We all grow up but it’s only by choice we get to age gracefully!! As one’s body ages simple tasks such as climbing a flight of stairs, a quick jog around the park, tying your own shoes or even something as simple as sitting cross legged on the floor for a small about of time become a herculean task, now for most the minute these small tasks become difficult the logical human decides that the best course of action would be to accept it as a part of ageing and avoid those activities altogether.
Unfortunately the logic is flawed and reverse is the better way to go about aging gracefully as with the right diet and exercise an older person can sometimes be even more fit than a youngster!!
An excellent way to ease into an exercise routine at an advance age is through yoga, as the benefits (especially for a mature person) include an increase in muscle tone ( lost over the years ) ,improvement of balance and of course the overall improvement of one’s mood and mental health.
Start off slow with a few basic asans and pranayama sessions to warm up all your joints and improve your lung capacity, the benefits include a reduction in your stress levels and a normalization of your blood pressure (as such can be done by people with both high and low BP) and even an improvement concentration (that’s right a loss of concentration is not just for the internet baby).
Although at first glance most of the postures such as the Virabhadra series, Trikonasana may seem more suited to a more younger practitioner with a few modification and props ( as suggested by your guru) they can easily be achieved and after enough practice, one can even surpass a 20 year old doing the same asanas.
Here are a few basic steps and asanas that can be done by anyone with joint pains (please consult a guru before performing these on your own).
Asanas for body balance with wall support in the beginning
- Stand with your back to the wall for support, raise your arms by your sides and join your hands above your head, slowly your arms and your body upwards (inhaling) slowly coming on your toes for those with no ankle problems) after a few seconds slowly come down (exhaling) lowering your arms to your sides repeat 2-3 times at a go.
- Face the wall and place your right palm on it (high above your head) for support, raise your left leg towards your back as high as you can and support it using your left hand, hold the position for 3-4 deep breaths; repeat using the other leg and hand.
Other asanas that are beneficial to an older person include the Virbhadra series which may be perceived as a tough one but would help to strengthen their legs and as a side benefits brings confidence.
While the sitting and lying on back and stomach series can be done to improve flexibility in one’s knees and help with other health issues like diabetes and liver disorders.
And finally for people of all generations meditation is a must as it acts as a guide to let go all material ATTACHMENT and tensions in life, accept the present moment and be ready for any mental challenges one’s coming years after all aging of the body is inevitable but the aging of the mind is always a choice!!
If one wants more detail about asanas which seniors can do and most of which is mentioned in "YOGA FOR ARTHRITIS".Make sure seniors take support of wall while practicing standing postures and while sitting down postures keep the back straight by sitting on cushion or wall support .
HARI OM TAT SAT