Benefits of Yoga for Older Adult – Questions and Answers

Benefits of Yoga for Older Adults Q & A

1. Q: Why is yoga important for me? I am feeling stiff and tired.

A: An increasing number of Americans, and this includes a broader age group including older adults, are turning to yoga not only for exercise and relaxation, but also for non-surgical, non-medicinal relief of the bone, joint and muscle-related pain that tens of millions suffer on a daily basis. Considered by some as the secret ‘fountain of youth’– Yoga, when practiced with an appropriate instructor addresses muscle strain, torn ligaments, or injuries that are more serious. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) believes the rewards of basic yoga outweigh the potential physical risks as long as participants heed caution and perform the exercise in moderation, according to their individual flexibility level. Yoga-To-You offers careful, gentle chair yoga for older adults that is therapeutic and healing.

2. Q: What is “chair yoga”?

A: The chair replaces the yoga mat. Sometimes two. “Chair yoga” is a modified form of yoga for which the students sit in chairs and the poses are modified or duplicate any yoga pose typically done on the floor, but it’s easier on those less limber muscles. MostChair Yoga classes do not use a Yoga mat, but the main prop used is a chair. This helps with balancing poses, and most common Yoga postures can be modified for the chair. The instructors teach students how to always use proper form. Slow controlled movements are often best. The chair is there for safety. Many older adults are willing to try chair yoga because they know they are not going to be hurt.

3. Q: I have special physical conditions, injuries, and other health issues that
might affect my yoga experience. What can I expect from a yoga class for
older adults. I have much pain. What can I tell the instructor?

A: The teacher will ask you about your physical injuries, how much pain you have, or what specific ailments you may be facing. Some instructors find out what your current students want is by creating and asking students to fill out survey forms. Your teacher will design the practice to address your specific health issues. One student said, “I saw gradual improvements in my health as I practiced chair yoga daily for about five years after being diagnosed with arthritis. It’s a gentle way of teaching people to experience it as best as they can, which is very encouraging.” Experts say most exercise-related injuries are preventable with the right precautions. Proper diet and fluid intake is crucial.Don’t work out on an empty stomach. Try to eat a small meal beforehand. Make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after activity, especially in hot weather. You are encouraged to talk to your teacher about your personal health needs, especially if you have any pre-existing condition that may make exercise difficult for you.

Allow time for your body to recover and adapt to activity, especially if trying something new. “Relative rest,” will help you avoid overdoing it.

4.Q: How are Chair yoga teachers different than regular yoga teachers?

A: Chair yoga instructors are expected to know about all of the ailments that are common to this demographic, as well as anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, on a steady basis. Continuing education is a very important part of a Chair Yoga teacher’s job.

5. Q: I do not know many people my age who do yoga?

A: An estimated 13.4 million Americans practice yoga or other mind-body exercises such as yoga or tai chi, according to a 2003 survey by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Of those, an estimated 1.6 million were 55 or older.

Those numbers are expected to rise, as increasing numbers of older adults join health clubs and growing numbers of senior centers that offer more mind-body exercises such as yoga in their programs.

One teacher noted, “This is exactly what happened to me with Chair Yoga. When I received a call from a local senior center for Yoga classes, about six years ago, I had no idea it would become so popular. That led to filling up my morning Yoga class schedule. Later, I trained Yoga instructors, in my area, to address a need that is far beyond my ability to fulfill. The fact is, more Chair Yoga teachers are needed right now.

6. Q: I feel isolated at home, living alone. I would like to get some social interaction with others my age and do yoga in a class. Do you offer that?

A: Yoga-To-You is a premier mobile yoga service that is offered at various places where older adults either reside or go to for their exercise. Many of our instructors teach yoga to older adult members at health clubs, cancer centers, and assisted living sites. WhatYoga-To-You does is offer a class at a site and make provisions for non residents to take our classes on a “walk-in” basis or invite clients to join their classes.

7. Q: How much does a class cost?

A: This depends upon whether you seek a private class in the comfort of your own home, which can cost more than $100 to a class on a walk-in basis for $5.00. Classes that are offered in institutional settings are free. Yoga-To-You arrange with your place of residence.

8. Q: How many times a week should, I take yoga?

A: Yoga classes seek to strike a balanced between balance exercise, core strength training and flexibility exercises. Another part of yoga also focuses on breathing and meditation. We highly recommend that every students practice yoga no less than twice a week. Remember, rapidly increasing activity can lead to injuries. When you want to increase your activity, do not add more than 10 percent per week. For example, if you usually practice yoga 20 minutes a day but want to double up and do 40 minute workouts, build up to that level slowly by increasing your workouts by 10 percent a week instead of trying to double the time you practice yoga.

9. Q: Are there more than just physical benefits from yoga?

A: The older adult students say chair yoga increases their strength, flexibility, and concentration. Other students say, “It keeps me motivated. It helps me want to go further and do more.” It is true that some students say, “It was more challenging than I expected.” The student went on, “I feel that between yoga, good nutrition and other things I’ve done in my life, I’ve beat the odds compared with many people stricken with my disease, arthritis.”

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