Yoga is more than a trend; it is a lifestyle—thousands of years old practice of leading a healthy life. It is a holistic approach towards life which benefits mind, body and the soul. The fact that it has not only lasted for millenniums in the East, it has also taken the Western world by the storm, is a proof of its efficacy. Apart from physical movements yoga also involves controlled yet free breathing, which along with developing awareness of one’s body is functional in strengthening our mind and body from the inside.
- Yoga allows one to be mindful, which means we have greater control over our thoughts and our mind. This helps in increasing the mental strength considerably, which is very important at old age. It also keeps the mind alert, thereby reducing memory problems.
- Yoga doesn’t require any tools or external accessories. It coaxes one to stretch and twist the body which increases joint movement and agility, thereby reducing muscle inflammation, and chronic pain. Also, strengthening the muscles and bones help to counter the corrosion of bones and muscles due to old age.
- Age affects the balance of the body considerably. Yoga, by strengthening the muscles and the bones, and by improving the posture increases the body balance as well.
- Yoga also involves breathing exercises which reduce anxiety and oxidative stress considerably. Reducing the oxidative stress, along with greater control over mind and thoughts, reduces hypertension.
- With progressing age, sleep becomes hard to come by. Yoga is also physically and mentally restorative. Better breathing, greater mindfulness along with reduced anxiety and stress makes it easier for the elderly to sleep well at night.
Top 9 tips
- The thought of contorting the body into a pretzel shape is daunting. Yoga, however, isn’t all about flexibility. It also involves breathing exercises, simple stretching, and easy asanas as well. Do not be afraid because it is never too late to start doing yoga.
- Starting something new is exciting; however, never push your body beyond its limits. Flexibility is fun and exciting, but let it come with time. First focus on increasing the body and muscle strength, followed by an increase in agility. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Opt for simple asanas, and exercise only as much as you can handle. Overburdening the body may lead to joint or muscle pain.
- Always remember that cell growth and repair decrease with time and age. Therefore, if you happen to hurt yourself while exercising, chances are it won’t heal as quickly.
- Never shy away from taking extra precautions whenever they are necessary. Let your instructor know if a particular pose is hurting your joints or muscles.
- Also, never worry about perfection or frequency. The quality of the yoga is more important than the quantity. No matter how much time you spend exercising, doing yoga without an awareness of the body and mind is ineffective.
- Do not lose hope after day one. Yes, it is challenging, especially when your bones and muscles have not been stretched and exerted so much previously. Have patience and exercise with a smile. It isn’t a bitter pill which must be taken, so having fun is of utmost importance.
- Yoga isn’t just about losing weight or increasing body balance and flexibility. It also involves healing the mind. Don’t do the asanas mindlessly; yoga is mentally restorative as well. Breathing exercises are equally important. Learn to focus and control your thoughts during the yoga class.
- The yoga classes you opt for are just as important as a good yoga teacher. Join the classes which cater to the needs and requirements of the elderly, especially women. With time and age, a woman’s body goes through numerous changes; therefore, the yoga classes they opt for should be mindful of all these things. Yoga classes which teach you to tackle menopausal issues well are beneficial.
- Never underestimate Shavasana; it has its benefits as well. While merely lying on the yoga mat may not seem like much, it makes you aware of your mind and body. It reduces stress and anxiety as well. It is usually done after all the other yoga poses because it is restorative in nature.
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