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How yoga can help you stay strong and healthy in retirement

Yoga is a practice often associated with flexibility and tranquility, but did you know it’s also a powerful tool for maintaining health and strength? Its gentle nature makes an ideal form of exercise for seniors if you’re seeking a balanced and accessible approach to balancing age and fitness. Let’s take a look at the various ways yoga can benefit your overall wellbeing.

A gentle path to wellness

Yoga for seniors is so much more than just a series of bends and poses; it’s a holistic approach to health. Kat Walker-Burns, yoga instructor at TriCare’s Runaway Bay Retirement Community says, “The one-hour session starts off with meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork to centre the mind, calm the nervous system, and become present.” 

This initial focus on mental wellbeing sets the stage for the physical aspects of yoga, emphasising its role in nurturing the mind-body connection.

Yoga class

Enhancing mobility and posture

One of the key benefits of yoga for seniors is its ability to enhance mobility and improve posture. Yoga poses for more elderly people can accommodate the need for smaller, more gentle movements.  

Kat explains, “A series of mobility and postural strength exercises and yoga stretches work through each joint structure in the body, which helps reduce pain and increase quality of life.” 

This aspect of yoga is especially beneficial because it addresses common issues such as joint stiffness and muscular imbalances.

Preventing and recovering from falls

Yoga’s emphasis on balance and stability is crucial in preventing falls, a common concern for many. The practice includes a variety of balance exercises that can be modified to suit individual needs. 

“After a short standing sequence, which includes balance exercises, we offer the option to remain seated,” says Kat. 

This adaptability ensures that yoga is accessible and beneficial for everyone, regardless of their physical abilities.

Yoga for all levels and abilities

One of the most remarkable aspects of yoga is its inclusivity. It accommodates people of all levels and abilities, offering modifications to suit each individual’s needs. Elderly chair yoga, for instance, is a popular alternative for those with mobility issues that provides the same benefits without the need for standing poses.

Runaway Bay resident Barbara Church is a fan.

“Seated yoga is a gentle exercise that helps me with circulation, joint health, and social interaction,” she says.

Chair yoga / seated yoga

Boosting mental health

Yoga is not just about physical health; it’s also a great support for mental wellbeing too. Kay Fenton-Branson, a Runaway Bay resident and yoga enthusiast, says, “It’s the perfect activity to ensure a positive frame of mind and a reminder of the importance to keep moving.” 

The combination of physical activity, mindfulness, and social interaction that yoga offers is a powerful recipe for mental health and happiness.

Social interaction and community

The social aspect of yoga classes cannot be understated. Kat says, “At the end of each session, feeling very relaxed and calm, participants are welcome to stay to enjoy a chat over a delicious fruit platter and juice.” 

This sense of community is invaluable, offering a space for social interaction and support. 

Outdoor yoga class

Starting your yoga journey

  • Starting a yoga practice may seem daunting, but it’s easier than you might think. Here are some tips to get you started:
  • Find the right class: Look for classes specifically designed for your needs. Many yoga studios and community centres offer classes tailored to varying abilities and experience levels.
  • Listen to your body: Yoga is not about pushing your limits. It’s important to listen to your body and respect its boundaries.
  • Use props and modifications: Don’t hesitate to use props like chairs, blocks, or straps to make poses more accessible.
  • Enjoy the process: Remember, yoga is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the process of learning and growing in your practice.

Yoga offers a unique blend of physical and mental benefits, making it an ideal practice for those looking to maintain their health and strength. Its adaptability ensures that it is accessible to everyone, regardless of physical ability. Remember, yoga is not just any old form of exercise; it’s a pathway to a happier, healthier life. Look up YouTube yoga for seniors, find a class near you, or join us at a TriCare Retirement Community, for a variety of lifestyle and wellness activities, in a supporting community you’ll love.