Getting Started with Yoga for Seniors
Are you looking for new ways to be healthier and happier? Yoga and meditation offer numerous perks, and many people are surprised at how easily they can slip participation into their daily routines. Here is how seniors and their caregivers can make yoga and meditation part of their lifestyles and enjoy a better quality of life.
Easier than you think
It’s not unusual for people to find yoga and meditation a bit intimidating. If you think you need to fold yourself into an impossible shape and hold it for hours on end, here’s some good news: you don’t. Virtually anyone is capable of participating in yoga, and many studios offer classes with modified positions. Having an instructor guide you, at least initially, can be a boon to many people. With an instructor there, you can ensure you’re performing poses correctly, and you can ask questions if you get nervous. If you think you can’t afford it, there is more good news. Some Medicare Advantage plans, including those plans provided by insurers such as Humana, might offer coverage for yoga classes.
If meditation is also a new realm for you, there are several techniques you can try that are well-suited for beginners. For example, you can focus on a sound, your breathing, a movement, or another sensation to help center your mind. The important thing is to get comfortable, quiet your mind and body, and find something that works for you.
Classes versus in-home practice
Attending a yoga class with a professional instructor is often the best way to get started in yoga. It’s a wonderful opportunity to have someone guide your movements and ensure you are aligning your body correctly, which can help you avoid hurting yourself. On top of all that, many seniors and caregivers face isolation. Getting involved with a group boosts social interaction, which Second Wind Movement points out can help lower risk for depression and loneliness. Connecting with others can also promote better brain health, potentially lowering your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. At the same time, one of the best things about yoga and meditation is that once you’re accustomed to the basics, you can practice at home. With a little floor space, a bit of equipment, and comfortable clothing, you can participate at will.
Setting up your yoga space
When weather is rough, or it just won’t fit into your schedule any other way, an in-home yoga sanctuary can be just the ticket you require. If you can dedicate a whole room, that’s wonderful, but even if you can only spare a little floor space, you really just need a quiet area with enough room to spread out. Ideally, your space will be uncluttered and open, although some people take comfort in a cozy atmosphere. So, consider what you will find relaxing. Houseplants, for example, are a popular addition since nature can be a great stress-reducer, and candles or oils in well-chosen scents can enhance the atmosphere. Cover your basics with a yoga mat, towel, and blanket, put on loose-fitting clothing, and you’re ready!
Benefits to you
In addition to being practices which offer convenience and flexibility, Psych Central notes that yoga and meditation offer health benefits to seniors and caregivers. You can lower your stress levels, reduce anxiety, decrease the risk of depression, and reduce inflammation. There are poses that can help with digestion, poses to enhance sleep, and poses that encourage better balance. There are also appropriate seated poses for those with mobility concerns.
Yoga and meditation are ideal practices for seniors and their caregivers. Virtually anyone can find a program that works well for them, and you can participate from home or engage with a class. Making these adaptive activities part of your days is sure to bring you better quality of life.
This blog article was written by guest blogger Harry Cline, who can be found at NewCaregiver.org.