Basic yoga tips for better health in seniors
There are many benefits of yoga including the strengthening and activation of muscles that are known to reduce the risk of falls, help increase blood flow, improve sleep, and provide more range of motion in different joints throughout the body.
Furthermore, yoga offers a balance of energy, healing and deep breathing techniques that steady the nervous system and thus reduce the risk of developing brain diseases mostly associated with old age.
Yoga is thousands of years old and originated in India, though it has managed to influence many cultures and peoples across the world. Yoga has always been the practice that offers different benefits to everyone, and if you study its history you will learn that it is all about celebrating the body and embracing your mind and individuality.
Part of practicing yoga includes meditation as well, and the entire package can be seen as a philosophy of life, and a sound way to learn how your body works. There is this misconception that yoga is meant only for those who are young, agile and flexible. This is not true.
You turn to yoga to release the physical and mental tensions from the body. There is a right yoga workout for everyone, it doesn’t matter if you are young or old or if you are suffering from some sort of physical pain or injury.
We are jotting down some major yoga tips for all our seniors out there to make this healthy journey easy for you.
Ease your way into the practice
Yoga instructor Cat Kabira shares her experience of teaching yoga to men and women in their sixties. According to Kabira, many elderly ladies have a hard time twisting and moving their bodies into the various postures.
She instructs them to do the best they can, and mainly focus on their breathing. “Do not push your body’s limits. Just stay within whatever feels right to you and your body, and this is the best one can do,” she says. After a month, many women are able to move their bodies more freely than ever before.
The key here is work your body out without straining it. Yoga is the only workout routine that is gentle and really listens to what your body needs. Ease your way into the practice. Here are some very important tips for all the elderlies who are thinking about getting into a yoga routine but are not quite sure on how to get started;
- Be patient with your body.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most elderly women and men have a hard time asking anyone to give a hand to help out. But having the support of family and loved ones will only strengthen your resolve. A yoga retreat can be a wonderful way to get started on this journey to self discovery.
- If possible, get a teacher. Having someone to guide you through the journey is important. A teacher can be the reassuring support you need, at least in the beginning.
- Understand your body. Feel how stiff and tight your muscles are, and accept this. Be honest with yourself and then move on from there.
- Really think about your whole lifestyle. Few changes such as healthy intake can play an important role in your aim to improve your health.
Once you start practicing yoga, you will notice that muscles that haven’t been used for a while will get flexible and strong, no matter what your age.
These yoga postures are perfect for seniors and can be used by everyone else as well, as they are very gentle and do not require much of an experience. With consistent practice, yoga may help to reduce overall body pain that many elderly people suffer from.
Chair Yoga: It is a simple chair yoga pose, and all the movements are done slowly. Remember to stop when you need to. Start by planting your feet flat on the floor and put your hands on your thighs. You start by breathing in. Close your eyes and go on lengthening your inhales and exhales. You should feel the air fill up your belly, your chest, your shoulders, all the way to your head. You will start to feel oxygen coming to the tips of your fingers and the tips of your toes.
Mountain Pose: While performing the mountain pose, your hands should spread out wide to the sides. Your feet should be firmly planted on the ground, and you should take in deep breaths.
Cat-cow Breathing: You start by placing your hands on your thighs, push your chest forward inhale and as you exhale round your back, arching it like an angry cat’s. Inhale chest forward, look towards the sky and exhale.
Side Stretch: Placing your hands on your hips, inhale and while exhaling softly turn to the side lengthening out one side of your body. Inhale at the center and exhale as you twist to the opposite side.
These postures are an opportunity for you to follow the practice in a way that delights you. Simple sequences few times a week can bring a great change in your health.
It doesn’t matter if you start out yoga with certain limitations or disabilities. This is why you need to practice yoga in the first place.
The primary practice of yoga is learning to listen to yourself in a very kind way and just seeing what your body requires. As you listen, as you breathe, as you respond, you will find the great openings in both physical and spiritual paths.
Here are some changes you will notice after practicing yoga for some time;
- Yoga will build your character.
- It will make you feel good.
- It will give you a way to feel like a lighter being.
It will give you a positive attitude towards life.
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