Practicing yoga CAN help the seniors live a better life. You don’t believe us? Let us explain it to you.
Aging brings the risk of developing bone and tissue disease as the levels of collagen drop and muscles weaken. However, many patients diagnosed with osteoporosis or similar illness see positive effects on their condition in practicing Hatha yoga.
What is more, by actively employing different relaxation and meditation techniques, yoga benefits seniors who experience stress by reducing the level of the stress hormone cortisol.
Main advantages of Hatha yoga for seniors:
- Better flexibility;
- Strengthens the body and increases its capabilities;
- It benefits the peripheral neuro system and increases levels of relaxation;
- Helps ease joint pain;
- Benefits coordination and posture;
- It helps balance;
What is Hatha yoga?
For most people, yoga is a vague term that symbolizes the union of philosophy and employing physical exercise to get the ability to know oneself. While it is true that it was initially rooted in ancient philosophical practices, today, yoga is majorly associated with a good balance of healthy lifestyle.
Hatha yoga is a gentle yoga practice wildly recommended for beginners. It consists of three main elements.
The first one is called pranayama, or breathing exercise. Breathing properly is essential to exercise better control over your mind and body.
The second one is the poses or postures, which vary in style and difficulty. They promote strength and flexibility.
The third one is meditation. Meditation is a process that helps you self-reflect and gain balance.
Thanks to its many benefits, yoga is recommended at various facilities and institutions that offer care for seniors. Older people especially find yoga beneficial because it is not risky and, at the same time, gives a wide ray of advantages.
However, before joining, consulting with your physician is always a good idea. Instructors can offer a suitable exercise plan for your fitness level.
Hatha yoga and its benefits
Bringing together opposites is evident in the Hatha yoga techniques. In Sanskrit, Hatha yoga exemplifies the union of the sun and the moon.
During a session, poses of opposite movements are introduced one after the other to balance the body. This is great for seniors because it lets them control their posture and balance better.
Another benefit of Hatha yoga is that it allows the participant to indulge in each posture for extended periods than other practices. Every position brings relaxation through breathing techniques, and seniors find their balance.
Additionally, Hatha yoga uses props to help enhance performance and proves that everyone and every age can practice yoga.
In fact, many recent research papers indicate that yoga is extremely helpful for seniors because it benefits balance and strength. It does not only help with mobility but also benefits stress levels, healthy sleep, and muscle tonus. If you think yoga is only for the bendy ones, think again!
With age, our muscles weaken, and that is only natural. However, Hatha yoga poses can help slow that process and help seniors get better muscle tonus. Even though Hatha yoga exercises are not as extensive as other types of yoga, it helps without putting too much strain on the person and their muscles.
Flexible and bendy
Many seniors experience difficulties with even mundane tasks such as tying a shoelace. That is because advanced age decreases our flexibility, and we are not as bendy as we once were. Hatha yoga utilizes poses that help muscle elasticity and enhance our ability to stretch. Even if you are new to Hatha yoga, you will soon feel better at bending than before.
Many elderly people experience pain caused by lesser movement ability or some disease. Hatha yoga can help with low-back pain, aches caused by arthritis, and hip pain. It also benefits those who generally lead a more sedentary way of life. As the combination of physical and breathing activities is helpful for stress-relieve, it also helps with pains caused by stress stiffness.
Yoga is balance
Some seniors find it hard to keep their balance. Impaired balance frequently causes accidents that lead to breaks and injuries. Hatha yoga helps older people practice their ability to stay stable while performing everyday activities such as walking. By practicing postures such as Tree, seniors reduce the chance of serious incidents.
Yoga for the bones
Bone density decreases with advanced age. That is why a lot of seniors suffer breaks more frequently. Hatha yoga helps by engaging opposing muscles and, thus, causes more strain on the bones resulting in greater cell production. Therefore, yoga increases bone density and strengthens the bones of a practitioner.
Brain functions deteriorate with age, and elderly people struggle to maintain a good memory. Hatha yoga enhances concentration with breathing techniques and boosts brain activity. It relaxes the nervous system, which relieves stress and also helps with the ability to stay calm and focused.
Improves the mood
Among the many benefits of yoga is that it helps with the mood. Practitioners report that improved body functions and relaxation also rocketed their mood. What is more, practicing yoga in a class with other seniors can create a sense of community and, thus, help the ones who suffer from loneliness.
As we already said, yoga can indeed be a relaxing experience. Many seniors who do Hatha yoga (or yoga generally) report a significantly better sleep experience. Part of this is because of the reduced stress and the relaxation techniques we use in yoga. According to certain research, yoga can help people diagnosed with insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders. Read more here.
Reduced risk of depression
Many older people suffer from depression, and that’s completely normal. But it doesn’t mean that they have to accept this condition. Luckily, yoga can act as a mood booster for these people. The main reason for this is the combination of movement, meditation, and the social activity of yoga.
More reasons to try Hatha yoga
Undoubtedly practicing yoga is beneficial for both mental and physical health. Adding to the many advantages is the fact that it vitalizes and energizes, which gives a lot of seniors a sense of aging with less difficulty. It gets you back on track with your own body, and everyone can advance at th eir own pace. Hatha yoga aims to help your overall condition without putting any strain.
On top of that, joining a yoga class gets you to meet people from different walks of life, broadening your horizons and allowing you to get to know people you would not usually.
However, even if you are not out for new friends, you can still talk to people who share the same exercise routine and benefit from their perspective.
All you have to do is find the most convenient yoga studio for you. Go for it!
Q: How can yoga help older people?
A: Yoga can be beneficial for the elderly in various ways. It includes general health, mood, and concentration.
Q: Can I practice yoga if I’m older?
A: There’s no problem with enjoying yoga, even if you’re an older man or a woman. You might not be able to follow the younger people’s tempo, but nobody will also expect it. Just have fun!
Q: What if I’m ashamed to do yoga because I’m too old?
A: You shouldn’t be. Yoga is literally for everyone – from the youngest to the oldest. Yogis are very happy and kind people, so nobody will mock you.