Yoga is a series of poses that help ground the spirit, balance and detoxify the organs, strengthen and lengthen the muscles and limbs as well as improving confidence, mental focus, and clarity. Yoga can seem like an impossible fitness practice, that can only be done by the most flexible people. Social media yogis sometimes choose poses that are not only awe inspiring, but intimidating at the same time. When over forty years of age, yoga can feel like a chore for any person with little recent, prolonged stretching experience. Yoga does not have to be complicated. Participants just start and listen to their body. Yoga does not promote pushing a pose, but rather finding what feels good to the individual body.
Is it possible to start yoga later in life and reap all the possible benefits? It is. A yoga flow that most beginning or returning practitioners start with is the Sun Salutation. This is a series of 12 gracefully practiced poses usually performed during the morning hours. The purpose is to ‘greet’ the sun, because is yoga practices, the sun is seen as the great source of life- thus practitioners, salute the sun upon its rising. These poses can be done in many modified versions including using a chair or bed for those with less mobility or suffering from an illness. Yoga is sometimes prescribed as a meditative practice for those suffering from a terminal illness.
According to yogajournal.com, “Yoga is an excellent anti-aging tool, capable of relieving symptoms and in some cases improving medical outcomes. It doesn’t matter where you’re starting from or how old you are—movement and yoga can help.” As the body ages, it may encounter many changes in elasticity, stability, speed, strength, and endurance, as well as a different perspective on physical goals. Physical needs may go from high impact, weight loss goals to something more relaxing, balancing, and grounding like yoga. It is an option that can help the body heal at any stage of life, especially when there may be some aging or regression in physical capabilities.
Yoga should not hurt the body. It is a tool to listen to and connect with personal needs mentally, spiritually, and physically. Below are some of the anti aging benefits of yoga.
- 1. Osteoporosis/Osteopenia-By doing weight baring exercises, the body can moderately increase density in the bones. As we age, bone density decreases and susceptibility to fractures and injury increases. Yoga can help keep the bones strong.
- Arthritis- Using yoga to relieve arthritic pain is a possibility. Yoga increases range of motion and reduce stiffness in joints.
- Core Strength and Back Pain- Yoga includes many balancing poses that strengthen the core and back. By holding and bending the body for extended periods of time strength is naturally created. Hatha yoga may be helpful as it uses holding poses for longer periods of time.
- Nerve Issues- When nerves are injured or impaired, pain, cramping, numbness, and tingling can occur. Yoga increases circulation. Circulation increases blood flow to the muscles in the body, possibly helping relieve nerve pain. Movement and body awareness are key.
- Blood pressure- Research has shown that yoga decreases blood pressure due to its relaxing effects. Restorative yoga can help with relaxation.
- Asthma- If your asthma is aggravated by exercise, using a slower paced, or balanced focus yoga routine can reduce asthmatic symptoms.
- Insomnia and Sleep Issues- Using intentional breathing, slow moving, yoga exercises the body can slow down, creating a drowsy or tranquil state. Try doing a slower paced yoga before bed for better rest.
- Detoxification- Twisting, turning, and breathing are all excellent ways to cleanse and heal the organs. Most forms of yoga use breathing exercises and poses that include twist and turns.
Yoga is helpful in healing the body in many ways. Age creates stiffness, less mobility, elasticity, and strength, among other aging effects. Yoga is often viewed as an anti aging practice and can be done anywhere including in the bed. Any body type and any age can find a style of yoga that works for them. There are many resources online as well as in the community –it just takes a little research. 612Jungle in Minneapolis is owned by a Black woman. Yess Yoga has classes taught by Black yoga professionals as well. Get online and find something that works for you. It is possible to enjoy the aging process.
Brandi D. Phillips BS, MBA is a freelance Health and Wellness Writer, Entrepreneur, mother of 2, and life partner. If you have any questions about this article, feel free to contact her at [email protected]