Yoga & Wellness For Seniors
Yoga for seniors combines gentle physical poses with mindfulness, breathing, and meditation. The combination of these practices increases mobility, and helps balance the nervous system. The research on yoga for seniors is preliminary, however, studies have found a yoga practice cultivates physical and mental wellness.
Yoga can improve strength, flexibility, and endurance, and studies have also found that regular practice may help things that seniors report experiencing, such as; lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, recovery from strokes and surgery, prevent falls, manage arthritis, pain and inflammation, manage diabetes, improve sleep quality, facilitate the grieving process, manage depression and anxiety.
When we consider these benefits on the whole, it’s not surprising that practicing yoga measurably improves seniors’ self reported sense of well-being. Yoga outperforms other exercises on several key metrics. For example, one study found that seniors assigned a yoga practice experienced greater improvements in regulating feelings of anger and anxiety, as well as increases to their sense of well-being and self-efficacy, than those in an exercise control group.
Yoga is unique in its ability to address a broad spectrum of wellness for senior students. Since yoga is not a purely physical practice, there is flexibility to adapt one’s practice to meet one’s needs. This is a significant factor why yoga has become so popular with seniors. In short, there IS a yoga practice available to you, no matter your age, or your physical limitations. Look for offerings of yoga for beginners, or yoga for every body, if you are not able to find a senior specific or chair yoga class.
Written by Jeannie O’Neill, Director of Development for the School For Radiant Living at Yoga Farm