Yoga is a great way to maintain wellness at any age, but especially during the elder years. Yoga is a full practice and lifestyle in the Indian culture. There are levels practiced on the physical and mental level that allows for full understanding and even immortality in the physical sense. The Western culture has taken certain aspects of yoga and developed practices that are more on the physical level. The physical benefits include:
- Increasing Flexibility – yoga has positions that act upon a variety of joints of the body, including those that are not commonly exercised but should be in order to enjoy full mobility possibilities
- Increasing lubrication of the joints, ligaments, and tendons – The positions practiced also work the ligaments and tendons that help release the necessary biological lubrication to prevent them from becoming injured. The results of flexibility are immediate because those that have been worked during regular exercise help those during the practice of yoga, so essentially they work together to achieve the greatest flexibility.
- Massaging of all organs of the body – Massaging organs is a new and foreign concept to those not familiar with physiology and/or yoga. The common train of thought is that the organs are there to perform their specified purpose and do not need any outside manipulation. However, yoga does massage all the organs and this helps in the fight against disease; it also helps provide a forewarning of disease.
Why The Elderly?
Unfortunately, our lifestyles have become very sedentary. We are own worse enemies and seniors have not escaped that lifestyle. We have this misconception that elders can no longer be a part of the useful society. They have become victim to this thought where the television schedule dictates their life. However, the muscles have a funny way of not working when they are not used. The theory of “use it or loose it” comes into play here.
What is interesting though is other cultures view elders much differently. In the Indian culture, they believe that an age of fifty years is perfect for yoga because at that age, people reach a higher level of consciousness. Yoga works with body and mind. As we get older, we have a better perspective of life and we tend to change. The spiritual side of the world becomes more important and this understanding and respect creates a wonderful foundation for elderly people to start yoga.
How Do You Start?
It is important to understand that there are a variety of forms of yoga. The more physical versions would not be a great benefit to the elder community, but the deep breathing and relaxed movements would greatly benefit them. It is also important that elders understand the concept of gradual progress. They should begin by practicing yoga with gentle movements. The whole practice can be formed, for weeks or even months, of only warm up exercises. By taking these yoga exercises step by step to higher levels elders can enjoy increased physical strength and better circulation.
Why Do Yoga?
Elders seem happy in their sedentary life because it what they have known for so long. There are some negative effects of this lifestyle that may include back pain, muscle cramps, weak bones, osteoporosis, joint pain, and decreased mobility. Many people are of the belief that these symptoms go with the lifestyle, but that does not have to be. It is an easy vicious cycle that elders get caught in; but yoga may help break that cycle.
Yoga is centuries old and practiced at different levels in different cultures. Yoga has different levels that can be achieved that will free the body and the mind. Yoga is for men and women and can be practiced at all ages. It is best that an elder contacts their physician and lets them know that they want to add yoga to their life. Their physician may have experienced trainers that they work with and is certain to be able to help the individual determine what level and speed of practice can be safely enjoyed.
My website contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase any products mentioned in my articles, I may receive a commission. If you do, thank you!