Yoga's Fantastic Benefits for Older Adults

Updated on August 4, 2018
Jana Louise Smit profile image

Jana is a yoga enthusiast who investigates every aspect of this ancient art with both Zen and zeal.

Source

Let's Kill the Biggest Myth

Am I too old? Never. Yoga is age-friendly. Anyone, from babies to grandmothers do it. That being said, any medical conditions and physical limitations must be taken into account. If they're serious, a quick chat with one's primary physician and yoga teacher is a responsible move. Overall, yoga is very flexible to most limitations, even those normally associated with advanced age. The asanas, or poses, can be adjusted to suit anyone who's very stiff or lacks endurance.

Exciting Reasons to Start

These days, old age is relative. Most people will agree that it happens when the body starts to slow down with creaks and stiffness. Around our mid-twenties, nearly everyone shows signs of aging; grey hair, wrinkles and the natural energy kids experience isn't there anymore. Here are enticing reasons to learn yoga, no matter if you're forty, sixty or ninety.

1. A Better Social Life

This benefit is only for those who want more friends and activities outside of the home. A sad fact is that way too many older adults are left behind or alone when the kids grow up and move away. Life partners leave or pass away and it's easy to become isolated. Yoga classes are very social, packed with like-minded individuals and already, many seniors are students. Very often, new friendships and social opportunities form when people meet for an activity, like yoga, on a regular basis.

Not everybody wants to do yoga in a public setting. Maybe you don't have the finances, access to a class or feel ashamed about not being physically “up to scratch.” Yoga can be practiced at home. Just always remember, this ancient art is about the person and not who's the best of the pack. There's no such thing as competitive yoga.

New Friends, New Opportunities

Group yoga is a great chance to meet new friends
Group yoga is a great chance to meet new friends | Source

2. Improved Body Functions

Yoga is a great way to slow and in some cases, reverse the effects of aging. Of course, it cannot stop this natural process entirely, but yoga can make sure that the body functions well. Few will disagree that there's nothing like chronic physical suffering. Life and old age can get complicated enough but to add aches, pains and disease worsen the quality of one's days.

Yoga can bring improvement in the following ways:

  • Better sleep and appetite
  • Recovery of bone mass and muscle tissue (and physical strength)
  • Optimal digestive system
  • Hormonal balance
  • Better blood circulation
  • A healthier immune system
  • Better functioning of internal organs
  • Correct body posture, which prevents back and joint problems
  • Greater mobility and endurance

3. A Sharper Mind

The number one fear most people associate with growing older is mental disease and memory loss. The good news is that the majority of declines happen because people no longer make the effort to keep themselves sharp. In a complex modern world, one often neglects to nourish the mind. Hardly surprising, since most people's attention is geared towards keeping the zillion strings of daily life together.

Yoga not only irons out physical creases, but also improves concentration, memory, and clear thinking. Poses require concentration and advancing in yoga requires learning. Meditation also plays a major role in boosting brain power. Requiring concise mental presence and focus, meditation techniques gradually brings tranquility and improved mental functioning.

4. Resilience

Yoga provides endurance in two ways, mentally and physically. Together, a resilience is born that makes coping with life easier. Older adults, from parents to grandparents, have more complex problems than young children. Finances, health and a swarm of other things cause stress on a daily basis. We all know friends and family, or a colleague who are stress wrecks. Their bodies are ruined through coping strategies like drinking, smoking, using drugs or stimulants and their minds are fearful, angry and tired.

A lot of life's most demanding responsibilities cannot be avoided, nor the inevitable crisis or bereavement. A regular yoga practice can help anyone weather the difficult times and come out the other side in good shape. Literally and figuratively. Even when the body is compromised by illness or an accident, meditation can provide the daily emotional refreshment one needs to reach better days. Yoga often also fosters the resilience to live with a chronic condition.

Meditation Tips

  1. For beginners or those with stiff joints, classic meditation poses like the Lotus pose, is not a necessity. One can meditate sitting at the table, resting in bed or even waiting for somebody in the car
  2. It can be very boring at first. Start with one minute and eventually add more time
  3. Meditation is about awareness—thoughts, physical sensations, what you hear and feel; then letting go of them as soon as they've been acknowledged
  4. Don't judge your meditation sessions as good as bad—acknowledge if one turned out terrible and frustrating and then let it go
  5. Some people keep a journal to record what they learn, how long sessions last and personal footnotes following their progress, especially when they meditate on a certain problem in their lives

Yoga Can Treat Your Biggest Concern First

A good yoga routine treats a specific problem or goal. Want to be more flexible? Have better balance? Then, a series of exercises, focusing on your biggest concern, needs to be practiced a few times a week. For example, many elderly people have a problem with falling. Yoga is an excellent way to achieve fantastic balance and avoid future fractures and hospital time. To regain one's strength and balance, standing poses are a good choice. Many have variations that increase in difficulty, making the practitioner stronger in achievable stages.

At the end of the day, you needn't be a yoga master or learn a hundred random postures to experience relief from what ails you. Identify what you want to 'fix' and talk to your yoga instructor to help you draw up a routine. You can also do your own research. Always remember to learn more about each posture's contraindications, or warnings. There are many asanas best not performed by individuals who have slipped discs, high blood pressure, hernias or tunnel carpal syndrome.

A Healthy and Active Life

As one gets older, one of the greatest joys is to be able to continue with life; activities and spending time with children and friends without feeling tired
As one gets older, one of the greatest joys is to be able to continue with life; activities and spending time with children and friends without feeling tired | Source

Saving the Best Benefit for Last

The best thing about this ancient art is that yoga peels away bias and prejudice against those who are older. Your life is never over because of your age, despite what younger generations and the media have to say. Yoga is progressive. Small victories on the exercise mat flips a switch in the mind, changing how a person views his or her limitations. By gradually achieving postures they never dreamed possible, most students experience the desire to explore more borders in their lives—old goals are suddenly back on the table, things that truly matter are more clear, and self-love starts to heal. Yoga teaches that you are not your limits, age included.

© 2018 Jana Louise Smit

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, remedygrove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://remedygrove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)