A Guide for Seniors Who Want to Start Yoga and Meditation
Updated: Nov 22, 2021
Both yoga and meditation have gained popularity in the United States in recent years. Although yoga is more of physical exercise while meditation is focused on the mind, the two practices often go hand-in-hand. Both require attention to breathing and encourage practitioners to focus their energy inward to achieve physical and spiritual calm. For individuals who are looking for ways to maintain their body and mind as they get older, yoga and meditation can be hugely helpful. Health and Wellness Coach Lynne Patzelt can help you get started with the beneficial practices discussed below.
Benefits of Yoga and Meditation for Seniors
Yoga is a fantastic form of physical activity for seniors because it doesn't place a great deal of stress on the joints, which get worn with age. It enhances balance, flexibility, and strength, which promotes mobility and encourages aging individuals to stay active. Yoga can also ease the aches and pains that tend to come with getting older; for instance, those suffering from osteoarthritis may find the breathing exercises helpful in dealing with chronic pain.
Yoga also has mental health benefits, as it’s been shown to combat anxiety and depression. You can couple it with meditation to enhance its benefits. Meditation encourages mindfulness, demanding individuals to focus their attention on the here and now. This can have a relaxing effect that combats stress. Research has shown that doing just 15 minutes of meditation is as beneficial as taking a full day of vacation.
Resources for Seniors Starting Yoga and Meditation
Individuals who are starting yoga will need comfortable, breathable athletic apparel and a yoga mat. Beginners may feel more comfortable taking a class with an instructor. Many fitness centers offer yoga courses. For those who don’t have access to a gym, it’s easy to create a yoga and meditation space at home. If you need to clear a space at home where you can stretch out, you don't need to strain yourself moving furniture. Just do some research and hire someone reputable to do it for you.
Once you’ve set aside a quiet corner, prepare it with soothing elements like incense—scents like lavender can be soothing. The internet has great resources for those practicing at home. For example, DoYouYoga offers an introductory guide of just seven simple poses ideally oriented for seniors. Each pose has an accompanying photo and description. For meditation, there are many apps offering guided practice.
Tips for Safe and Effective Yoga and Meditation for Seniors
To avoid overexertion, seniors should begin slowly when practicing yoga. Try two 15-minute rounds of yoga per week to start, and extend the sessions over time. Meditation may also require practice to perfect. Start with just five minutes per day and gradually increase the time. By building up endurance and ability over time, it’s easier to avoid frustration—which can cause discouraged seniors to quit altogether.
It’s also important to remember that yoga is a physical activity, requiring an appropriate warmup and cool down. Stretching is needed beforehand and afterward to avoid strained muscles and other injuries. If you have sore muscles, a massage can help.
Seniors who want to make the most of their golden years and live the healthiest, happiest life possible can benefit from yoga and meditation. Learning something new later in life is also a wonderful way to keep your mind sharp. For those who are hesitant, practicing with another person like a friend or caregiver can prove helpful. These activities can be personally tailored to different tastes and styles, allowing individuals from all walks of life to enjoy them.
Lynne Patzelt is passionate about helping you envision your best self, and providing guidance and support as you transform your values and priorities into action. Together, you will identify what you want, what is holding you back and what you can do to create the life you desire.
Karen Weeks is a Senior Lifestyle blogger. She struggled to find a new sense of purpose after retirement which made way to learn a new skill and took a computer course. She then created ElderWellness.net as a resource for seniors who wish to keep their minds, bodies and spirits well.
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