There is no doubt among its practitioners that yoga is one of the best ways to improve yourself — mind, body, and soul. As the popularity of yoga grows, so does the age range of those choosing to get into it. Seniors, maybe more than any other age group, can truly benefit from this amazing form of exercise.
What’s so great about yoga?
There are dozens of noted benefits of yoga. These range from the physical (improved flexibility, posture, muscle preservation, bone health, and joint health) to the mental (improved focus, elevated mood, stress release, and relaxation). Many even find a spiritual benefit to yoga.
These benefits are more pronounced in seniors, who may need them even more than younger yogis. Another often overlooked yoga benefit is that it is a gateway to better mindfulness. This mindfulness connects yoga and a form of meditation, making us more in tune to our present — true focus on our body, mind, and spirit. The Health Journals notes that “with seniors, it can create a sense of connectedness, a feeling of empowerment; it can improve sleep, reduce signs of depression, improve the way we breathe.”
Start with Some Beginner Poses
You don’t have to jump right into intermediate or advanced yoga. In fact, you don’t even have to start practicing a full routine. It’s actually better to get familiar with some basic yoga poses. Yoga will wait for you; you don’t have to rush your progress. The AARP recommends getting familiar with some low-stress classic poses like Warrior II, Tree Pose, Plank, and Camel.
Always Prepare Your Body for Yoga
Your ability to succeed at yoga can be greatly influenced by how you power your body. The best way to prepare yourself to practice yoga is to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep. One solid tip is to avoid eating and drinking large quantities of liquids at least an hour beforehand. It’s also advisable to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugar prior to and following a yoga session.
Find a Teacher
Sure, there’s a chance that you can figure this all out on your own. However, there’s an even better chance that you won’t learn how to fully benefit from yoga unless someone guides you through the process. For seniors especially, having a qualified yoga teacher can help you learn quicker and with more accuracy. Getting started on the right foot means learning the perfect posture for the poses in order to avoid injury.
Don’t Do It on Your Own
There’s no rule that says yoga must be a solitary activity. In fact, many people prefer to practice yoga with someone else. If you’re having a bit of trepidation about starting yoga, consider finding a partner — that partner can be human or even canine. That’s right, doing yoga with your dog is fun, easy, and increasing in popularity.
It also may behoove you to find group yoga classes in your area. Whether human, dog, or a hybrid, practicing yoga in a group gives you examples of good yoga form and extra motivation to keep at it. Plus, you can’t discount the social health benefits of having a regular exercise group!
Yoga isn’t tight pants and bending into a pretzel. Millions and millions of people around the world — from the very young to the very old — practice yoga to stay in shape, improve the function of their body’s many systems, and boost their mental health. You can and should get into this amazing, low-impact form of meditation exercise. It’s easier than you think.