You don’t see a lot of seniors practicing yoga. Yoga is a physical activity which makes us think that seniors aren’t exactly in the shape or form to practice it. However, since yoga is fairly different from other workouts, seniors can easily do it. There are many benefits that seniors could get from yoga. Many of their problems can be taken care of by practicing yoga. In the end, yoga is all about relaxation and calmness. So, what exactly can seniors expect from yoga? You’ll be able to find everything out in this article. Here are all the potential and guaranteed benefits of yoga for seniors!
Balance is a major issue for the elderly as their bodies are old and worn out. Most neural transmissions don’t function as they used to which is why some seniors seem to lose balance all the time. This is a common issue for most people over the age of 65, and it can be quite dangerous as a loss of balance can cause a fall which may then lead to injury. There is specific balance poses in yoga that can help the muscles which are in charge of stability when standing and walking get stronger. Some of these poses include the Half Moon, Tree, and Side Plank poses. If they are too difficult, holding onto something is a very good idea until balance starts getting better.
A lot of seniors suffer from osteoporosis which is a condition that causes the bones to become frail and brittle. This is a major issue that many people face, and in most cases, it seems that their hands are tied. However, yoga can provide much-needed relaxation. Yoga uses gravity to help strengthen the bones and improve their density. Because muscle groups and gravity are used to increase the pressure on the bones, bone growing cells are put to work.
When you get old, you stop being so physically active. This causes the muscles to lose their elasticity which, in turn, causes you to lose flexibility. The loss of flexibility can cause people to have trouble with even the most basic tasks such as tying their shoelaces. Many yoga poses can help improve flexibility by activating the muscles. These poses include the Cat and Cow pose, which brings flexibility to the spine; the Seated Forward Bend, which stretches the hamstrings and shoulders; the low-lunge, and the Side-Bending Mountain pose, which elongates the torso muscles.
Aging causes people to develop hypertension; a condition where the blood pressure can skyrocket. This can cause serious complications and can ultimately lead to death. Studies have shown that actively practicing yoga can reduce the diastolic blood pressure. Yoga is highly specific because, even as a workout method, it doesn’t put too much pressure on the cardiovascular system which enables seniors and people with hypertension to work out without fear of complications. So, if you seem to be having issues with blood pressure, yoga is a great natural and healthy way of dealing with it.
In general, older people sleep less than middle-aged people. My grandmother, for example, sleeps for around 5-6 hours each day while my parents and I sleep anywhere from between 7 hours to 10 hours. However, seniors can improve the quality of their sleep thanks to yoga. Yoga relaxes the body and the mind. An entirely relaxed body and positive feelings help to improve sleep quality and length.
Memory is a real issue for seniors as they simply can’t remember as well as they used to. Yoga is a major game changer because studies have shown that post-yoga sessions improve general memory and cognition. Even though it won’t completely improve memory, it still contributes enough to make it worth your while.
Some yoga positions are better than others, especially in the case of elders. Certain positions can’t be done by seniors as they are too difficult and require a lot of flexibility and some strength, while others are perfect for their needs. Here are two poses that, in general, help them the most.
Chair yoga is a modified version of regular yoga. It works wonders because all chair yoga poses can be done, you guessed it – in a chair! Chair yoga is ideal for people who lack the mobility and flexibility to do regular yoga poses. The mechanics behind chair yoga are simple and retain their original uses. You’ll be able to exercise every single part of your body, no matter how difficult it is because you’re going to be sitting in a chair (which means that you won’t have to worry about standing or balancing). In other words, seniors should practice chair yoga since many of their bodily functions are reduced.
Chair yoga is sometimes even available in retirement homes and centers for seniors. The great thing about chair yoga is that you don’t need a specific chair to practice it. Chair yoga, and especially yoga itself, are all about flexibility. Any chair can do as long as you follow the instructions correctly and carefully!
Finally, we reach water yoga. Water yoga is self-explanatory: You do the yoga inside a pool filled with water. Of course, you won’t be swimming; you’ll be standing in relatively shallow water. The buoyant effects of water will keep seniors floating and their heads above water so they can easily practice yoga without fear of falling over. Most poses are customized just a bit so they can be practiced in water. In general, water yoga is low impact which means that you won’t have to work too hard. But the benefits are exactly the same as with other yoga types. This is also a great yoga type considering that seniors shouldn’t have to work too hard.
This article covers almost every type of yoga that a senior can try to improve their physical and mental condition. If followed all these tips correctly, we can assure you that you will find new energy and freshness in your mind. Yoga is not only a good practice for young people but also very important for seniors. The advantages that we mentioned above show how you can be beneficial by incorporating yoga into your daily routine. Moreover, yoga will keep the medicines and hassles of regular medical attention. So, all the seniors should start doing yoga on a regular basis and enjoy a stress-free, happy and healthy life. In India, seniors can go to Rishikeshfor yoga.
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali) and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur).
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