The practice of yoga is championed within the senior community due to its wide-ranging benefits. As we age, it is vital for individuals to pursue functional fitness or exercises that support your daily life. This is essential for maintaining your day-to-day mobility and even increasing your overall well-being. What makes yoga a perfect exercise for seniors is that you move from pose to pose with gentle motions, known as a flow, all while staying mindful of your breath and your body.

The word ‘yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj,’ which means to yoke, to join, or to unite. This holistic practice goes beyond your physical health, but your mental welfare can also see a positive impact.

Easy to Modify

Yoga can seem intimidating, especially for seniors, as one might feel “too old” to begin. That is just not true! There are modifications for every single experience level and age of the participants of yoga. Modifications can help eliminate any nerves you may have as everyone is working on their own practice. For example, chair yoga is very popular in senior communities because it allows for a full practice to take place while seated. Instructors, especially in classes geared towards seniors, are great at creating flows that allow for classes with a range of experiences to practice together.

Yoga’s Benefits

The benefits of yoga, specifically for seniors, all stem from the core of the practice: movement, breathing, relaxation, and meditation. These elements work together to build strength, mobility, and balance all while reducing stress and the risk of falling. It almost seems too good to be true that one form of exercise can produce a great number of wonderful benefits.

Here are seven key benefits to one’s quality of life from maintaining a regular yoga practice:

1. Enhance Your Strength

Most yoga positions engage your core. When strengthened, your core can improve your overall strength, your posture, and your balance. Building up your core can also lower the risk of future injury. Yoga can also improve your bone strength, which can help prevent osteoporosis.

2. Improve and Maintain Mobility

The slow and gentle movements of the practice improve your range of motion, plus will maintain your flexibility. There is no pressure to push your body beyond its limits. As you focus on your poses, your balance will continue to improve. This is great for reducing the risk of falling. All in all, yoga can aid in alleviating aches and pains, which is beneficial for coping with chronic pains.

3. Improve Sleep Quality

As yoga requires mental focus and physical exertion, this may help improve the quality of your sleep, like sleeping deeper and for longer. Not getting enough sleep is a common issue for seniors and can lead to increased forgetfulness and may make you have more falls and accidents. Conversely, getting sufficient sleep can boost your immune system.

4. Improve Oxygen Flow

Breathing is one of the main tenents of yoga, therefore you learn techniques that allow for your body to increase the flow of oxygen. This is a critical point of the practice for seniors, as it boosts your energy, your immune system, and blood circulation.

5. Reduce Stress

Yoga can release the tension in your body caused by stress, thereby reducing anxiety, your heart rate, and blood pressure, which means you just feel better.

6. Encourage Mindfulness & Joy

Yoga makes time for listening to your body, thoughts, and emotions and allows for you to connect deeply with yourself, others, and the world around you. Mindfulness can also keep your focus on the present moment and keep your emotions balanced. Yoga encourages gratitude, which will put you in a better headspace as well. Additionally, staying active releases endorphins, which are happiness hormones!

7. Boost Your Social Interactions

Especially within a yoga class at one of our communities, you have the opportunity to engage with others. Social interactions produce the hormone oxytocin, of which a deficiency can be linked to depression.

You do not need to attend a yoga class at a fancy studio to begin your journey in this mindfulness practice. A regular practice can be done anywhere—from your home to your local gym. In fact, all ThriveMore’s communities offer yoga classes throughout the week.

You may begin to feel these benefits right away, but the best way to experience these benefits is to maintain a regular yoga practice. A yoga practice will facilitate functional independence and prevent cognitive decline.

International Day of Yoga

The United Nations has proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga to increase the world’s awareness of the benefits of yoga. Take a yoga class near you to experience these wonderful advantages yourself!

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