Stretches and Strengthening: The Health Benefits of Senior's YogaYoga for seniors is growing in popularity due to its relaxing mind and body effect and overall health benefits.
Palisades on the Glen (POG), an award-winning retirement community in Mississauga, Ontario has picked up on this trend and now offers bi-weekly yoga classes which are attracting a diverse range of students.
Briar Boake, Palisades on the Glen yoga instructor and a few avid yoga students took time to explain how senior’s yoga works and why it is has become a big draw for the community’s residents.
“The most important piece of information to know about yoga is that it is for everyone,” explains Briar Boake. “If you have Parkinson’s or are in a wheelchair, you can do yoga; all you need is yourself.”
Most of the poses have been modified keeping seniors’ needs in mind. Poses are held for 2-3 seconds each. Senior’s yoga uses chairs for optimal comfort and offers modification of poses that are closer to the ground.
A strong focus in yoga is on breathing. Yoga teaches how to breathe deeply and open up the area around the ribs. This improvement on breathing allows for greater oxygen to flow to the rest of the body, which helps improve movement of the limbs.
Improved flexibility is another prime benefit for seniors. POG yoga student, Mary Gerrett, explained it perfectly: “yoga helps maintain the flexibility you have, while strengthening new muscles you didn’t even know you had.”
Yoga has also been proven to ease stress and improve sleeping patterns. Exercise overall helps sleep, but yoga takes it one step further by relaxing muscles, soothing the mind and teaching calming breathing techniques, which students can practice on a daily (or nightly) basis outside the exercise room.
The mind is also strengthened by yoga. Certain poses use both sides of the body and the brain, for example, a pose may have you lifting your left leg with your right arm. A pose such as this helps the mind focus and strengthens motor skills.
Overall, yoga helps the mind, the body and, as yoga student Nicki Truman commented “it is a great opportunity to socialize!” Garrett sums it up well, stating “yoga helps you go about your day just a little bit better.”
For more information on activities offered at Palisades on The Glen visit www.palisadesontheglen.com
To learn more about where else you can enjoy senior’s yoga, visit Senior Service Directory to find a class near you.
Written by Bria Weaver
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