Showing posts with label yoga for senior citizens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yoga for senior citizens. Show all posts

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Yoga For Your Mind, Body and Soul - Try it at Any Age

About 30 years ago, a friend of mine was recovering from breast cancer and her physician recommended she take a gentle yoga class as a way to regain her strength and flexibility.  I went with her, experiencing this soothing form of exercise for the first time.  I was hooked!  When I started, I was not able to do most of the postures, because I did not have enough upper body strength and I was not very flexible.  Today, in my 70s, I am able to do many of the postures I could not do in my 40s. Over the years, I have gradually become stronger and more flexible. Who would ever have thought that I could have more upper body strength and more flexibility in my 70s than in my 40s? 
Over the decades, yoga has become more widely accepted and today it is recommended for a wide variety of health issues ... to lower stress, build strength, become more flexible, lower blood pressure, and improve balance.  It seems to be a cure-all for many different problems. 
A good way to start is with a yoga video for beginners.  (Ad)  You may also want to pick up a few yoga supplies, such as a mat, a couple of blocks or a strap.  (Ad) If you do not want to buy these things right away, you can always practice on your carpet, using rolled up towels and an old belt to help you maintain some of the positions.  Yoga can be a very cheap hobby.  
You may also find free or low-cost classes for seniors in your community. I currently take a free class for seniors from a local community college, taught by an 84 year old teacher!  Prior to that, I took a similar class at a senior center.  I have even taken chair yoga classes that included people in wheelchairs.  Nearly everyone can benefit from yoga, regardless of their physical limitations. 
Because of my personal experience with yoga, I was thrilled to receive this guest post on the benefits of this lovely form of exercise. You can learn more about how yoga can improve the health of senior citizens from the helpful guest post below by Kelsey Simpson.

How to Improve Your Mind, Body, and Soul With Yoga at Any Age


by Kelsey Simpson

Yoga is an ancient practice that incorporates the mind, body, and soul and can improve all three in a variety of ways. Anyone, no matter his or her age, can benefit from yoga. Whether you are young or old, your body will thank you for incorporating yoga into your everyday life. 

Yoga is an activity you can practice for the rest of your life. In fact, an expert from a company which provides independent senior living in NJ pointed out that many retirement communities offer yoga to their residents because the benefits are so vast. If you are new to yoga, you may be wondering how these gentle movements can improve so many aspects of your body. This post will detail how yoga enhances the human body at any age.

What Are The Benefits of Yoga?

Whether you are sixteen or sixty-five, yoga is something you should try to practice multiple times a week, if not every day. Learning yoga is not hard, and it doesn’t even need to cost you money, if you choose to practice yoga at home via online videos. Because yoga is so ancient, and there are so many theories about how it can best help us, there are many forms of it. Here are a few:





Each form of yoga has its own set of movements and breathing exercises. However, they all work towards improving a person's overall well-being, so you can try several and choose the style which you enjoy the most.  Below are some of the benefits you can expect:

Yoga Can Improve Your Mindset Significantly

Yoga is often used to improve one’s mental state. The practice of yoga can calm you, help you focus, and train you to learn mindfulness. Depending on the type of yoga you choose, different skills will be emphasized; however, all are beneficial.

Yoga is beneficial for all ages because it teaches the mind to focus on what is important and not get too worked up about things which one cannot control. For teens and young adults, yoga is a good way to develop calmness and values which they can use for the rest of their lives. Yoga will help a young person be proactive when it comes to managing everyday life stressors.

For adults and seniors, yoga is a wonderful way to help them deal with the anxiety and stress of work, family, and everyday life. Adults and seniors will learn how to relax when events happen in life which they cannot control. Yoga has the ability to improve one’s mental outlook significantly.

What Are the Benefits of Yoga on the Body?

In addition to helping one obtain a clear and healthy mindset, yoga will also improve your body. People of all ages use muscles throughout their body in yoga practice. Some yoga practices require more movement than others and are more fast-paced. On the other hand, there are yoga classes which focus on one muscle group for a prolonged period of time. Over time, this will strengthen that muscle group.

For younger people, yoga is a great way to stay in shape and keep your heart healthy. Likewise, for adults and seniors, yoga will help you lose weight and preserve your strength, as it requires full-body movement. It is crucial for older adults to maintain their strength as they age, so they can still move around comfortably; yoga will help with that.  Yoga also emphasizes balance exercises, which are so important for seniors in preventing falls.

How Yoga Can Help Your Well-Being

Yoga is not simple, especially when you first start. Adopting mindfulness, and gently moving your body into poses which may initially be uncomfortable or awkward can be challenging.  However, sticking with it, and making an active effort, will help your overall sense of well-being, calmness, and joy. In this way, it improves your feelings of peace and soulfulness.

Pushing yourself to new limits will make you feel accomplished and proud. You will also feel stronger, not only physically, but mentally, which is important for your overall health, peacefulness, and inner soul. Focusing on your movements will allow you to block out the outside world, which can help you develop a sense of calm and peace.

