Yoga for Seniors
Yoga is a practice suitable for all ages and all abilities. Yoga helps us to age more gracefully!
The use of modifications, variations and props allows students of all ages to participate in and enjoy classes.
Yoga can help with:
- strengthen muscles
- increase flexibility
- improve balance & reduce risk of falls
- improve immune function
- improve posture
- improve lung function and lead to slower and deeper breathing
- improves circulation
- improves joint health and strengthens bones
- promotes weight loss
- lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol
- improves digestion
- pain relief and management
Both as a society and individually we are changing our attitude to what is considered appropriate behavior!
A few decades ago retirement may have implied quietly pottering around the garden or seeing grandchildren at weekends whereas modern retirees are traveling the world, discovering new hobbies, bungee jumping and generally behaving like they are not restricted by their physical age in years.
The latest research shows that how we age has more to do with our beliefs and mindset about ageing than any other factor. This demonstrates how consciousness affects our health in general; if we expect to feel weak and fragile then we will!
Gerontologists are proving that remaining active throughout life helps prevent muscle and skeletal tissue loss. The two oldest sisters in the USA, Sarah and Elizabeth Delany, have been photographed (then ages 102 and 104) with one practicing Shoulderstand, the other stretching in a pose with one foot behind her head. This highlights how using our bodies helps stop them deteriorating and becoming weaker! Yoga practice helps us age in a more comfortable way.
‘We need to change our idea of what aging is. If I know my biological potential is 130 years, then I don’t consider myself middle-aged until I’m 65. . . . One of the great principles of mind/body medicine is that expectancies determine outcome. If you expect to remain strong in old age, you will.’
(Deepak Chopra M.D., Ageless Body, Timeless Mind)
The many benefits are said to include the slowing – or even slowly reversing – of the aging process. It is said it is more accurate to judge age by the flexibility of the spine rather than in years!
There are increasing amounts of scientific research showing positive effects of yoga practice for everything from depression and anxiety to heart issues. It has been shown to help alleviate or reduce many health concerns of the sedentary and the older adult population. These may include
- Decreased social activities
- reduced joint flexibility
- lack of balance/coordination
- back pain
- high blood pressure
- increased body fat, especially around the middle
- decreased muscle & strength
- breathing difficulties
- poor blood circulation
- vision problems
- chronic pain
- stress &/or anxiety-related symptoms
- insomnia/difficulty sleeping
Use it or lose it…
As we grow older, we typically move less. The less we move, the more we can stiffen up, lose muscle mass and become susceptible we become to a variety of ailments. Extended periods of sitting lead to muscular shortening, tightening and weakening, and also lack of balance that increases the risk of falls. Complications resulting from falls can lead to other serious problems, and often even lower levels of activity as confidence and fitness decrease. Lack of weight-bearing activity contributes to osteoporosis. Lack of movement and stretching leads to joint deterioration and loss of flexibility, this can also increase arthritic pain and stiffness.
Tabitha’s own experience with arthritis gives her personal experience and interest in the therapeutic application of practice in alleviating pain, stiffness and other symptoms. Exercise referral in association with your GP may also be available. For more information please discuss with the teacher and your GP.
She is also available to teach privately organized small groups, one-to-one and yoga therapy.