Yoga for the Retired
 
       
A View on Yoga and its benefits on the Aging Body

 

When I turned 60 and retired I knew I needed to get more exercise, and I now had more time to exercise. I wanted to do something that would help my body move more gracefully. I wanted to sit down in a chair and get up again easily without groaning. I wanted to go for walks in the woods over uneven terrain without the fear of losing my balance and falling. I wanted to play energetically with my grandchildren. Most of all I wanted exercise that I enjoyed enough to be present in the moment and not wish I were done, to breathe deeply, and to celebrate the blessings of my life

What I didn’t want was an exercise as strenuous as running in marathons, or kick boxing, or bicycling 50 miles a day at a heart-stopping pace. I didn’t want to do anything that would endanger my knee and hip joints. I didn’t want to buy a lot of fancy equipment. So, I signed up for a yoga class. All I needed was a mat andsome loose fitting clothing.

The practice of yoga is old and started in India. If interested, you can easily find information on the internet on its history and philosophy and on its many branches and the people involved. My purpose here is just to recommend the physical aspects to older people, although the practice of yoga is excellent for all ages.

 

The positions or postures of yoga involve proper breathing while slowly doing controlled stretching of muscles and ligaments. Yoga is not considered an aerobic exercise, so don’t take yoga to lose weight. You do not compete with anyone. If a movement hurts, you stop and don’t do it. You breathe and stretch, breathe and stretch. After several weeks you will notice improvement and ease in doing most of the beginning positions. The year before I began yoga, my neck had begun to bother me and I could hear slight cracking sounds when I turned my head.  After a few months taking the yoga class two times a week, my neck stopped hurting and I had no more cracking sounds. A good web site to go to for pictures and details of the positions is: Yoga Postures 

 I would recommend taking a class in yoga before you try to do yoga on your own with a DVD. It is very beneficial to have a teacher demonstrate a move or position, and also to indicate when you should inhale and exhale. While concentrating on your breathing while you are bending and stretching keeps you present in the moment. Brief periods of rest and meditation help you harness positive energy and thoughts. When the class is over you will feel rejuvenated and more self –confident. What can be better than that?

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