Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors In Seattle, WA
Yoga has been used for many years to heal and bring relaxation and peace of mind. The physical, mental and spiritual benefits have made it one of the most popular forms of exercise today. Yoga classes are offered nearly everywhere, from health clubs in big cities to clinics in Seattle, WA and even in assisted living facilities and senior centers. The postures and breathing techniques practiced can benefit people of all ages – including the growing demographic of seniors.
Many seniors in Seattle, WA may feel hesitant to try yoga because they feel they are not flexible enough or are uncomfortable with getting up from the floor. However, poor balance and posture and diminished strength and flexibility are just a few of the concerns that can be improved by an appropriate yoga practice, according to Livestrong.com.
There are many styles, forms and intensities of yoga. Hatha is one of the most common styles of yoga and is practiced by many seniors because of its slower pace and gentle movements. Hatha yoga and most beginning yoga classes consist of yoga poses and breathing techniques, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Poses: Yoga poses are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. These postures range from laying flat on the floor completely relaxed to complicated poses stretching physical limits. The goal of each pose is to achieve a balance of both sides of the body without placing undue stress on any organs, muscles, joints or bones.
- Breathing: As we age, we may stop breathing fully as we lose flexibility in our ribcage and have less room for lung expansion. Controlling the breath is an important component of yoga. Focusing on full inhalations and exhalations quiets the mind and slows down the heart rate which improves focus and increases concentration.
Benefits of Yoga
The mental and health benefits of yoga are numerous and include the following:
- Increased flexibility and balance: Practicing a variety of poses can improve posture, flexibility, balance and strength. As a result, the risk of injuries due to falls and other daily activities decreases.
- Management of chronic health problems: Yoga may help with chronic conditions such as cancer, depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia by helping with sleep problems, fatigue and mood, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also help reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
- Reduced stress: The deep concentration needed to practice yoga poses and breathing techniques can have a calming effect on mood and dissolve stress and anxiety. Yoga classes in Seattle, WA also offer the opportunity to bond with a group of similar individuals.
Finding a Yoga Class
Seniors in Seattle, WA who are interested in practicing yoga should seek out a yoga instructor who individualizes the practice for their own unique needs. Local community centers, fitness clubs, hospitals and clinics are good places to begin the search. Look for gentle yoga classes that focus on breathing and awareness and less on movement. Chair yoga classes can accommodate seniors with weak legs and balance issues as all the yoga poses are modified so they can be practiced while sitting in a chair.
Seniors should speak with their doctor before starting a yoga practice. But with some support and guidance, seniors can improve their state of mind and prevent many age-related health problems through the practice of yoga.