardships of life because yoga is part of my life - part of me. I have a fast recovery from them because of that. I injured my ankle seriously, I had torn ligaments and it was black and blue one month ago and I’m back to running and teaching yoga already”.Irene advises that, with the body’s needs in mind, it’s important to be aware of your time of the month and adapt your practice based on what you truly are in need of, not what poses look good. “Let go of ego in that respect”, she says.



Self Love

A yoga practice can support our self care, and remind us to love ourselves as we are and let ourselves age with that love.



Teaching acceptance

As is the case with every ageing body, things change. Yoga teaches us to accept ourselves where we are, and to let go of our false sense of control. Although change is something all women are intimately familiar with - from our cycles, to pregnancy and birth - it doesn’t come without difficulty. Yoga can teach us how to master the art of change.



Maintain agility & flexibility

Regular practice allows us to remain agile as our bodies age, by keeping muscles and joints supple and supporting a range of movement. Of course, yoga can help us to be flexible physically, but there’s a lot to be said for the mental and emotional flexibility that a yoga practice can teach us too. “Your yoga practice can help you feel more agile which in turn allows you to feel more confident, so you can feel in your heart and soul you’re sure of what you need to do in life.”



Maintain strength

By staying consistent with our yoga practise, we can keep our bodies strong to combat muscle deterioration that happens naturally as we get older.



Remind us of our innate wisdom

It is easy to see our ageing selves and feel shame or judgement about the changes in our physical body, but ageing also brings us wisdom. Yoga can teach us to remember this wisdom that our body innately carries, as well as the wisdom gained through years of living and experience. “It feels like I’m going up the ladder of life”, says Irene, “My yoga practice always guides me on the right path; I feel I have lived a really truthful life because of it”.

See Maria Malo’s collection of sustainable yoga activewear, modelled by Raquel Sanz, here. Visit Irene Dunne’s Instagram or check out her yoga website.




Maria Malo