Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and types of cancer become more likely the older we get. Joint stress and bone problems can cause pain that keeps you sitting still. Did you know that seniors experience higher rates of mental health disorders like anxiety or depression? Your memory gets weaker, you become more susceptible to things like Alzheimer.
You get the point, there are a lot of potential health issues that can arise when you hit a certain age.
You might think that what 21-year-old girls do in a bikini on their beach holiday is yoga but it’s more than that. We all deserve the benefits yoga has to offer and the older we get, the more we need the holistic medicine it offers to joint, muscles, and the mind. In fact, your wisdom from your life experience may make you a better yogi than the super stretchers out there. Making yoga a part of your life can give you more energy, helps with digestive problems, gets rid of aching muscles so you can keep other physical activities up. Here are some of the main ways that yoga will extend and enhance your life.
Restorative yoga can be quite therapeutic and offers a lot of healthy benefits that can help many aspects of your life. Doing meditative or visualization exercises can help you keep your mind sharp. Eating a healthy diet along with regular exercise can prevent a myriad of diseases and injuries. Remaining limber will stop muscles from seizing up so they can continue to support your body properly.
If you’ve never seen the famed Tao Porchon-Lynch, she is the 96 year old yoga teacher. She is in the Guinness World Book of Records as the oldest yoga teacher ever. She is super flexible and has a bright mind with unlimited wisdom.
1. Yoga Improves Balance and Stability
There are a series of yoga poses that allow you to focus on your balance and stability. You can progressively strengthen your muscles and improve your balance so you’re less likely to fall. With these poses, you will also increase your strength so if you should fall, you’ll recover more quickly.
Try Mountain Pose as a beginner’s pose to help you with your balance:
- Stand tall with your feet as close to each other as possible.
- Open your chest up with arms by your side, palms facing forward.
- Imagine yourself balancing your weight perfectly into both legs and feet.
- Ground your body through your feet and close your eyes.
- Hold this pose for 10-30 seconds while breathing in and out deeply.
2. Yoga Improves Flexibility and Joint Health
Flexibility is essential for preventing injuries and allowing you to wake up with a spring in your step. Yoga poses stretch out large muscles and small muscles alike so you can find an exercise that fits your physical abilities and specific pain. A study done about the efficacy of yoga as a means of managing osteoarthritis said that yoga does in face provide therapeutic benefits. Yoga exercises that bring more flexibility to your body are low impact methods of loosening muscles. You will tone muscles too which is going to help you prevent injuries.
3. Yoga Improves Respiration and Keeps You Relaxed
As you age, it’s possible you have more problems with your breathing, making it a challenge to exert yourself physically. The less oxygen that rushes through your body, the more likely your mind and body will be negatively affected. It can be the cause of memory loss as you don’t get enough air to the brain. Studies show that a 3 month yoga program that is done regularly improves the respiratory function in older women.
Breathing is obviously an essential part to us as it’s our life force. You can go without food and water for awhile but you wouldn’t survive five minutes with breathing. There are plenty of yogic breathing exercises that support the respiratory system, bringing in a lot of air at once. You also gain the benefits of relaxation through deep, conscious breathing.
Simple Breathing Technique:
- Sit or lie down comfortably with your chest expanded.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in. Concentrate on sending air to your belly.
- Hold the breath for a count of 4.
- Release the breath slowly until there is no air left in your belly.
- Repeat this a few times daily.
4. Yoga Reduces High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure becomes more risky as you age as it can lead to cardiovascular disease. You also put your kidneys at risk. Yoga reduces stress from imbalances in the body due to a production of free radicals. When you do yoga, you negate the toxins that cause high blood pressure issues. Yoga and meditation radically reduce the free radical count. Yoga postures reduce toxins that build up in the body while burning oxygen slowly. When you add meditation to the mix, your mental and metabolic processes slow down so less free radicals are produced.
There are many yoga poses that reduce toxic build up in the body. Most people would recommend complex exercises that include going upside down to get the head over the heart. There are much easier ways. With this next pose, I suggest you also clear your mind and just pay attention to the moment. Meditating while you do this will be a double effect against high blood pressure and free radicals.
Legs Up On the Wall Pose
- Find a space where you can have your upper body on the ground while your legs are up against the wall. Feel free to use a pillow for your head.
- Sit perpendicular to the wall as though you were going to lay on your side.
- Left your legs up onto the wall with your buttocks touching the wall.
- This might be enough of a stretch already but if it isn’t, flex your feet.
- Stay in this pose for five minutes and pay attention to the subtle changes in your body, putting yourself in a meditative state so you think only of the moment you’re in.
5. Yoga Encourages Mindfulness
Yoga encourages you to focus on your breathing and listening to the limitations of your body. When you begin to regularly use the practice, you’ll realize that your limitations are being abolished. When you pay attention to this progression, it will propel you to keep going with your yoga journey.
Being mindful about what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking and about how you treat your body will allow you to become more connected to the world you live in. You’ll feel more social and confident because your body allows you to do things maybe you haven’t done in years. Paying attention to how much you’re pushing yourself as well as how your muscles become relieved when you breathe into them. The practice of mindfulness will be perfected through every yoga move your perform.
Author Profile: 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 Dharamsala), Indonesia (Bali)
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/siddhiyogateachertraining
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with us, Meera! We appreciate it and hope you’ll come back soon… 😉