Yoga and Aging

Aging is part of the normal growth process. No matter how well a person takes care of himself , a person experiences changes in the body due to the aging process.

People over fifty have many health concerns, which increase with age. In addition to the bone and muscle changes listed below, the aging population suffers from: joint inflexibility, poor blood circulation, arthritis, vision problems, high or low blood pressure, lower back pain, osteoporosis, difficulties in breathing, stress-related problems, sleep problems and chronic pains.

Bone changes due to aging include:

  • Vertebrae in the spine lose their mineral content and become thinner
  • Cushioning between the vertebrae decreases with age
  • The spine tends to shorten and compress, causing loss of height
  • The fluid in the joints decreases, leading to less mobility of the joints
  • Minerals may deposit in some joints causing stiffness due to aging:

Muscle changes due to aging include:

  • Muscle fibers shrink leading to decreased muscle mass and power
  • Lost muscle tissue may be replaced with tough fibrous tissue which is less supple
  • Connective tissue and muscle stiffen, decreasing suppleness and ability to stretch

Yoga is a powerful tool that works against the physical effects and health concerns of aging.  It can slow down the aging process by increasing flexibility, strengthening muscles, improving balance, nourishing intervertebral disks, improving posture, improving joint health, strengthening bones, relaxing the nervous system, lowering blood pressure, relieving pain and more.

Yoga practice promotes better health and vitality through the joining of mind, body and breath. It utilizes a combination of:

  • breathing (expanding the lung’s capacity to handle an increased amount of oxygen intake) to rejuvenate, repair and create new cells;
  • meditation (calming the mind, releasing stress and anxiety);
  • physical posturing (asanas), designed to strengthen the musculo-skeletal structure, to increase bone density by doing weight-bearing exercises (to prevent osteoporosis); lubricate joints (reducing arthritis);
  • alignment (or re-alignment) balances of the body’s skeletal structure; stimulation of the endocrine system which promotes the increase of beneficial hormonal activities.

Gloria works with seniors in building strength of body and mind through the yoga practice. Her humor and loving compassion for the self are incorporated in every class. Seniors love the happy and fun atmosphere she creates.

Senior yoga is very gentle. It can be practiced on a chair in sitting positions, it can be practiced standing with a chair used for support and it can be practiced on a mat. Props (blankets, straps, foam blocks and bolsters) can be used to assist each asana (yoga pose).