What comes into your mind when you hear the word Yoga?

Yoga, the Sanskrit word has the literal meaning of yoke, thereby meaning union of the mind, body, environment and the whole universe.

Ancient Yogis had a belief that in order for man to be in harmony with himself and his environment, he has to integrate the body, the mind, and the consciousness. For these three to be integrated, emotion, action, and intelligence must be in balance. The Yogis formulated a way to achieve and maintain this balance and it is done through exercise, breathing, and deep relaxation- the three main Yoga structures.

In Yoga, the body is treated with care and respect for it is the primary instrument in man’s work and growth. Yoga Exercises improve circulation, stimulate the abdominal organs, and put pressure on the glandular system of the body, which can generally result to better health.

Breathing techniques were developed based on the concept that breath is the source of life. In Yoga, students gain breathing control as they slowly increase their breathing. By focusing on their breathing, they prepare their minds for the next step – concentration. By designing physical poses and Breathing Techniques that develop awareness of our body, Yoga helps us focus and relieves us from our everyday stress.

There are still a lot of misconceptions about Yoga, for instance, Yoga being a religion. Yoga is not a religion. It is more of a set of techniques for us to find spirituality. In fact, Yoga is being practiced by a lot of people from different religions like Christians, Jewish, Buddhists, and Muslims.

Yoga in Your life

You may ask, “Is Yoga for me?”

Definitely, yes! Yoga is for anyone who is willing to learn its ways and ideas. It does not require any special equipment or clothing. What it requires is your will to have a healthier, stress-free self.

  • Experience for yourself the transforming power of yoga and watch as your practice spills over into your life.
  • Challenge yourself both physically and mentally, Re-sculpt the body, building core strength, muscular tone and flexibility.
  • Deepen the breath.
  • Create grace and flow in the movement of body, breath and mind.
  • Develop mental clarity and focus.
  • Cultivate a state of emotional calmness and relaxation.
  • Create an experience of connectedness.
  • Yoga is not just exercise, but relaxation and rejuvenation. It reduces stress and fatigue, releases tension and helps us to adjust our bodies to environmental changes for improved immunity.

Benefit of Yoga for Over 60’s

More seniors are practicing yoga due to greater awareness of the importance of good health.

The gentle yoga exercises are “good for everybody” regardless of age or degree of fitness. These movements mobilize the joints, strengthen and give flexibility to the muscles, improve circulation and breathing and enhance the ability to relax.

Yoga Perspective

Yoga can play a major role the aging process through the: physical health, mental health and social health. Let’s look at the physical level, the limitations of an aging body and its various diseases:

  • restricted mobility
  • joint stiffness
  • muscle weakness
  • failure of various sense organs i.e. eyesight, deafness and sense of balance
  • susceptible to bone fractures, chest and urinary infections
  • poor circulation
  • poor digestion
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • diabetes
  • degenerative diseases of the brain and other organs i.e. prostate

The older we become the more problems arise. Also on a mental level:

  • failing memory
  • difficulty in learning
  • poor concentration, reasoning and logic
  • inflexible thinking process

On a social and emotional level there are concerns with:

  • loneliness
  • lack of self confidence and self esteem
  • lack of trust
  • insecurity
  •  dependency
  • fear of incapacity and death
  • lack of personal space
  • lack of finances
  • slower pace of lifestyle and inability to adjust

Yogic Solutions

Our classes can be adapted for any group of seniors. (For those experiencing more problems postures can be adapted and performed in a chair).  These postures improve joint mobility, circulation and flexibility.  During the practice of the Yoga Asanas, the rhythmic alternation of stretching and contracting individual parts of the body causes blood and lymph to be squeezed out of the vessels.  With each contraction there is a brief reduction in blood supply and then with each stretch the same area becomes flooded with a fresh supply of blood carrying oxygen and nutrients.  In this way the muscles receive optimum nourishment, circulation is improved and there is better elimination of toxins and waste products.

The breath work known as Pranayama, especially the techniques of abdominal breathing, the full yogic breath, alternate nostril breathing and ujjayi, which are all good for concentration, enhancing the mental faculties, balancing the nervous system, and strengthening the lungs and heart.

In old age, respiratory function decreases due to contraction of the lungs air cells, which take in less oxygen.  Pranayama will help to normalize their size and make the red corpuscles circulate in all parts of the body, infusing life and vigor throughout.

One of the benefits of practicing yoga is the ability to change attitudes in order to support a more positive outlook on life, these include:

  • Nurturing a positive attitude.
  • Accepting the limitations of the aging body mind complex.
  • Determining the aim and goal of life.

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