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Yoga For Senior Citizens



Yoga can be good for adults of all ages, especially seniors. Studies have shown that yoga can be extremely helpful when it comes to combating stress, fatigue and pain. Some yoga poses increase core strength and balance, which reduces the risk of fall-related injuries. Other poses can alleviate senior-related health issues such as menopause. Above all, yoga is a form of exercise that can help seniors feel younger.

Even though you may never be able to bend yourself into a pretzel, learning some simple yoga poses can improve your overall quality of life. If you're just starting out, look for a beginning class taught by a certified yoga instructor. Good instructors will help you attain correct body positioning and encourage you to learn your body's limits. You may not able to perform all the poses or hold them for very long, but good teachers understand that and encourage you to do your best. Yoga books and DVDs are other tools that can help you reap the benefits of yoga.

Getting older can certainly come with its fair share of aches and (back) pains, but yoga can strengthen the muscles that support your back. Most postural habits are due to either chronically stiff muscles, or chronically weak muscles.

In most cases, seniors can absolutely do yoga. Many people with hectic schedules only find the time for activities such as yoga in retirement. Though the trend is to become more sedentary, retirement is the perfect time to pick up healthy habits that will promote longevity. Attending a regular yoga class will also establish a sense of community with teachers and fellow students. People with arthritis should check for specialized classes in your area.

What kind of yoga depends on your age, current level of fitness and physical ability. If you are starting a fitness regime for the first time (or after a long break) or have already lost significant muscle tone and flexibility, you should start with a very gentle hatha practice. Although it is possible to learn yoga from books and videos, the best way is through teacher instruction in a yoga class. Attending class will allow you to get the most out of yoga with the least risk of injury. Yoga classes especially for seniors are becoming increasingly available: check local senior centers, retirement communities, religious organizations and even health clubs. If you can't find a special senior class, a gentle beginners class will do.

The benefits of yoga for seniors are much the same as those for the general population: increased muscle tone, balance, strength, and improved mood. Through pranayama (breathing exercises) lung capacity is increased. You can expect your posture to improve and you may sleep better. If you experience stress, yoga can help counteract that too. But keep in mind that these benefits will not come overnight after a single yoga class. Regularly attending at least three classes a week will allow you to enjoy the best yoga has to offer.

Be sure to speak to your doctor before trying yoga, especially if you suffer from any chronic conditions or are very inactive. Those with spinal disk problems or glaucoma should take special care, as there are poses to avoid (twists and inversions, respectively.

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