By Marilyn Halpern, LSW, ACSW ~
“The purpose of yoga is to build strength, awareness and harmony in both the mind and body.”
Natalie Nevins, D.O.
In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services designated September as National Yoga Month, one of a select number of national health observances. Since then, the initiative has taken root as a global awareness campaign, educating, inspiring and motivating people to achieve a healthy lifestyle. The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj, means to yoke or bind, and is often interpreted as “union” or connection. It provides an opportunity through simple and sometimes complex movements to align the mind, body and breath. Yoga is for all ages, sizes and body types.
Yoga has proven to be worth the effort. It has been featured in a number of clinical trials that have looked at its impact of improved balance, weight management, hypertension, heart disease, chronic back pain, and arthritis. Yoga has been shown to raise levels of GABA (a brain neurotransmitter), helping to improve mood and alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety.
If you are inspired to learn more about yoga, there are many books, DVDs and on-line videos to help you get started. Your local library has a plethora of resources. Yoga books, DVDs and Yoga Magazine are a few of the resources the library offers.
On YouTube, you can search “yoga for seniors” and find many videos are available on this topic. Here are a few examples you may find helpful:
Slow and Gentle Yoga with Adriene. Instructor: Adriene. A 28-minute sequence of gentle sitting and standing postures. Adriene offers a free, YouTube Yoga Class channel for all ability levels.
Gentle Chair Yoga for Beginners. Instructor: Kassandra. An 18-minute series of stretch exercises for seniors that can help alleviate pain and improve flexibility. Kassandra has a free Yoga Class channel.
7-Minute Yoga Workout for Older Adults. Sponsor: SilverSneakers. A short, basic standing routine that uses a combination of seven different poses. SilverSneakers has a free YouTube fitness channel.
September offers an opportunity to explore the many benefits of a yoga practice. I hope you will join me in taking the September Yoga Challenge. For more information visit YogaMonth.org.
Be well and stay safe –
Marilyn Halpern is a medical power of attorney, care manager and professional guardian in the Denver Metro area. For more information www.aspencareservices.com.
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