Updated: Jan 19
Our culture is still lagging in providing alternatives to the changing needs and conditions of our aging population. Even the educated and professional are left to fend for themselves after they have been retired from the so called active working life. Being useful to oneself, and to the others around is a basic psychological need of human beings irrespective of age, or stage of life. Today, employers are least bothered, neither legally bound to help guide the retirees have a psychologically, and economically fulfilling lives in their advanced years. Yoga for seniors as taught at our yoga center, Shahzadpur, near Chandigarh, can really benefit them in these aspects.
Eventual breakdown of joint families, childless couples, and single seniors are left to dabble in the mostly youth oriented societal set up all on their own. Alienated, a feeling of left out seeps into their psyche as they silently observe the youth sprinting their way around their lives much easily. This roils the ocean of outwardly seeming calmness in their lives from which the poison of regret up wells, making them critical and hostile to the ways of the youth, further stretching the hiatus of any possible understanding between the two generations.
Along with this the elderly are simultaneously pummeled by the age related reducing energy levels within the body, all this is enough to overwhelm the hardest of the personalities, and turning them into negative thinkers. As they begin to realize the loss of the advantages of youth, active life and vigor, frustration and aggression sets in. if this aggravating aggression is suppressed it can pop up as symptoms of some psychosomatic disorder like depression. The mind begins to fill with feelings of helplessness, insecurity, over dependence on others, and constant need for reassurance from the young that they will be taken care of in need.
This mental state manifests itself as loss of weight, sudden greying of hair, and fear of death at the physical level among the ageing. The benefits which the yoga for seniors provide help heal almost all the mental, physical states accompanied with old age.
What Old Age means for the physical body?
The network of nerves which forms the nervous system loses its density by 20 % beginning from age thirty to age ninety. This happens due to the reduced rate of formation of newer neurons forming the nerve threads which run across the body systems. The number of living cells present within the cerebral cortex of the brain are also reduced within the same age span. With age, as the brain loses the capacity to form newer neurons their is a proportionate loss to the memory function of the individual.
Vision wise their is a decrease in the ability of the individual to focus on the objects which are either too near or too far from the eye. This loss in the visual accommodation is due to the weakening of the ciliary muscle in the eye, and the decreasing flexibility of the lens. The count of blood forming stem cells fall with age which leads to anemia and body's reduced ability to recover from blood loss.
Body tissue undergoes change with advancing age: the number of nephron cells , which act a liquid filters, within the kidneys goes down , the size of the thymus gland shrinks, hormone secretion cells of the endocrine glands like thyroid and pancreas reduce in number impacting their overall output. The low output of thyroxine from the thyroid glands slows the metabolism of the body, diabetes is a condition which occurs due to the reduced output of pancreatic hormones.
In senior years, the cardiovascular system begins to loose muscle fiber which is responsible for diminishing the blood pumping capacity of the heart to 50 % between 20 years and 90 years of age. Blood vessels loose elasticity with age which results in arteriosclerosis; hardening of the arteries. The systolic, contraction part of the heart beat, activity increases with age over systolic, relaxation part of the heart beat, which spikes up the over all blood pressure. Obesity caused by the reduced metabolic rate also contributes to the increased blood pressure.
The digestive system gets impaired due to the loss of teeth, caused by neglect than age, as one advances towards the senior years. Generally, after reaching the age of 65 years people loose the capacity to hear sounds with frequencies less than ten thousand cycles per second. Such people face difficulty in understanding conversations happening in groups , and recognizing individuals by their voice.
Less amount of collagen & elastin, proteins responsible for maintaining the structure of the skin, is produced in the skin, the skin begins to detach itself from the underlying tissues, this causes wrinkles. Vital capacity of lungs, total amount of air that can be held int he lungs or expelled from the lungs after inhaling the maximum possible quantity, reduces with age, rather the residual air, amount of air that remains within the lungs after an exhalation, increases.
