No, this is not a post about feet! It’s a post about yoga, specifically yoga for senior citizens.
I, David, did not write the post. Someone named Harry Cline did. Harry contacted me and asked if I would post it to my site, and I said yes. If you would like to contact Harry, here is his email address: [email protected]
Here is what Harry produced (.docx attached):
A Brief Introduction to Yoga and Meditation for Seniors
It is easy to dismiss yoga and meditation as just another health craze, but the body of research surrounding both practices has only increased over the past few decades. Science is now more convinced than ever of their potential for physical and mental health, and it has also never been easier to start practicing them at home. This is great news for seniors, who are under a lot of pressure to create healthy routines that sustain and nourish their mind and bodies.
How Yoga and Meditation Work
Yoga in the original Hindu sense is a series of movements designed to prepare the body for meditation. Nowadays, we use the term yoga to define a series of different practices that combine precise body movements with breathing techniques. Some are geared toward meditation and spirituality, while others are similar to a conventional workout.
Similarly, the origin of meditation is ancient and religious, but it is now becoming a practical tool for relaxation and stress relief. While there are many forms of meditation, the most common involve deep breathing combined with visualization or body-scanning techniques.
So, why are these practices beneficial? And what do these benefits mean for seniors? The answer is made up of a combination of elements:
- Movement – Yoga involves a series of postures that work on flexibility, balance, and full-body strength. Flexibility and balance tend to deteriorate naturally with age, while muscle loss (known as sarcopenia) is strongly linked to lack of exercise. The health benefits are also more complex and wide-reaching; exercises like yoga can boost gut microbiome, leading to improved gut health and a healthier digestive system.
- Breathing – Both yoga and meditation involve controlled deep breathing. Deep breathing has several health benefits, the most well-known being its potential for stress relief. This is a large part of what makes yoga a mental health practice as well as a physical one, and what makes it so ideal for seniors struggling with mental self-care.
- Spirituality – Yoga and meditation started out as spiritual and religious practices and, for many, they still are. According to the Conversation, spirituality can be an invaluable tool in dealing with the challenges of growing older. Engaging with the spiritual part of yoga and meditation, not just the practical parts, can greatly boost the benefits.
How To Get Started
Yoga and meditation are easy for seniors to start at home. It is a good idea to start by clearing out a dedicated space in your house, as this can help with motivation. If you don’t have a lot of room, you can move around some furniture or even put some clutter into storage — this in itself can be great for your stress levels. Just be sure to budget for the added monthly expense.
Then, just go online. There are thousands of free yoga videos available, with the gentle style of Yoga with Adriene being a worldwide smash hit. You can also pick up a yoga mat on Amazon for $11.99 (before shipping). For meditation, you need only search the words “guided meditation” to open up a whole world of mindfulness. You can also download a free meditation app. Headspace is a great beginner option, with a 30-day free program that gently introduces you to all the core concepts. After that, monthly subscriptions are $5.74 to $14.95.
Yoga and meditation came come a long way. From their humble beginnings in India several thousands of years ago to their current status as wellness cure-alls, their influence has been long-standing and complex. Nowadays, we are lucky to live in an age where we have science-backed proof of their effectiveness as well as free, easy ways to bring them into our lives. Seniors should start taking advantage of this opportunity and reaping the rewards.
A Brief Introduction to Yoga and Meditation for Seniors (Attachment, .docx of this article)