Yoga is an incredibly beneficial physical activity for people of all ages. Whether you are 16 or 65, yoga can benefit you and is something you can take with you for the rest of your life. Yoga is easy to learn and can be practiced by just about anyone. Yoga is so beneficial that a retirement community in PA offers weekly classes for its residents so that they can take advantage of the copious benefits that yoga has to offer.
Though yoga can be beneficial for people of all ages, it may be particularly beneficial for seniors and aging adults. If you are a senior that is thinking about getting into yoga, or you are a senior that wants to learn more about yoga, this post will detail the 6 health benefits that yoga has for seniors
How is Yoga Beneficial for the Elderly?
Yoga can be practiced at home, or it can be practiced in a yoga studio; either way, you will appreciate the vast benefits. Likewise, there are many different kinds of yoga such as:
- Hatha- a relaxed style of yoga that focuses on basic movements and stretches. Hatha is great for beginners and seniors that are looking for a relaxed practice.
- Vinyasa- this kind of yoga is a bit more vigorous than hatha yoga and is focused on the correlation between breathing and moving. Vinyasa is fast-paced and is also referred to as power yoga. If you are a senior that is looking for a full-body workout, consider Vinyasa yoga.
- Ashtanga- similar to vinyasa, ashtanga also focuses on the correlation between breath and movement, however, it is a bit more traditionally structured and follows specific poses in exact order.
- Kundalini-Kundalini focuses on repetitive movements that are also synchronized with breath, chanting, and meditation. This slow-paced and specific practice focus awareness of both the body and the mind.
- Bikram- this 26 pose class is fast-paced and great for seniors that are looking to sweat. Bikram yoga uses the entire body and all muscle groups; thus increasing flexibility.
Before you sign up for a yoga class, think about what exactly you are looking for. Are you looking for a full-body workout? Or are you looking to simply stretch tight muscles out? Also, be sure to think about whether or not you want to practice yoga in a heated room. Most yoga classes are in heated rooms, which for some seniors may be a bit intense.
No matter what kind of yoga you decide is right for you, you will not be disappointed and you will benefit in one way or another. Below are the 6 major benefits that you will see as you begin practicing yoga as a senior.
1. Yoga Will Instill Positive Values
One of the major benefits that yoga has to offer is the important values that it instills on people. Yoga teaches people various core values that they can take with them throughout their entire lives. In regards to seniors, these positive values may be significantly more important as they can improve their overall quality of life and help them reach a state of peace and acceptance.
Depending on the kind of yoga that you choose, various core values will be taught, such as:
- Speaking up
- Becoming a critical thinker as well as a performed practitioner
- Keeping your practice/teaching real and relevant
- Developing a point of view without minimizing others
- The ability to not make prescriptive claims
These values will help one grow and become a more positive and understanding human, traits that may be relevant in one’s golden years.
2. Seniors Will Learn Mindfulness
Similar to learning how to be positive, seniors will be taught mindfulness as they learn yoga. Mindfulness is taught through meditation; specifically, a meditation that is omnipresent in all yoga classes. Mindfulness is achieved through breathing techniques, guided imagery, and physical movements that help the body reduce stress.
The purpose of mindfulness is to teach people how not to judge and how to properly interpret everyday life stressors. Mindfulness is great for all people, however, is especially great for people that are dealing with:
Issues such as the ones listed above are common in seniors, making learning mindfulness important for aging adults.
3. Yoga Poses Can Help a Senior Stay in Shape
It’s common for seniors to put on weight in their later years as they often adapt to a much more relaxed lifestyle. Though there is nothing wrong with a relaxed lifestyle, it’s important that seniors do their best to stay in shape so that their life is prolonged and enjoyable. Seniors that put on weight put themselves at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, joint issues, and the inability to get around comfortably.
Yoga is a fantastic way for seniors to stay in shape as it gets them up and moving and works almost every muscle group in the body. If yoga is practiced 3-5 times a week, for at least 30 minutes each time, seniors will be able to keep the extra pounds off while also preserving their overall health.
4. Yoga Aims to Strengthen and Preserve Muscles
In addition to staying in shape, seniors that practice yoga will also be strengthening and preserving their muscles. It’s important that seniors strengthen and preserve their muscles so they don’t lose the ability to get around or to move. Because yoga uses all of the body’s muscles, seniors will be strengthening all parts of their body; thus helping keep their existing muscle tone and making sure that they [their muscles] are still performing the way that they should.
5. Seniors Will Pick up a New Hobby
As people age, they may not be able to get around the same ways that they used to, or they may not be able to afford the lifestyle that they were previously living; and this may play a part in a senior’s hobbies. However, yoga may be the new hobby that a senior didn’t know that he or she was looking for.
Yoga will give seniors something to look forward to doing and learning, while also giving them the opportunity to meet new people. Likewise, yoga doesn’t have to be costly. Yoga studios offer various payment options as well as senior discounts. Or, there are various yoga videos online that seniors can use to their advantage for free.
Begin Your Yoga Journey Today
Whether you have been practicing yoga for years, or you are new to the practice, it’s important that you know the benefits. Yoga may be a past time, the exercise, the mental cure, or even the social outing that you have been looking for. Begin your journey today and find a studio and yoga practice that is right for you.
About the Author
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey. She is currently writing for Elite Facial Plastic Surgeons, who specializes in rhinoplasty.