YOGA FOR SENIORS

Several years ago, I planted two similar palm trees at the end of my drive. One tree grew tall and full while the other lagged behind. The two trees did not look anything alike after 6 months. One palm was short and thin while the other palm looked tall and full. I couldn’t figure it out so I asked my landscaper about the discrepancy. His response was that “plants are like people, some are tall others short or round. Some people just have strong constitutions. “

Yoga for Students of All Ages and Experience

As a long time yoga instructor in Delray Beach I have met seniors who have trouble standing and then seniors that can easily kick up in to a handstand. There is this 89 year old woman who attends class with little effort slides right into humamanasana (the splits)! She’s what I like to call a Level 4 student.

Like my palm trees, iYoga of Delray Beach focuses on the varying reasons for individual capabilities. For certain with all aging bodies the joints, ligaments, muscles become stiffer and drier and it happens sooner for some than others. Genetics, trauma, illness, occupation, diet, activity level during the course of ones life all come into play.

A person in their 20’s can jump into poses without warm up. A mature body needs to stretch and prepare the joints for movement for advanced poses or any pose for that matter. This is not to say you cannot dive deeper into the yoga asana and challenge yourself. Our mature Iyengar Delray practitioners have developed more awareness, patience and focus in order to avoid injury. Most importantly, to learn to cultivate contentment , compassion and gratitude for whatever your body can do that day. This not only keeps you from becoming discouraged but you will begin to realize the wisdom that comes along with aging.

MOTION IS LOTION

No matter what your level of physical activity, movement is essential to being able to live a full life. The little things in life that count. For example, the ability to reach up to the top shelf for the serving bowl. The strength to carrying in the groceries from the car. To be able to kneel and weed your garden or run up the stairs. For some to have the strength in the legs to stand up out of chair without using the hands and feeling pain in the knees or back.

iYoga of Delray beach marries the regular practice of yoga and exercise to improve your range of motion by lubricating the joints and stretching out neglected muscles. Iyengar yoga helps strengthen the back and chest muscles to bring the posture to a more upright position. The standing poses create a strong foundation of the ankles legs, and hips. Which in turn will keep you steady on your feet , improving balance.

IT’S NOT A WORK OUT BUT A WORK IN

Jumping and advanced postures do not bring peace of mind. The simple act of placing your yoga mat with awareness can be quieting to the mind. Its with this same attention that yoga poses are performed and what can emerge is a blissful quiet state of mind.

Studies have shown other benefits of yoga. For example studies have shown just extending the arms in a “T” position to expand the chest open can lift depression and reduces stress. Research has also shown the number one preventive for dementia is movement.

LIFE IS LEARNING

Due to the many different levels of physical capabilities of seniors, its important to search for the class that suits your needs. Classes range from the very advanced to yoga done on a chair. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind while your searching for the Iyengar class that is right for you. In the right setting you will find you’re a sense of kinship and community of people with like minds and bodies.

  • You should feel welcomed and treated with respect
  • The teacher’s style should connect with you and has an understanding of a mature body
  • The teacher can give clear instructions on how to do a pose and modify if you cannot
  • The class has a good pace. Not so fast you feel stressed.
  • The class should be a challenge but not injurious.