YOGA

Senior Yoga helps one to decompress from the day to day stresses. Its poses/postures are a series of movements and breath controls which help to regulate the body and quiet the mind. Yoga is an Indian practice, but here in the western world 'Hatha Yoga' is more commonly practiced; because more emphasis is placed upon exercise rather than meditation. However, both forms (exercise and meditation) have come to improve the health and well being of those seniors who practice on a regular basis.

Sonny Rollins, who is over 81 years old, is an enduring and great jazz tenor saxophonist, who has practiced Yoga since 1968. He was asked by AARP magazine, how it has influenced his music. “It has made me a more serious person…. When I perform, I try to have a blank mind so things come from my unconscious”.
For the aged, yoga is excellent because it requires slow deliberate movements, which aide in the learning process and limits injuries. Though it may look slow and easy, it works the major muscles through its series of poses. Other added benefits is that it supports one’s efforts of looking inward at self, preserves memory and reduces depression. One instructor (Richard Rosen) practices the ABC of Yoga. A=alignment or proper positioning of parts; B=breath; C=consciousness of your own body/inner self. 

In the senior years, we are not as apt to indulge in an exercise which requires a great deal of rigorous or continuous energy to perform, unless it is something we have been doing for some time. In many cases, age present physical issues which limit agility.

Other reasons why yoga is a great form of exercise for the old body is because it helps to develop and maintain balance, coordination, stamina and prevent falls. Because of its calming affect yoga also improves breathing, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Yoga acts upon multiple areas; and helps to reduce the risk of diabetes, arthritis, back pain as well as provide more restful sleep for those who practice it on a regular basis. Walking also is low impact and works all parts of the anatomy, but wouldn’t you like to get more for your efforts by including the mind and spirit?

As we age, we want to keep the brain active with positive thoughts so that we may live in the present and enjoy life so much more. We also learn through this form of exercise to relax, release tension, stay in tune with ourselves and maintain a better perspective of the world.

Experiment with the different classes offered in your community, to find your niche. Don’t worry about others, as a beginner you are there to search for a means to improve you and your life’s journey. Usually, classes are available for all ages, sizes, and abilities. You may find chair yoga (sitting while you perform the different poses) for those with balance problems or weak muscles.

While not a competitive sport, yoga's uniqueness helps to bring about self-discipline and stability so that we may experience desired tranquility, peace and a lifetime of fitness. 

YogaAlliance.org