Yoga for elders is a particularly good application of the practice of yoga since it offers a complete method of physical fitness, including increased levels of strength and energy. Having immediate access helps make yoga a popular practice. The basic principles of yoga can be put to use by anybody at any age level, but the more advanced stages of yoga might be hard to reach by most people. The advanced stages of yoga are certainly not required and not advisable to attempt for elders. The age of 50 years is considered perfect for yoga by Indian yoga practitioners, since higher levels of consciousness are easier to attain with the accumulated experiences of the older people of this age bracket. It is said that greater union between body and spirit are achieved by the practices of yoga. We gain better perspectives about life and ourselves with age. The spiritual practices of yoga are not required in order to attain good heath through yoga.
With age, our spiritual perspective about life and the world in general tends to become more important; this forms a better foundation for older people on which to begin practicing yoga. It is not advisable for elders to practice some of the more acrobatic yoga poses but most elders can still practice many of the breathing and relaxation techniques of yoga. As far as physical movement is concerned, we are becoming less active as a society. With TV as the primary activity of the day, many elders are adversely affected by their sedentary lifestyles. Muscles that are not used for hours and hours are weak and become weaker each day. Back pain, weak bones, muscle cramps, osteoporosis, joint pain, and decreased mobility are just some of the adverse side effects of a sedentary lifestyle. When an elder allows himself to get caught up in this cycle of inactivity it is a downward spiral that gets worse as time goes by. The lack of will power and determination that can lead to such a poor lifestyle can be overcome with the practice of yoga.
Beginning with gentle movements, an elder can work up to more vigorous activity later on. Sometimes just doing warm up exercises for weeks or months will encourage the practice of yoga to become a part of the elder’s daily activities. Gradualism is an important ingredient of yoga for elders. Achieving strengthened muscles and better blood circulation is achieved by introducing step-by-step yoga physical exercises into the daily routine. Yoga is one of the best activities known for massaging your muscles and your internal organs, this being a key factor in a healthy and strong body. Improved oxygenation of the blood is another positive effect of yoga exercises since it improves the overall internal health. Increased physical strength, a sharp and focused memory, and increased attention span are more of the positive aspects of yoga practice for elders.
A practice that is unique to yoga is the breathing technique. Many of the other aspects of practicing yoga can be replaced by other methods such as weight training and mild jogging, etc., but not the breathing aspects of yoga for elders. Breathing is something we are not even aware of for most of the day, but it is the one activity that is keeping us alive! Yoga breathing techniques can improve energy and concentration and are heavily relied on in yoga practices. Since people average about 2000 breaths per day we can just imagine the potential benefits of improved breathing even by 1%. Elders can face old age with a more positive outlook and a relaxed attitude when better breathing is employed.
Spending years in the practice of yoga is not required to glean the benefits of yoga. Many elders feel that yoga is not work at all, and in fact many find it fun! Yoga is safe, when practiced correctly, and results in many positive benefits that can turn into joy and vitality no matter what your age.