Hi yoga friends,
I’m pleased to have guest writer Harry Cline share his thoughts on how to use yoga and meditation to slow the effects of aging. Hope you enjoy.
How to Use Yoga and Meditation
to Slow the Effects of Aging
Staying active is one of the biggest challenges seniors face. As muscles naturally weaken and retirement encourages an easy excuse to be lazy, it can be difficult to find an exercise you enjoy doing. Practicing yoga is one of the best exercises for seniors. This low-impact exercise is both relaxing and incredibly beneficial in a number of different ways.
Strengthen Your Muscles
It can be hard to come to terms with the fact that your muscles can’t do what you want anymore. But with yoga, your capabilities may surprise you. In a short amount of time, you will be able to see results. Do Yoga With Me lists strengthening muscles and increased mobility and flexibility as some of the many benefits of yoga. These are necessary to keep you independent as you age.
Yoga is also an excellent tool for improving balance. Considering that an adult over the age of 65 falls every 11 seconds, this is a huge incentive to take up yoga. It has also been shown to relieve aches and pains in the joints.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
The mental benefits of yoga are well-documented. Through meditation in conjunction with yoga, you will see a sharp improvement in your mental health. Psychology Today reports that the benefits of yoga include decreased stress and anxiety, increased focus, and improved memory. In seniors, this can counteract the effects of aging.
Mediation has also been shown to help provide a sense of spirituality and can connect you with the outside world. Many people in addiction recovery use meditation as a tool in helping them overcome their addiction. For them, being able to connect to the spiritual side of their self is just as important as addressing the needs of physical self. Seniors can also benefit from this. Yoga and meditation can help ground them and improve their whole selves.
Finding the Right Class
If you are uncomfortable walking into a yoga class of 20- and 30-year-olds, that is okay. Many yoga studios or local rec centers now offer classes specifically for seniors. Chair yoga is growing in popularity among seniors. It is perfect for those that do not want to move on and off the floor quickly. This is perfect for those worried about falling.
If there aren’t any classes designed for seniors in your area but you still want to try it, you have options. There are many different types of yoga for all different skill sets. Do not hesitate to call a studio and talk to them about your physical capabilities. Most will be happy to point you in the right direction and can most likely direct you toward a gentle yoga like gentl Iyengar yoga class.
Use Props and Modify Poses
One of the best things about yoga for the senior crowd is how adaptable it is. Take advantage of using props such as blocks or straps. Do not think of these as a crutch. These exist to make sure you are properly aligned so that you can get the full benefits of the pose.
The poses themselves are also often able to be modified. If you have any physical limitations, whether that means you are recovering from surgery or have a bad ankle, be sure to tell your instructor. They will be able to help modify your pose so that you can still complete it without causing unnecessary strain on your body.
Do it On Your Own
Classes are great, but you probably won’t be able to attend class every day. After you have gotten comfortable with yoga, feel free to do it at home. Sixty and Me encourages beginners to take at least four weeks of classes to get familiar with the poses and process before bringing it home. Make sure you clear out enough space for you to move and keep your props nearby.
Flexibility at Its Finest
The yoga studios may be populated with a young crowd, but it is the ideal exercise for seniors. It will keep your muscles loose and strong as well as keep your mind sharp. Grab your yoga mat and head down to the studio right away.