As the human body ages, the need to stay active and fit becomes more important. There is no one-size-fits-all category I can stick the "elderly" into, because bodies age at different rates. There is no doubt in my mind that there are hundreds of 65-year-olds out there who are much more limber and agile than I am. However, if you are over 60, daily exercise can help you retain that youthful look and feel.
Yoga is an ideal form of exercise for those in their golden years. This is because it joins the mind with the body and soul for total body wellness. Practicing yoga not only will keep you flexible and mobile, it keeps the mind sharp. Gentle and Hatha forms of yoga are considered light exercise and are zero-impact, so it is safe and should not be intimidating. The National Center for Biotechnology Information published findings of a study titled Safety and Feasibility of Modified Chair-Yoga on Functional Outcome Among Elderly at Risk for Falls. Findings of the study suggested that "yoga may be beneficial in improving mobility and reducing fear of falling..." Using a non-skid yoga mat and backless yoga chair will improve yoga safety tremendously. Many yoga classes geared towards seniors incorporate a chair. Yoga Accessories also sells yoga DVD's designed for active older adults if you don't want to attend a guided class at a studio. The backless chair was designed to be used for more yoga poses than a regular folding chair can accommodate. Using a chair is great because you don't have to set yourself on the floor and the chair is nice and stable.
According to ancient yoga tradition, human life is divided into four stages or ashrams: the fourth or later stage of life is called 'Sanyasa' which means 'wandering scholar', in which spiritual enlightenment and self-realization is the goal. Yoga practice is aligned with this goal and thought by many to be absolutely necessary. As well as mental and spiritual benefits, yoga has been found to help the following ailments commonly thought to be linked to aging:
- Sleep Disturbance: yoga and deep breathing has shown to decrease length of time it takes to fall asleep and improved sleep quality
- Poor Blood Circulation: Any form of exercise will get the blood pumpin'. Yoga may be able to help without all that cardio. Here are some poses that maximize blood flow
- Osteoporosis: Preliminary studies show that yoga can improve bone density after menopause
- Arthritis/Strength: Get moving to stave off atrophy: yoga is an effective tool against rheumatoid arthritis, improving grip and overall strength
- High Blood Pressure: Yoga is heart-healthy! It lowers stress levels and metabolism which lead to decreased blood pressure
By: Jessica Adams (G+)
bill kringe Date 9/26/2013
Very nice article, Jessica. Many of my students are mature adults, and I believe they really can and are benefitting from Gentle Hatha Yoga. I also teach a chair class at an assisted-living facility, with most practitioners Alzheimer sufferers, and I am amazed at the progress, many of them are making. In this class we use backed chairs, or wheelchairs, and for some, it would be great having no-back chairs, I believe. Thanks for the article.
Val Miller Date 9/26/2013
Excellent article! I also teach a seniors class and I am wondering if I could have your permission to include your article (or excerpts from it) in a newsletter I periodically send out to my students?
Blue Moon Yoga Blue Moon Yoga Date 9/26/2013
Thank you for this article! I'm attending a Yoga for Seniors teaching workshop at Duke University...I encourage all yoga teachers to begin looking at the Baby Boomers as a real student base. A follow up article may include how important it is for yoga teachers to know what the challenges are so they can teach safely and effectively. Of course, it's a perfect opportunity to showcase many YA props too! Great article!
Linda Churchill Date 9/26/2013
Definitely, seniors benefit from Yoga, I teach Gentle Hatha Yoga to seniors and those on the road to becoming seniors and who are interested in learning how to take care of their bodies as they age. Yoga, especially Gentle Hatha Yoga, strengthens muscles, bones and hearts as we learn to accept ourselves as we are in the aging process and learn to be grateful for what we can do with what we have. A true blessing and practice of gratitude. Oh yea, I am blessed to be an active Yoga Instructor for three years now, I teach 4-5 classes a week, studios, fitness center and sports club....and I'm 69 years old. W/o yoga non of this would be possible. Wahe Guru!
Francia Wick Date 9/26/2013
I'm a 72-year old yoga teacher and have been teaching yoga for over 46 years. I teach children (3-7), 20,30, and 40-somethings, and I teach SilverSneakers yoga classes 4 times a week. I seek to move my seniors from the chair to the mat in about 6 months, as long as they are faithful to the practice. I'm still teaching inversions (Shoulderstand, Headstand) to students in their early 60s. Excellent subject!
Linda Rubinstein Date 9/26/2013
I am 70 yrs old and have been practicing Hatha yoga for over 15 years. I have been blessed with an outstanding teacher who has helped me to practice yoga, on and off the mat. With her, I have increased my strength, flexibility, and sense of wellness and compassion. Mostly, I have "learned" how to breathe! The impact on my life is immeasurable an I can't conceive of not living yoga, daily.
Karen Tripolitis Date 9/26/2013
Without a doubt, yoga is good for any and all ages! I have taught 4 year olds up to 65 year olds. Yoga gives you great confidence in your own body. What do my older students always resist? Of course it is balancing poses. They are also the most grateful for the practice of them when we have completed a class. The fear of falling is valid as people age. I always tell my students, here we go with balancing poses - your insurance policy in being more stable and recovering to prevent a fall!
Jessica Date 9/30/2013
Yes, as long as we are cited, and the content is NOT published on any website. If it is a website, a link back to my article from your site would be reasonably expected.
Please email me at the above address or leave your email address. I will email you a code that you need to link back to us so we can track it.
Phyllis Date 10/1/2013
Hello - I am from Toronto, Canada, and am trying to locate a Self-Guided Yoga Mat with illustrations of many Yoga Poses and each one identified directly on the mat itself. I need a green one, plus some Yoga Poses Card Packs and Pretzel Cards (for kids). I have sent 4 messages to Yoga Direct & Yoga Accessories but only received reply to the first one - they did not answer any of my questions and only gave me a web link (but I did not get any reply from it). Can anyone help me out at all! I would be most grateful for information. Does anyone know if these Self-Guided Yoga Mats are available in Canada, and where? Shall await with eager anticipation that help is at hand. Thanks, Phyllis