Benefits of Yoga For Seniors With Arthritis And Health Concerns

yoga for over 60
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Today at THE DAILY MEDITATION office I received news of amazing new research into the benefits of yoga poses for seniors with arthritis.

There are so many reasons for seniors to do yoga. And I very firmly believe that we should be giving classes of yoga at nursing homes.

In this guide I will show you how to do yoga poses for seniors safely, the benefits of yoga for seniors and some friendly tips on how to practice yoga nursing homes or, indeed at your own home.

You will definitely want to read my guide to anti-aging meditation too.

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Benefits Of Yoga Poses For Seniors

This morning, news swung by the office that science has once again proven the anti-aging effects of yoga for seniors. The University of Edinburgh reviewed 22 clinical trials that investigated the benefits of yoga. They found that the majority of the traditional styles are anti-aging.

The researchers found that people over the age of 60, in particular, can significantly improve quality of life by practicing yoga daily.

The researchers compared it to other exercises for the over 60s, including aerobics. And they also considered the effects of different exercise programs—from 1 to 7 months and individual sessions from 30 to 90 minutes.

What they discovered was that there are serious benefits of yoga for anti-aging. Specifically:

    • It can keep you looking young
    • It helps seniors sleep better
    • Reduced symptoms of depression in seniors
    • Improved muscle strength and flexibility
    • Reduced symptoms of arthritis
    • Increased vitality
    • It reduced blood pressure 

Yogic workouts or other exercises?

Yoga is one of the best exercises for seniors, the researchers at the University of Edinburgh discovered.

Researchers compared it to other exercises for over 60s and found that it more effectively enhances muscles strength and flexibility, while also improving mental health conditions such as depression.

Divya Sivaramakrishnan tells us:

“A large proportion of older adults are inactive and do not meet the balance and muscle-strengthening recommendations set by the government and international health organizations.

“Based on this study, we can conclude that yoga has great potential to improve important physical and psychological outcomes in older adults. Yoga is a gentle activity that can be modified to suit those with age-related conditions and diseases.”

How one elderly yogi changed her life

For people over 60, yoga can massively improve quality of life, says Fiona Amour, 61, in an article on THE SCOTSMAN.

An art teacher from Edinburgh, Fiona Amour has been practicing yoga for 4 years and regularly does Vinyassa (flow). which she says is one of the best types of yoga for seniors.

“I was in my late 50s and had always been quite healthy but was beginning to feel the stresses of getting older. I had thoughts like ‘what am I doing?’, ‘where am I going?’ and wondering if I’d been successful enough.

Amour started taking a yoga for seniors class and soon saw the benefits.  

“When you go in to a class there is the typical chatter of the mind,” says Amour. “But when you are instructed to ‘inhale, move your arm this way’ for a whole hour it slows your breathing… It only takes a minute of slowing breathing to calm someone down.”

How To Do Yoga For Seniors

At over 60, yoga needs to be approached gently and wisely. Remember, we want to help our bodies with gentle exercise, we certainly don’t wish to do any harm. For that reason, if you want to do some seniors yoga poses, you are best to take it slow and steady and to keep it safe.

Here’s some tips when practicing yoga as a senior:

1. Quality over quantity

You know the song, “It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it. That’s what gets results…?”. Well, that really is what gets results.

If you want to do yoga as a senior, remember that your body is not as fit as it used to be. Go slowly and gently.

Forget about how long you can hold a pose for, and instead focus on how conscious you are of the yoga poses. When you experience muscle tightness, consciously relax the tight area.

 2. Find A Good Local Yoga Studio

When it comes to doing yoga, seniors should go gently and should practice in a supportive yoga group. There are some classes at nursing homes these days. And there are group yoga classes for seniors.

The important thing is to go gently.

Going gently reduces the chance of injury. It is also better for the mind to slow down and be more conscious when practicing.

Some teachers are better at teacher yoga to seniors than others, as explained in this article on Gaia.    

A good teacher will also help you to be aware of potential dangers such as decreased bone density and balance problems.

Plus, they will have the best props, such as bolsters and straps, to help you with your practice.

3: Use Props

 If you want to do yoga at home, get a good yoga prop.

A good prop set contains all the tools you need for a healthy, successful practice. 

  • TIP: If you’re going to do yoga at home, take it easy and support your body with a good yoga chair.

4.  The Best Anti-Aging Yoga Poses For Seniors

The best yoga poses for seniors are ones that do not rely on balance. Sadly, as we age we lose our balance and the last thing we want to do as seniors in yoga is fall over.

The best yoga poses for seniors are poses that offer plenty of support to the whole body. Think Downward Dog and Sphinx (DoYouYoga has a great article listing some of the best yoga poses for seniors. Read it here)

Some of the best yoga poses for seniors include:

  • Downward Dog
  • Sphinx
  • Bird Dog
  • Mountain Pose
  • Tree Pose Low
  • Lung Pose Bridge Pose
  • Legs-Up Wall Pose

5. Have Fun

I am firm believer in the idea that emotions heal.

Happiness and fun produce positive energy that can heal the body. That’s one reason why you should focus on using yogic poses for positive energy.

Make it fun and enjoyable. Not only will this boost your mood, but it will also help to relax your body and to release any tension. Happiness is a healer.

6. Combine It With Meditation

Make sure you combine your physical yoga exercise with mental exercises. To do this, practice yogic meditations.

When you combine asanas with meditation you get the best of both worlds. You exercise your body and your mind at the same time. And of course, there are very many benefits of meditation too.

For the best seniors’ yoga for over 60s, combine mindfulness exercises with physical poses and exercise your entire being.

When starting, try 20 minutes of poses followed by 20 minutes of meditation. In just 40 minutes you will exercise your entire being, ad you will feel great!

Summary

There are so many benefits of yoga for seniors. It offers a gentle exercise that improves balance, coordination and strength. It improves cognitive skills as well, and can even help to slow memory loss.

As we age we need to take better care of the body and mind. And yoga is one of the best ways to do this.

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By Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.

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