Seniors And The Benefits Of Yoga Practice
Welcome to my article, which I am choosing to post as a Blog, and is all about Seniors And The Benefits Of Yoga Practice. Written for my local GP Surgery’s Livi App by Dr Bryony Henderson, the Lead GP at Livi itself. Click here to read more.
Yoga For Seniors: The Benefits Of Gentle Exercise
As we get older, it’s more important than ever to take care of our bodies and minds. One way to do that is through yoga, a gentle and effective form of exercise that offers a range of health benefits
The practice of yoga began in ancient India over 2,000 years ago. Today, it’s popular all around the world with people of all ages. Yoga can be practiced at all different levels of intensity, making it a great choice for people of all ability levels and stages of life.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of yoga for seniors, considerations for starting a yoga practice, and some yoga poses and breathing techniques to get you started.
What Are The Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors?
Yoga offers a range of physical and mental benefits that make it an ideal form of exercise for seniors. Here are just a few:
Improved Flexibility And Mobility
Yoga poses gently stretch your muscles and joints, helping to increase your flexibility and range of motion. This can help you maintain your independence as you age and reduce your risk of falls and other injuries.
Increased Strength And Endurance
Many yoga poses also involve holding your body weight, which can help build strength and endurance. This is important for maintaining your overall fitness and preventing age-related muscle loss.
Better Balance And Coordination
Some yoga poses require balance and coordination, such as balancing on one foot. These can help improve your balance and reduce your risk of falls and other injuries in everyday life.
Stress Reduction And Relaxation
Yoga is known for its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. This can be especially beneficial for seniors who may be dealing with chronic pain or anxiety.
Yoga has benefits no matter what your age is, but there’s also evidence to back up the benefits for older people in particular. A 6 month long trial of yoga in people aged 65-85 found that yoga significantly improved quality of life, balance and flexibility.
How Should I Get Started With Yoga?
There are lots of different styles of physical yoga practice. If you have any health concerns, it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting yoga. You may need to modify certain poses or avoid certain types of yoga altogether. Here are a few more tips to get yourself started:
Choosing The Right Yoga Style
There are many different styles of yoga, each with its own focus and intensity level. Gentle or restorative yoga can give you all the benefits you’re looking for and can be a great starting point. These styles focus on stretching and relaxation rather than strength-building or intense physical activity.
While there are many more types of yoga, look out for these styles:
Yin Or Restorative Yoga:
This style focuses on stretching and relaxation rather than strength-building. Each posture is held for up to two or three minutes at a time and may use props like pillows or blankets. This can be a great place to start with yoga.
Usually slower paced, hatha yoga is also excellent for beginners and those who want a more relaxed practice.
Like yin yoga, this slow style is easily adapted and modified and uses props like blankets, pillows or chairs. It’s great for beginners because of its focus on proper alignment.
Hot yoga classes are set to 30-40 degrees C or higher. Some advantages include loosening up tight muscles and working on flexibility. You may want to avoid this style if you’re sensitive to heat or have any health conditions. Check with your doctor before you do this type of yoga as it may not be suitable if you have low blood pressure or are pregnant, for example.
Finding A Qualified Teacher
There are many yoga teachers who are trained to work with seniors and can help you modify poses as needed.
What Are Some Good Yoga Poses For Seniors?
Here are some gentle yoga poses that are perfect for seniors or anyone looking for a gentle stretch.
Position yourself into a table-top position on your hands and knees. Take a deep breath in and look towards the sky, arching your back towards the mat. On your exhale, slowly round your back, gazing between your hands on the mat. Gently alternate between these two poses, breathing in and out.
Start on your hands and knees. Tuck your toes under, then ground down through your hands to push your hips back up towards the sky. Create one straight, diagonal line between your hands and your hips, keeping a slight bend in your knees. Let your head hang between your shoulders and breathe slowly.
Stand on your mat with your feet spread wide apart. Raise your arms parallel to the ground with your palms facing down. Pivot your front foot to face forward, bend your front knee, and pivot your upper body towards the front. Look over the top of your front hand.
Stand with your feet together. Shift your weight to one foot, then slowly lift your opposite foot to place your heel against your ankle. You can stay here, or raise your foot to press against your inner calf or thigh. Raise your arms overhead or press your palms together.
Chair yoga modifications are also available for many poses, making them accessible for seniors who have limited mobility.
Yoga Breathing Techniques For Seniors
While many people think of yoga’s physical postures, yoga also involves the practice of meditation and breath work. Here are some simple breathing exercises to try:
Inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four.
Place your hand on your belly and inhale deeply, feeling your belly rise. Exhale slowly, feeling your belly fall.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Close one nostril with your finger and inhale through the other nostril. Then, close the other nostril and exhale through the first nostril. Repeat on the other side.
Tips For Seniors Starting A Yoga Practice
If you’re new to yoga or haven’t practised in a while, here are some tips to help you get started:
Start Slowly And Gradually
– Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with just a few poses and gradually build up to longer practices.
Listen To Your Body
– If a pose doesn’t feel right or causes pain, stop and modify or skip it.
Modify Poses As Needed
– Yoga poses can be modified to make them more accessible. Use props like blocks or straps or try chair yoga modifications.
– Drink plenty of water before, during and after your yoga practice.
Senior-friendly yoga classes are available at many gyms, community centres, and yoga studios. You can also find online classes and videos specifically designed for seniors.
Yoga is a great way for everyone to improve their health and wellness. By practising gentle yoga poses and breathing exercises, you can increase their flexibility, strength, balance, and relaxation.
If you’re interested in starting a yoga practice, be sure to talk to your doctor, choose the right yoga style and find a qualified teacher. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to reap all the benefits of yoga both on and off the mat.
How Classes At The Yoga Lodge Can Help You
The Yoga Lodge offers an oasis of calm and tranquility, where classes are small and friendly. You will be made to feel most welcomed. Classes are run by Pavana, who is a qualified, caring and dedicated Hatha Yoga and Meditation Teacher.
If you feel your health is vital to your well-being and you wish to give Yoga a go.
Book Now by visiting www.theyogalodge.org.uk/timetable to reserve your yoga place in person or on line
Or if you require further information call 07973 410375, or email email@example.com
or simply browse the website www.theyogalodge.org.uk