Become a Yogi Today

If you have not started practicing yoga, it will be in your best interest to begin soon. You can start practicing yoga by watching videos (Ad) online in the comfort of your home, or you can join a yoga studio or take a class. No matter where you practice yoga, your mind, body, and soul will be grateful. Start your yoga journey today.

About the Author

Kelsey Simpson enjoys writing about topics which help others. She lives in South Jersey and is the proud companion to two German Shepherds and spends her free time volunteering in dog shelters.

If you are interested in learning more about common medical issues as you age, Social Security, Medicare, where to retire, financial planning, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional helpful articles.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Age Well with Yoga

In virtually every article which discusses reducing stress, recovering from a serious illness, increasing your flexibility or improving your overall health, yoga is mentioned.  Approximately 36 million Americans practice yoga and more than one-third of them are over the age of 50.  However, many more senior citizens are intimidated or uncomfortable with the idea of yoga.  Since virtually everyone would benefit from this relaxing form of exercise, it is important to understand it better.

Benefits of Yoga

There are a number of benefits of yoga, even for those who will never be able to get into the lotus position or gracefully flow into any of the better known positions.  Simply doing your best and carefully stretching as much as you can has tremendous benefits for nearly everyone.  Below are some of the positive benefits to your body if you practice yoga regularly:

* Increased flexibility
* Better balance
* Less Stress
* Fewer symptoms of depression
* Lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol
* Better sleep, especially when yoga is done before bed
* Less back and neck pain
* Fewer headaches
* Reduced inflammation
* Better breathing
* Clearer thinking and focus
* Less weight gain as you age
* Greater aerobic capacity
* Easier cancer recovery
* Less urine leakage for women
* Better blood glucose levels

Personally, I began taking yoga 31 years ago with a friend who was being treated for breast cancer.  Her doctor had recommended it as a gentle way to for her to regain some of her strength after her surgery and other treatments.  She recovered and is alive today.  Although I started out merely to lend support to a friend, I have continued to faithfully take yoga classes over the years and it has helped me with many of the items on the list above, including greater flexibility and reduced stress and back pain.

You are Never Too Old to Start Yoga 

My current yoga instructor is 84 years old and many of the students in my class are in their 70s, 80s and 90s.  Many of them are unable to get into all the positions, especially if they have had surgery, a hip replacement, knee replacement or other medical concern.  Some of them have been told by their doctors not to do a position in which their head is below their heart.  All of this is perfectly okay.  Most yoga instructors are accustomed to making modifications to the positions so their students can stretch safely.

How to Get Started with Yoga

The best way to get started with yoga is to take a class.  Try a variety of classes until you find one which feels comfortable.  If you have trouble getting up and down from the floor, look for a chair yoga class or ask the instructor of a beginner yoga class if you can start out by sitting in a chair and doing as many stretches as possible while seated or standing.

While checking out the classes, observe whether or not the instructor is calm and relaxed, because this will help you relax, as well.  In addition, you want to make sure the instructor pays personal attention to the students and modifies the positions to meet their specific needs.  Pay attention to the atmosphere of the class, noticing things such as the music and temperature, and decide whether you think you would enjoy the class.  Keep looking until you find one which feels right to you.

You can find yoga classes at senior centers, YMCAs, and the recreation department of many cities.  Frequently they offer special classes for senior citizens or people with limited mobility.  In some communities, you may be able to find free or very low-cost classes.  There are also private studios, although their classes may be more expensive than ones from the facilities mentioned above.  However, once you are on Medicare, many Medicare policies have a Silver Sneakers benefit, which means they cover most or all of the cost of a gym membership in your area, and many gyms offer yoga classes.

Equipment costs are minimal, although you may want to buy a mat, a yoga strap and a couple of blocks.  The strap and blocks will make it possible for you to modify the positions so they are easier. You can find whatever you need in stores such as Target and WalMart. You may also want to take a towel or small blanket to class to make it easier to sit comfortably in certain positions.  You can choose to wear yoga pants or any loose fitting, comfortable clothing.

Finally, do not get discouraged if other students seem to be more flexible and capable of maintaining the positions than you.  They may have been practicing yoga for years.  In addition, you are not competing with them.  You are only trying to improve your own skills ... something which is sure to happen if you are consistent in your practice.  Yoga is truly an activity where you can be non-judgemental and proceed at your own speed.  If you have an injury, don't push through it.  Avoid any moves which could worsen your injury until a doctor tells you it is OK to put pressure on that part of your body.

Once you have learned the basic yoga moves, practice a stretch or two whenever you get a chance .... before you go to sleep at night, when you wake up in the morning, and even while you watch TV.  You may even want to enhance your home yoga practice by purchasing a Himalayan salt lamp or a healthy fresh sugar scented candle.  These types of mood enhancing items can help you create the perfect yoga atmosphere in your home. You'll love the way your body feels when it is flexible and moving smoothly! 

If you are interested in more information about common medical issues as you age, where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare, travel and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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