Meditation special: yoga for seniors
Joints, bones, muscles… Over time, the body naturally declines, and seniors often lock themselves away in pain and a sedentary lifestyle, leading to isolation and the risk of loss of autonomy and the first signs of depression.
According to statistics, 69% of our Montreal seniors do not engage in enough physical activity to maintain their health.
Our ability to age well depends on many parameters, from adopting healthy eating habits to limiting exposure to certain harmful factors. Regular moderate physical exercise is a major asset for maintaining or regaining physical, mental and social well-being.
We suggest meditation. Confirmed by numerous studies, the practice of yoga among the elderly is a surprisingly beneficial experience for seniors’ health.
What is yoga?
Originating in India, yoga is an ancient discipline for body and mind. It is a practice of meditation and mental concentration in harmony with the breath. There are different styles of yoga, from the gentlest (hatha yoga) to the most intense (bikram yoga).
Hatha yoga is ideal for older people, as it is based on a series of postures (asanas) combined with breath control, which gently mobilize the body and encourage deep concentration.
Seniors’ yoga sessions are usually held in a group and guided by a qualified teacher, who is authorized to give classes to seniors, particularly in retirement homes. Exercises are adapted to the physical condition of older students (sitting, standing or lying on the floor).
What are the benefits of yoga for the elderly?
A sedentary lifestyle reinforces the vicious circle of age-related functional and cognitive changes (memory…).
Physically, seniors lose flexibility and muscular strength, increasing the risk of falls and a gradual loss of autonomy in the gestures of daily life.
On a psychological level, negative emotions and depression in the elderly can lead to a significant immune deficiency.
A source of physical and mental well-being, yoga is a practice now highly prized by Western science, which confirms the virtues of yoga for the elderly. Adapted to each person’s age and health, the regular practice of yoga for the elderly considerably improves their quality of life in a number of ways:
- The balance
- Flexibility, suppleness and coordination of movements
- Memory, concentration and attention
- Stress, anxiety
- Seasonal depression
- Sleep disorders
- Social problems (loneliness, temporary depression)
- Cardiovascular risk
- Arthritis, etc.
How can yoga help you stay healthy?
In a club, in a retirement home, or in private lessons for one or two sessions a week, yoga is a gentle practice that suits everyone, even the most sedentary.
Then, to keep fit, prevent the effects of aging and enrich your social life, active leisure activities are an excellent way of stimulating a senior’s autonomy, and are given pride of place at our montreal retirement home.
Meditation reduces loneliness in the elderly
The social isolation of the elderly has a direct impact on their well-being and quality of life, when the spiral of loneliness sets in, sometimes accompanied by seasonal depression.
Taking the path of contemplation is a truly therapeutic approach. One can adjust one’s practice to meet the needs of the day or the present moment of one’s existence. In addition, soothing breathing techniques help to rebalance the nervous system, calm the mind and dissolve anxiety, without being overwhelmed by the emotions of the moment.
Many associations and retirement homes offer relaxation workshops for seniors, enabling them to rediscover the pleasures of a group activity.
Exercise is good for your health
The practice of yoga in old age is an art that improves and develops physical, neurological and psychological faculties.
Physical activity is an oxygen bubble for the body and the spirit, and can be used at any age and in any condition to prevent the effects of aging.
Attentive to this quest for well-being for its residents, Manoir Gouin, a retirement home in Montreal, offers a wide variety of activities adapted to seniors.
Update: June 4, 2020