Key Advice for Seniors and Caregivers Developing a Yoga and Meditation Program
Are you a senior or caregiver considering engaging in meditation and yoga? Although they are age-old, the many health benefits provided by yoga and meditation have earned these practices renewed attention. Yoga Kula Co-op offers these pointers for adding meditation and yoga to your lifestyle.
Connected and Independent Practices
Yoga and meditation are related to one another, yet you can practice them separately in certain respects. The postures you assume in yoga can help you achieve a frame of mind conducive to meditation, and through meditation you can improve your yoga practice. You can put your body into yoga postures without meditation, and you can also use meditation apart from yoga, such as performing deep-breathing exercises for relief in stressful situations.
Oftentimes, people like to have a space indoors to exercise. For seniors and caregivers, it can be particularly helpful to designate a quiet area at home for your new yoga and meditation regimen, allowing you to participate when your schedule permits, and also when the weather is poor. You don’t need much here except a few props, a yoga mat and enough space to move comfortably.
The Perfect Spot
Look for an area in your home that is uncluttered and will be free of interruptions. If things are in your way, consider renting a storage unit while you think about what to do with them. You might be especially pleased with the transition in your living environment, since decluttering is associated with reduced stress and anxiety. Clutter can be a haven for germs and allergens as well, so you have much to gain from paring down.
As The Nest points out, yoga and meditation offer a number of potential health benefits. You can experience lower stress and anxiety levels; improve strength, flexibility and balance; and lower your risk for a number of health issues, such as heart disease, arthritis and hypertension. There are other perks as well, such as improved focus and attention span, enhanced empathy, more creativity, better productivity, and raised energy levels. Practicing yoga can even improve your dental health.
Your gut health is also important. One of the keys to good health is to create a diverse microbiome by regularly practicing yoga. You should also work to improve your diet by adding fermented foods, such as yogurt, and foods high in fiber, such as asparagus.
Any time you are beginning a new exercise regimen, it’s in your best interest to start slowly. Some yoga poses are particularly well-suited to beginners, and if you have limitations due to balance, strength or mobility, there are chair poses you can try. You should never feel pain from yoga, so if you do, it indicates you need to revise your technique, be less aggressive, or choose a different style of the practice.
One way to monitor your body’s response to your activity is by using a smartwatch with apps specifically designed to help you during your meditation and yoga. Some apps offer a respiration monitor, which tracks your breathing technique, and a pulse tracker. Whichever smartwatch or fitness tracker you wear, be sure the watch band is not only durable but comfortable, because you’ll be using it nearly every day.
Your Kind of Yoga
As you develop in your program, you may wish to explore yoga more deeply. There is a wide variety of yoga styles, and some types are more suitable for beginners than others. For instance, restorative yoga is a fitting option for those who enjoy using props and going slowly, while Vinyasa is active and fluid. Those with chronic pain, particularly back pain, might find Iyengar yoga especially beneficial, as it focuses on proper body alignment.
There are also various effective techniques for meditation, such as with movement, sound and mindfulness. The important thing is to find a regimen you enjoy and find helpful, and there are plenty of options to match up with your needs.
And depending on how deep you want to take your practice, there’s always learning to teach yoga. Becoming a teacher provides deeper insight into the overall benefits of yoga and the yogic path, and it’s also a way to share your knowledge with others. This can be especially helpful when you work with those who have mobility issues.
Beginning a yoga and meditation program can mean beginning a new lease on life. There are many benefits to be gained, and virtually anyone can participate. Find a practice that keeps you comfortable and engaged, and enjoy!
Post Author: Melissa Howard of stopsuide.com