Yoga For Seniors – A Basic Overview

yoga-for-seniors-woman-2Yoga, a physical practice of the mind, body and spirit, has been used to fight diseases and to stay healthy for centuries. Its ease of flexibility with age, gender and region makes it the most popular exercising routine around the globe.

Those who perform it regularly not only have strong minds and bodies, but remain in perfect shape and also extend their longevity. Without overly stressing your bodies, yoga helps to keep every single joint and muscle of your body active and moving. Regular exercises focus on just one area, either they help to reduce weight or to bring the body back into shape by focusing on specific parts. Yoga is an overall workout of the entire body.

Yoga has no limit of age, it is a great form of exercise for those past retirement, but not all yoga practices are meant for everyone. If you suffer from a particular condition like a physical injury, severely lacking flexibility, or you are too old for light exercise, you should consult a yoga expert for the types of practices you can perform without hurting yourself.

Yoga has many variations and incorporates a wide range of movements. For the elderly who are immobile, there are even yoga moves that can done while sitting on a chair. More and more, Chair Yoga is getting more popular with seniors. Check out this Sitting Yoga Exercises video.

Yoga is different from other exercising routines as the results do not show immediately and you need more time also you should not be worrying over what you are supposed to be doing after your exercises. You need a clear worry free mind to make the mind and body connection which is essential for yoga practice.

How Yoga Helps Seniors

Contrary to what most people think, Yoga can greatly benefit people of an old age, even if they start late. They may not be able to perform all yoga poses, but they can increase flexibility, motion and muscle strength with regular practice of some recommended routines.

Since yoga needs ample time, it is perfect for performing after retirement. Not only do you have extra time then, but the need for getting yourself physically and mentally active rises too.

The next to work out would be selecting the correct Yoga practices and this is not a simple question. Your level of physical fitness and your lifestyle habits also play a key role in deciding which routines you should go for. If you have been idle for a long period of time, you would need to take it slow at the start, gradually increasing the stretch and duration.

Yoga is known to help fight off diseases that come with old age. Arthritis, a complication of the joints where they cease to work is a serious old age concern. It keeps on increasing with time and if you do not use the affected joints regularly, it aggravates quickly until it becomes crippling. Yoga lessens the effect, helps to fight off pains and delays the process of deterioration.

In the United States, Alzheimer’s is the biggest reason for death, more than by any other disease. People with Alzheimer’s have reported an improvement after practicing regular yoga, especially Kundalini Yoga according to research.

People with diabetes can make use of special yoga asanas (yoga poses) that activate and improve the functioning of the pancreas.

Similarly patients with osteoporosis, a bone and tissue weakening condition can make use of yoga poses designed to increase bone mass. According to a recent study, exercises such as Tai Chi and yoga can reduce the risk of elderly falls by a third.

Some Precautions You Need to Take

Elderly people will need to take a few precautions as their bodies have become weak with age and too much stretch or stress can hurt them instead of doing good. In short, they have to be gentle with their bodies and back off any pose that seems too difficult to carry out. They should also consult their doctor before starting yoga practices.

Some general tips for the elderly to do yoga are:

  • Do not inhale and hold your breath but you can hold your breath after exhaling.
  • Do not fully rotate your head, limit to just slight movements on both sides.
  • You have to be extra careful with the breathing exercises of yoga. Ask an expert about the ones you can do safely.
  • Yoga poses to strengthen the pelvic joints is highly recommended.
  • Throat and navel locking should be avoided.
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