Can yoga actually benefit seniors?
Isn’t yoga all about an intensive physical practice where you writhe around on the floor and put your body into a series of contorted positions?
From the perspective of an outsider, perhaps yoga may look that way. However, the yoga instructors at the studio I attend often provide classes for seniors at senior centers as well as community centers. They do it because they have seen first-hand the great benefits of yoga on our elderly population.
Yoga can help seniors stay active, improve their flexibility and the suppleness of their muscles. It also helps them with their proprioception, their ability to know where their body is in terms of the space around them. Loss of proprioception is the leading cause of falls in seniors today. Perhaps a yoga class for grandma would be a superb idea.
It might even be better if you joined her!
Yoga can help promote healthy bones, improve flexibility, and provide a certain amount of stress relief which translates into a more positive attitude and better sleeping habits.
Yoga is safe for all ages. But especially seniors. It helps them to keep their minds and bodies in good health.
As a senior, you want to make sure the yoga instructor for your class knows you are a senior. They will then take the time to come and chat briefly with you to see if you have any issues they need to know about. Then, during the class, they will observe carefully, and the best ones know how to come over to you, gently reposition an arm, a knee, provide a prop or suggest a modification that makes that particular pose available to you.
No yoga instructor wants you to feel that you are out of your league. Most well-trained yoga instructors know that they will be working with a variety of limited abilities. When you find a good instructor, hang onto them! A good yoga instructor will make the difference between loving or hating yoga.
I once participated in a chair yoga class, designed to assist those recovering from cardiac events like heart attack or open heart surgery. Most of the participants were not able to get up and down from the floor. The yoga instructor then prepared a series of yoga movements to be done from a seated position in a chair. The benefits at the end of the class were remarkable. A couple of people left as soon as the class was over, but the rest stayed to ask more questions about how they could continue a regular yoga practice on their own.
Seniors come in all shapes, sizes, and physical abilities. Whether you are a senior, or you love a senior, look into an appropriate yoga class/practice that will help them achieve a greater quality of life.