By Faye Martins
I was listening to a conversation this weekend. Two women in their 70s were explaining the benefits of Yoga to their friend. It was interesting to note the objection was: “Why should I bother?” There is a feeling some people have that our life is filled with endless suffering and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Whether you are a practitioner or you have taken a few yoga teacher certification courses, you know that a regular practice helps to keep the body the body young. In fact, some seniors who practice yoga refer to it as a “fountain of youth.” Here are four reasons why every senior should consider visiting a yoga school.
A common reason seniors suffer injuries is due to falling. Practicing yogic techniques improves balance and coordination. Improving balance with yoga happens in several ways. As students become more present in their bodies, they move more mindfully. This simple change in movement can help prevent falls.
Yoga also improves balance by strengthening muscles. While standing on one foot, students generally experience some swaying. As they concentrate on slowing and stopping the sway, the muscles in the legs and ankles become stronger. Strengthening these muscles increases balance in and out of the class.
Relief from Arthritis
According to various statistics, it is speculated that more than half of all seniors suffer from various forms of arthritis. Practicing yoga has long been shown to provide relief from the pain associated with this health problem. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. Practicing asanas helps to strengthen the joints and relieve inflammation.
A regular yoga training session also helps students to strengthen the muscles surrounding the joints. In addition, these muscles are lengthened which relieves tightness. Students may also minimize the loss of cartilage around a joint by participating in a regular practice.
Seniors are often at risk for depression. Yoga teachers encourage students to connect to a place of peace and harmony while practicing. In fact, specific asanas such as Child’s Pose have been shown to boost mood.
In addition, practicing asana, pranayama, and meditation has actually been shown to reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood system. Reducing cortisol in the bloodstream leads to a reduction in anxiety and stress.
Seniors who practice yoga regularly should see a reduction in stress and an increase in happiness.
Students are asked to listen to their bodies during a class. As time goes on, students develop knowledge of the areas of the body where they are inflexible. Many students gain an intuition of their bodies they did not have in the past. This body awareness can help seniors to know when they are beginning to catch a cold or when an injury is reoccurring.
© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
See yoga videos, demonstrations, and lectures for 200 hour yoga teacher training intensives and specialized continuing education courses.