According to the Yoga Journal, a magazine that specializes in all things yoga, says there is a growing number of senior practicing Yoga to help their daily functional needs and mobility. The journal states, 20% of the 16 Million Americans practicing yoga are seniors
“The benefits of yoga have long been said to slow—or even gently reverse—the aging process… [seniors] practicing yoga can restore mobility and vitality to their lives.” -Yoga Journal
Yoga Journal recently released an article on recent scholar scientific studies and research that yoga has become increasing popular in senior and middle-age yogis and because “The benefits of yoga have long been said to slow—or even gently reverse—the aging process… [seniors] practicing yoga can restore mobility and vitality to their lives.” Yoga practices has been increasing widespread in yoga and fitness studios, as well as senior citizen assistance living homes.
It has been proven that practicing yoga can be beneficial to the body, both physically and mentally.
One of the biggest benefits for senior citizens to practice Yoga is the ability to increase vitality, flexibility, and mobility to help them with their day to day lifestyle, as well as, reduce risk and ailment involved with age. In 2014, ABC News released an article stating studies show that Yoga can treat many physical ailments including joint, muscle pain, insomnia, heart rhythm disorder, breast cancer recovery, and high blood pressure; many of which baby boomers tend to develop in their golden years. Senior yoga can help participates regain independence and the ability to function without support.
Mentally is the second benefit for seniors to participate in Yoga exercises because it gives participates the ability to empower themselves and their attitude on life. Frank Iszak, founder of the Silver Age Youth program in Del Mar, California states, “yoga can be as much about connecting with the will to live and will to heal as it is about stretching and relaxing…yoga also helps these seniors feel less isolated.”
Are there any special circumstances for Senior Yoga?
When working with senior yoga students, it is important to know that a key element is recognizing that different circumstances are needed to adapt to their physical needs “to reduce fracture risk is the concept of a loaded spine, which refers to the amount of pressure on the spine and represents a combination of the weight of the head and upper body as well as the pull and tug of muscles and ligaments on the vertebral bodies.” (Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors, idealift.com)
An important part of senior yoga is understanding that senior students may have some physical problems that make it complicated for them to do some poses, but with props and modifications, they can still achieve success. Modifications are changes in poses for a more comfortable approach to a pose without losing value in physical and breathing exercises. Also, Iszak recommends “including longer meditation sessions in senior classes, as well as frequent breaks—brief moments in Savasana, or Corpse Pose, for example.”
Another aspect of senior yoga is encouraging elderly students to use props to help them gain vitality and mobility; as well as, keep them from reaching or stretching too far, too fast. The use of props is important because it helps the students with their different physical disadvantages, balance and support their joints and bones. The Senior Fitness Association recommends “modifications that encourage them to use each other for support and balance, when appropriate, to increase physical contact”
The last important special circumstance for senior yoga is slowing of pace. Due to the different physical ailments, elderly yogis may need a slower pace, in order to adapt to different poses like Plank, Cobra, Cat, Cow or Triangle. Suza Francina, author of The New Yoga for People Over 50, says “slow and gentle allows an aging body to go deeper into the pose.” Slowing down the pace is beneficial to the senior practitioner because it teaches them to increase breathing and thoroughly extract all the benefits of the pose.
The Yoga Connection in Smithfield, North Carolina specializes in helping seniors achieve their yoga goals. We offer different yoga classes for every body type and every situation. Purchase your six, twelve, or monthly class pass today.