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.
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.
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 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:
The older we become the more problems arise. Also on a mental level:
On a social and emotional level there are concerns with:
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:
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