The population of people over 65 is rapidly growing while also working hard to stay fit and active in order to maintain their health. In order to meet their health goals, the older population is often turning to yoga because it can be modified in a way to be gentle while still being effective. While the interest is there, the problem is that there aren’t enough qualified instructors who can teach yoga for seniors. Our yoga studio in Smithfield, NC wants to highlight this concern as well as discuss the unique training that goes into teaching an older population.
What are the Benefits of Beginning Yoga for Seniors?
While yoga offers unique physical, mental, and spiritual benefits to people of all ages, it can be especially beneficial for senior citizens, often improving common chronic health problems a majority of them face. Some of the benefits senior citizens experience include:
Osteoporosis, a loss of bone mass and density, is a common occurrence with age, but it can be very serious, leading to brittle bones that are prone to breaking more easily. Yoga can prevent the onset of osteoporosis and thus, prevent seniors from breaking a bone, a problem that often leads to further complications.
Falls can be very serious for the older population, especially in conjunction with osteoporosis, and is the leading cause of injury in senior citizens. Yoga helps people find their center and strengthen their core, leading to improved balance that can help reduce dangerous falls.
Relieve Depression and Stress
Depression, isolation, stress, and tension are a growing problem among the elderly. Yoga classes for seniors are an excellent solution because the breathing and meditation can naturally uplift the mood while the class environment offers a way to stay socially active.
Reduces Muscle and Joint Pain
Osteoarthritis affects over half of the population over 65, but yoga can offer some relief by gently improving the flexibility of the joints and increasing muscle tone.
The Complexities of Teaching Yoga to Seniors
While yoga can be an excellent health and social opportunity for senior citizens, there is a shortage of qualified teachers who are trained in the unique needs of an older population. While a 200 hour yoga teacher training course provides an in-depth instruction in how to work with the majority of the population, instructors who wish to work with seniors need added training for several reasons.
Understanding how the body changes with age is necessary to teaching yoga to seniors in order to provide a safe, effective experience. Because of decreased mobility, flexibility, and chronic health concerns, most senior citizens are unable to fully take part in a standard class. Knowing how to modify poses to specifically meet their needs, or teaching chair yoga to help improve balance and core strength among those with limited mobility are necessary in this role.
While every instructor has their own way of communicating, communicating with seniors, especially in assisted living environments, can be more of a challenge. Factoring in hearing, cognition, and simple generational differences are necessary for your students to have a great experience and connect with you as an instructor.
Sensitivity to Older Adults
Older adults face complex challenges and as an instructor, it’s important to honor their experiences and respect their unique strength while being aware of their vulnerabilities.
Training Instructors to Provide Yoga Classes for Seniors
In order to teach seniors, it’s necessary to first receive your 200-hour yoga teacher training, then take an additional training course, often between 25 and 45 hours, depending on the class. In these classes, you’ll often learn about:
- Anatomy and physiology of older people
- Emotional and cognitive needs
- Common health concerns
- Recognizing vulnerabilities
- Making sure each student is in the proper class
- Communicating and connecting with senior students
Get Certified to Teach Yoga for Seniors
At The Yoga Connection, we understand the importance of having dedicated, caring, and knowledgeable instructors to teach yoga for seniors. That’s why we offer an in-depth program designed to protect and honor their unique needs. If you’re dedicated to working with an elderly population and want to learn more about becoming certified, we can help. First, it’s important that you receive your 200-hour yoga certification and following that, we can also provide you the in-depth training you need to move on in your career! To learn more, reach out to us today at 919-971-1431 or fill out our contact form today!