We’ve all heard the benefits of practicing yoga and meditation, but starting (and sticking to) a regular practice can be a real challenge. This is especially true for people over 65. Many seniors think that since they haven’t been practicing, they are simply too old to feel the benefits. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, from improved balance to lower blood pressure, seniors are one of the groups who can benefit most from yoga. That’s why it’s never too late to begin a yoga and meditation routine no matter where you are in life.
Are you over the age of 65 and want help creating and maintaining a yoga routine? Here are a few ideas to help you get started, stay accountable, and soak up the benefits.
Practice with Someone
If you practice with a friend or caregiver, you have a built-in accountability partner who can provide guidance and support that can help you stick to your goals. Whether you have hired a professional caregiver or a family member coming by, starting your day with a gentle yoga practice together can strengthen your bond and help you both reduce stress. Adapting to the challenges and changes as we get older can be sometimes difficult; yoga and meditation can help seniors and their caregivers release tension from the mind and build strength in the body.
You can learn a lot about yoga from practicing at a gym or studio. The instructor is right there, able and willing to help you protect your body from injury. It’s important to know that Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of yoga, but some Medicare Advantage plans might. Research plans to see what they offer. Of course, you don’t have to go to a gym or studio or even leave your home to practice yoga. There are thousands of free yoga videos online that you can watch and follow along with. Be sure to do your research first and talk with your doctor to make sure starting a yoga practice is a good step in your preventative care plan.
Pay Attention to Connections in Your Body
Getting into a rhythm with yoga and meditation can kickstart a chain reaction inside your body. For example, you might notice more relaxation in parts of the body where you carry stress, like the shoulders. There are also connections deep within your body. For instance, research has shown a striking connection between your gut health and exercise. Regular movement through yoga and exercise can improve the health of your gut microbiome, which has a whole slew of health benefits — from regulating mood to boosting your immune system.
Pay Attention to Connections in Your Mind
Yoga and meditation can bring more mindfulness to our daily lives. As our practice deepens, so does our ability to live more fully in the present moment, something everyone can benefit from, especially seniors. A daily meditation practice can help slow down memory loss, sharpen and focus the mind, and manage mood and emotions. With all the important issues weighing on seniors, mindfulness can help you clarify priorities and organize ideas. You can expand your perspective on the past, present, and future by learning how to observe your thoughts instead of becoming ingrained in them. This is helpful for seniors who might be holding on to past hurts, unable to let go of lingering sadness, or often feel bombarded with intrusive thoughts.
The benefits for seniors who practice yoga and meditation can stack up, and they can really make those golden years shine. Starting yoga or meditation can be easy, but maintaining it can be more challenging. You can increase the chance that the habit will stick if you are open to practicing with a friend or caregiver, try it at home or in a gym and, most importantly, pay attention to the benefits in your mind and body.