Yoga yields numerous physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages. It can be particularly great for seniors, as it’s known to reduce back pain, lower blood pressure, and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Also, various poses are known to improve strength, balance, and flexibility in different muscles.
Furthermore, yoga is usually done alongside meditation, which can significantly reduce stress, boost self-awareness, and delay cognitive decline. If you and/or a loved one are looking to enhance your health and overall wellness, it’s hard to beat the combination of yoga and meditation. Here are some helpful tips on how to get started, brought to you by the Livingston County Consortium on Aging.
Give Your Gut Some Attention
One area that is getting more and more attention in the medical field is gut health. One reason it is such a hot topic for researchers is that gut health is strongly connected to other systems in the body. While diet has a lot to do with nurturing these microscopic organisms living in your digestive tract, sticking to an exercise routine can go a long way in boosting your gut microbiome. Considering all the benefits that come with yoga, combining yoga exercises with improved gut health can take your health and wellness to a new level. And if you make gut health a priority, you will feel the difference in no time!
Find Your Style
There are so many different kinds of yoga that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. For seniors, there are plenty of styles to choose from, and which you choose depends on what you’re looking to get out of it. For instance, Hatha is one of the most popular branches of yoga, and it emphasizes breathing and relaxation. Most of the postures in Hatha are safe for older adults, and it’s one of the best styles for stress relief.
Restorative yoga is another great style for seniors. With slow-paced classes, poses are held for two to five minutes at a time, and the primary goal is to soothe and regenerate you. If you’re looking to add a particular spiritual element to your yoga practice, kundalini may be a good fit.
Once you’ve found the yoga style that fits your life and needs, stick to your routine. Know that habits take time to form, and if you miss a session here and there, don’t sweat it. Like any habit, as your yoga regimen becomes ingrained in your life, it will get easier to stick to it.
There will be days when you don’t feel like doing it, and if there’s not a health concern or other legitimate reason to miss your session, remind yourself why you practice yoga and the benefits it yields. Furthermore, allow your routine to evolve as you find what works best for you. For instance, if you find that three longer sessions per week work better than five shorter ones, go that route. Remain open to trying different yoga styles, even if you have to make modifications.
Another way you can stay committed to yoga is by knowing that you can do it indoors and on your own, even when you don’t feel like going outside or the weather prevents you from doing so. In fact, doing yoga indoors requires only a good yoga mat and some apps or videos that allow you to follow along. While it’s always good to have an instructor when you’re starting out, you can fall back on these sources when getting to a session simply isn’t in the cards.
Although you will likely get meditation time during your yoga practice, it’s beneficial to fit it into your life in other ways. That way, if you miss a session here and there, or if an injury or illness keeps you off the mat for an extended period of time, you will still be able to reap the mental health benefits of meditation. The best thing about meditating is that you can do it from home. Create a clean and comfortable space so that you can meditate at any time of the day. Breathing exercises, adult coloring books, and guided meditation can all be effective methods.
Yoga and meditation can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Remember to look into how you can care for your gut health. Find the best yoga styles for you, and stay committed to your routine. Figure out ways to incorporate meditation in your life outside of yoga. Adding these practices to your routine will yield countless benefits and enhance your overall wellness.
The Livingston County Consortium on Aging works with supports agencies, businesses, and individuals who are concerned about the well-being of seniors. Learn more about us and what we do by clicking right here.
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