Here is what the anti-aging cosmetics market will never tell you – smile lines, gray hair, crow’s feet, turkey necks, and declining physical strength can be kept at bay for as long as possible with yoga. It’s not a magic trick, but if you move enough, breathe deeply, keep your mind balanced, and think happy thoughts, your body will show signs of good health. It doesn’t matter at what point in your life you start yoga, if you are dedicated to the discipline’s mind-body exercises, the rewards will come to you. And that is the point of doing something as intensive as a 200-hour yoga teacher training in Nepal, even if you think you are too old for classes!
There is no denying the fact that certain health issues come with age, and if you are already a yogic practitioner, the physical part of the discipline in particular may call for modifications, increasing the chances of heart problems, decreasing lung capacity, thinning bone density, hormones, bad backs, rickety knees-taking the whole spectrum into account, yoga will still make you feel better.
Here is how:
Balanced Weight-Bearing in Yoga Helps Increasing Bone Density
On average, 10 million Americans, mostly women, suffer from osteoporosis, and more people are being identified with low bone mass, putting them at risk for osteoporosis. The journey of aging includes the process of depleting bone density and therefore the slow grip of osteoporosis coming on is marked as a “silent disease”. You usually do not have too many signs around.
Prevention and treatment of excessive bone loss is as much about proper exercise as it is about diet and lifestyle. Weight-bearing physical activity makes the muscles work against gravity and is generally considered to be good for building and maintaining bone density. Yoga asanas, when practiced with an emphasis on lunges such as Warrior 1 and 2, enhance this aspect of muscle-bone interaction. While being reasonably low-impact, yoga helps increase bone strength by increasing density. Keep it up with support like a chair or wall to lean on, and preferably train under experienced yoga instructors for a definite period of time to get the best of results.
Yoga Works Towards Increasing Range of Motion- Crucial for Arthritis
Joints are the hardest hit by aging, often progressing to arthritis. Persistent joint pain in your hands and knees, wrists, or elbows is an alarming sign that you need to buckle up. Affected joints leave you feeling stiff, rickety, and unable to move comfortably. The solution is to work through the difficulty with low-impact yoga poses. With external support such as yoga blocks to rest your hands on, perform poses such as downward and upward dog, inverted triangle, pyramid pose, etc. Complete full breath cycles before repeating on the opposite side, be persistent without being forceful, and it is always advisable to remain under the supervision of an instructor to avoid miscalculation.
Enrolling in programs like an acclaimed 200-hour yoga teacher training in Nepal could be your best shot at holistic improvement with yoga. Not only will you get professional diagnosis and therapy, you will also get the right diet and conditioning for your body to heal and fight off arthritic symptoms.
Spinal Health Is Maintained with Back Extension Yogic Postures
Of course, we can’t talk about age-related discomfort without talking about spinal health. The narrowing of the spinal canal with age is commonly referred to as stenosis. Radiating pain and numbness, the spinal cord can be pinched due to this type of disturbance, directly affecting your hips, legs, and shoulders.
How does yoga help? Yoga sequences are filled with gentle forward and backward bends, side bends, and extensions. Instead of freezing spinal movement in times of pain, you can take small steps toward normalcy through low-impact yoga poses. Remember, lower-intensity movements will keep you going through the discomfort and eventually relieve the pain altogether.
Yoga Minimizes Chances of Slip Discs
Slipped discs are no stranger to aging. The lower lumbar region in particular, and theoretically almost any part of the spine, can be affected by a herniated disc. Poor posture, lack of proper exercise, and lack of intervertebral fluid contribute to the high chances of disc herniation as we age.
Yoga as a prevention and cure is extremely effective as practicing the discipline helps in maintaining flexibility in the spine as well as building sufficient core strength. Those without sufficient core strength are more likely to suffer disc damage as the chest and abdominal muscles are unable to support weight. Work with yoga to achieve a lasting solution to the problem.
A Stronger Core Keeps Back Pain Away
Core strength in the context of healthy body movement is not just a widely used empty phrase. Sufficient strength in the muscles of your torso, back, abdomen, hips, and legs indicates that you can carry your physical frame with effortless grace. The more you stabilize your frame with a strong core, the better your endurance will be. Prevent the effects of aging, such as back pain, by thoroughly following the core strengthening postures.
Body Awareness Imparted Through Yoga Prevents Nerve Damage
As you age, it’s not uncommon to feel a loss of control over your muscles. With peripheral neuropathy, this is often seen in the limbs, hands, feet, fingers, and toes.
Yoga has a special segment of practices that address awareness. Ask your instructor to initiate the very restorative Yoga Nidra meditation after each session of physical asanas. This will sharpen your sensitivity to different parts of the body. It’s an effective way to protect your nerves from age-related deterioration.
Remember to take your yoga steps slowly, but with intention and purpose, and to be persistent rather than forceful. Continue to add gracefully to your years!
Author bio: Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He organize 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh. Bipin Baloni conducts Yoga Teacher Training in India in different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas.