There are so many types of Yoga teacher training intensives to choose from and there are so many different groups to teach. Young teachers may think everyone over 60 should be in a chair based class. Experienced teachers know that balance, mobility and flexibility are the factors that decide who uses a chair and who uses a mat.
The baby boom generation was set out to change the world in the 1960s, and celebrities like the Beatles introduced many young people to Yoga. Today, that same generation is entering their late 50s and 60s, and they are not ready to settle down in rocking chairs. Once more, they are returning to Yoga in an effort to age gracefully and stay healthy.
We all know that Yoga’s goal is to balance our mental, physical and spiritual selves. It can also provide social support and community. Classes for people over 60 may be a little gentler, but that doesn’t mean seniors can’t enjoy the benefits of Yoga training.
Physical and Mental Benefits
• Better balance and mobility
• Relaxed skeletomuscular system
• Stronger muscles and joints
• More awareness of the five senses
• Less susceptibility to bone fractures
• Improved circulation and digestion
• Stronger immune system
• Lower blood pressure and heart rate
• Stronger organs and few chronic illnesses
• Increased mental acuity
• Reduced pain
Spiritual and Emotional Benefits
• Sense of community
• Feeling of relaxation; peace
• More confidence and self-esteem
• Feeling of having more control over aging
• Greater awareness
• Greater sense of purpose
• More positive outlook; less anxiety and depression
• Sense of belonging to something larger
Asana, Pranayama, and Meditation
• Based on individual needs, poses can be adapted or done with the aid of props. A Yoga teacher who knows about anatomy and aging can design a safe routine. By strengthening muscles and improving flexibility, Yogic exercises can eliminate many aches and pains.
• While ailments like hypertension may rule out some techniques, gentle breathing exercises can relax muscles, release toxins and bring fresh oxygen into the bloodstream, increasing energy and lowering anxiety.
• Meditation usually takes place while lying in Corpse Pose at the end of a Yoga training session, but it can be practiced in many ways in any time of the day. Poses and breathing first make it easier to meditate, however.
Gentle or Restorative Yoga classes are taught in studios and community centers in most cities, and chair Yoga is a good option for people with physical limitation or limited mobility. Finding the right class may take a little time, but it will be worth it in the end.
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