Our very own, Kristen Ingram, was on Breakfast Television a few weeks ago to chat about seniors' yoga and the benefits it has for participants. Click here to watch Kristen and her helpers, Trudy and Carolyn, demonstrating a few poses.
The benefits of yoga are universal, no matter what your age. Here's a quick summary:
Oxygen gives life to every cell in the body: it heals our wounds, kills germs, and ensures the strength and vitality of all our tissues. Blood carries oxygen throughout the body, and physical activities like yoga increase the circulation of oxygen rich blood.
Yoga is beneficial because the postures boost blood circulation to often-neglected areas of the body like joints, connective tissues, and internal organs.
Toxins are everywhere – we breathe them, we eat them, and we drink them. Fortunately, our bodies can eliminate these poisons through the skin, the breath, the blood, and the organs of elimination. Yoga practice stimulates each of these mechanisms. During yoga, you sweat, you breathe deeply, your circulation increases, and you massage and stimulate the organs of elimination. A regular yoga practice is an extremely effective method of detoxifying.
Strength & Flexibility
Yoga postures strengthen and lengthen the body's connective tissues through physical postures called asanas that have been practiced for thousands of years. Whether you are flexible or stiff, weak or strong, yoga can transform your body and mind and improve your overall health. Stress Relief Chronic stress and pressure can lead to serious illness and disease if ignored. A regular yoga practice calms the body and mind, boosts the immune system, and eliminates the toxins that stress creates. Yoga is the body's elixir after a hard day at work.
Self-Confidence & Self-Esteem
Yoga makes you feel healthy, strong, and limber which will boost your self image and self confidence. Learning yoga postures creates an enormous sense of pride that you will carry with you in your daily life.
The quality of our breath reflects how we are feeling. When we are upset, the breath tends to be fast and shallow. When we are at ease, the breath is usually slow and deep. We can learn to control the breath through yoga practice by maintaining deep consistent breathing through all the postures. Once we achieve this "moving meditation" we are more able to calm our mind and body regardless of the daily stresses we encounter.
A regular yoga practice may reduce your appetite and will encourage better food choices. Yoga cleanses the body, increases metabolism, stimulates waste elimination, and reduces cravings.
Aerobic exercise occurs when an elevated heart rate is sustained for twenty minutes or more. Aerobic activities are particularly helpful for strengthening the heart, burning excess fat, and increasing the body's metabolism. Yoga can be a great aerobic workout, but it depends on you, the class, and your level of participation.
Some physical activities such as running, tennis or weight lifting are a mixed blessing. They are good for your health, but they often create imbalances like knee and back problems and arthritis. Yoga promotes whole body wellness - physically and psychologically - without creating injuries (provided you practice within your bodies abilities) that could lead to complications later.