One of the great things about yoga is that it is so adaptable to different populations with diverse physical abilities and needs. Though the popular image of yoga is of a young person twisted up like a pretzel with apparent ease, those who are older and less flexible can enjoy and yoga practice just as much and potentially benefit from it even more.
Is Yoga appropriate for seniors?
In most cases, seniors can absolutely do yoga. Many people with hectic schedules only find the time for activities such as yoga in retirement. Though the trend is to become more sedentary, retirement is the perfect time to pick up healthy habits that will promote longevity. Attending a regular yoga class will also establish a sense of community with teachers and fellow students.
What Type of Yoga Should You Try?
What kind of yoga depends on your age, current level of fitness and physical ability? If you are starting a fitness regime for the first time (or after a long break) or have already lost significant muscle tone and flexibility, you should start with a very gentle hatha practice. Although it is possible to learn yoga from books and videos, the best way is through teacher instruction in a yoga class. Attending class will allow you to get the most out of yoga with the least risk of injury. Yoga classes, especially for seniors are becoming increasingly available. A gentle beginners class will be suitable.
The Benefits of Yoga
The benefits of yoga for seniors are much the same as those for the general population: *Increased muscle tone,
*Through Pranayama (breathing exercises) lung capacity is increased.
*You can expect your posture to improve and you may sleep better .
* If you experience stress , yoga can help counteract that too. But keep in mind that these benefits will not come overnight after a single yoga class. Regularly attending at least three classes a week will allow you to enjoy the best yoga has to offer.
INTRODUCTION to YOGA
Our senior population is growing rapidly as is their interest in leading active, fit lives. On the whole, we live longer than we used to, and we all want high-quality living and good health to be a part of our older years. As we grow older however, we typically become more susceptible to ailments that are linked to aging, and, as a result, we tend to move less. The less we move, the more susceptible we become to a variety of ailments, and so it becomes a truly vicious cycle.
Although many of us feel that we should follow the advice of “taking it easy” as we grow older, that is actually what we shouldn’t do. Extended periods of sitting lead to muscular shortening, tightening and weakening. Lack of weight-bearing activity contributes to osteoporosis. Lack of movement and stretching leads to joint deterioration and loss of flexibility. Of grave concern for our senior population is the lack of balance which stems, in part, from sitting rather than standing and from not challenging one’s balance in various positions. Complications resulting from falls among people over the age of 65 frequently lead to a multitude of serious problems, sometimes culminating in death.
Many health concerns have been linked to the sedentary lifestyle which is typical of many older people, including, but not limited to, the following:
1. reduced joint flexibility
3. high blood pressure
4. increased body fat and decreased lean body tissue
6. low back pain
7. breathing difficulties
8. poor blood circulation
9. vision problems
10. chronic pain
11. stress-related symptoms
12. inability to sleep peacefully
In light of our growing senior population and the health conditions associated with aging, researchers are beginning to take a closer look at the health concerns of this population and at how these issues can be addressed.
Yoga is considered by many to be a tremendous tool for combating the concerns of an aging society.