Yoga has definitely found itself in the mainstream when it comes to rest and relaxation. The market for stress relief has skyrocketed within the last few years, as general stress levels have also been on the rise. Millennials are known as the most anxious and stressed generation, our political climate has never felt more futile and divided, and our economy seems to fluctuate like ocean waves, which are filled with plastic now by the way. Regardless of the reasoning, people of all ages are living more stressful lives, and that takes a huge toll on our mental and physical motivation and health.
Yoga is one of the top ways people relieve stress. The process involves breath control, deep stretching, hundreds of positions, mindfulness, meditation, and a sense of self control. The mental and physical health benefits are equally amazing, and allows individuals to do something that improves their overall well-being. There are many different types of yoga all at different levels of intensity, but all induce the same result. A certain connection of mind, body, and soul.
Accessible Chair Yoga class
A growing type of yoga is taking the senior citizen community by storm and the only equipment it involves is an open mind and a chair. Chair yoga isn’t only for senior citizens and actually was originally started as a means for individuals just getting into yoga who have some issues staying balanced. The practice of Yoga in general can work to improve coordination and memory. What’s so attractive about it for so many is the ability to modify any position to adjust to your own physical limitations, while still experiencing a mood boosting sense of overall well-being. This is especially beneficial for senior citizens.
According to the Center for Disease Control, every 19 minutes a senior citizen (someone aged 65+ years) dies from falling, many times ones that can be prevented. The CDC also reports that two thirds of senior citizens have multiple chronic conditions, and one third have high blood pressure. Those are large scale statistics, but luckily yoga has benefits for all of them. Yoga in any form or level of difficulty has been proven to work specifically on hip, knee, and ankle joint areas. It can improve mobility, and joint flexibility which is hugely beneficial for preventing a fall. In addition, learning simple controlled breathing techniques can help lower blood pressure and unnecessary stress levels, while increasing overall strength and endurance.
Even though chair yoga involves a more simple set of positions, all the same principles are still present, and it shows the same exact results as standard yoga practices. Mental health and emotional stimulation are also extremely important for senior citizens. According to the World Health Organization, 15% of individuals over the age of 60 suffer from some sort of mental health issue such as depression, anxiety, etc. These problems in older individuals becomes especially dangerous and can lead to physical ailments to appear such as fatigue, muscle weakness, joint damage, etc.
“Yoga has the effect of increasing joint mobility, it can help individuals cope with arthritis. Alzheimer’s patients can benefit because yoga improves cognition. A sequence of poses can improve both coordination and memory. Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Heightened GABA levels help prevent chronic disease. Calming the mind by relaxing and paying attention to breath can lessen one’s anxiety in this in-your-face world, increasing coping skills,” according to the Daily Record.
The Daily Record also reported that when it comes to yoga specifically for senior citizens, instructors always make sure to generally keep classes small to make for a very personal experience, and also allows the instructor to work better with each person and any specific body limitations they have or might want to work on. The focus is always on reducing stress, mindfulness, and an overall relaxed well-being.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.