This happens because with age the expansion and contraction ability of the structure of the rib cage goes down along with the weakening of the respiratory muscles. Loss of elastic & collagen also contributes to the loss of elasticity of the lungs. The condition of emphysems, abnormal distension of the alveoli with air, is common between ages of 45 and 65 years. Hatha Yoga benefits the seniors in all the mentioned areas related to the mental as well as the physical health.
Benefits yoga Center Shahzadpur can offer for the Seniors
At our Yoga Center at Shahzadpur, near Chandigarh, we have modified various yoga techniques as per the requirements and challenge faced by our senior clients who want to turn their lives towards happiness by reaping the myriad benefits of yoga to their fullest. We customize every technique for the seniors by keeping in mind the unique needs of the ageing individuals: stiffness in the body, hardening joints, lack of mobility in certain areas of the body, lack of energy, and any ailments in case present.
We at our yoga center at Shahzadpur recommend simple daily yoga routines, to our senior aspirants of a healthy, productive life, which are based on verified clinical studies, and common sense. Yoga is one of the safest (mildest) form of fitness program for the elderly.
Kriyas - After a sound sleep of 6-7 hours the first half an hour can be utilized for prayers or some form of meditation as meditating regularly has immense benefits. This effort to connect to the higher reality, or God, has been found to create inner stability and calm, and provides a sense of meaning and direction to each day. Post which one can the g through the morning toilet regime, after which one can do, once or twice a week, some simple yoga kriyas or purification practices like Jalneti, Kapalbhati, and some times Vamandhauti can help keep the internal organs in good working condition.
Asana - These practices can be added to daily routine as they are good for senior health. The skeletal system along with its muscles, tendons, and joints atrophy with time, age. Simple asana, which form a part of hatha yoga, which involve less strenuous stretch can be practiced for at least 20 minutes in the morning, and again in the evening, when the body is less stiff, for maintaining the optimal flexibility of the body. If left unattended the progressing stiffness can leads to debilitating rheumatism, arthritis later on. Asana practice must be done with proper attention to the attitude, action and alignment aspects as laid down by yoga literature of the yore, also, the general principles of alignment in yoga must be aptly applied for receiving the intended benefits.
Moreover, asana have been proved to have a direct impact on the state and health of the mind. If practiced the correct way under the guidance of qualified yoga teacher, yoga poses can help keep the mind energized with positive thinking energy. This prevents the age related loss of the neurons in the brain. Even the medical science stakes claim to the fact that an energized brain is a precursor to a longer life.
We have developed our own Chair Yoga routine for the seniors to benefit from the milder versions of the complex asana. Doing modified asana with the help of chair help safely improve the strength and flexibility of the elderly. Seniors can benefit more if they would follow the general guidelines for doing asana the right way.
Yogic Diet - It a known fact that the body stops growing after it has attained the age of 25 years, thus less food is required for its healthy functioning from there on. Thus we at our yoga center, Shahzadpur, near Chandigarh, recommend diet which is sattvic in nature, simple and easy to digest. One must eat only half stomach full. We educate our students on the details of what is healthy eating? and the right way to eat.
All this can be easily learnt at our regular yoga classes which are held at our yoga center at Shahzdpur, located near Chandigarh. Our techniques of teaching yoga online also have been found very effective for the seniors in particular. We also conduct regular yoga camps on all weekends related to various medical conditions, diseases, meditation -concentration - the details of are available on our Yoga Retreat near Chandigarh section on this website. Yoga therapy is a complex process which must be first learnt from competent teachers before one can gain proficiency to start practicing the techniques at home on one's own.
We also recommend Karma Yoga to our students as a means to develop the sense of being useful to others. Karma Yoga stands for action done without any expectation of the returns. It can give unbridled joy, balance of mind, and help increase self worth of the practitioner.
Benefits of Pranayama Yoga for Seniors
The Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali, composed of eight consequent steps, is meant to
uplift the individual soul to the level of purity where it can merge with the universal soul - the Purusha - in the state of Samadhi. The fourth step in this sequence of steps is the Pranayama ( Control of the breath) which falls after Asana, the third step of the eight fold path. The main purpose of the asana is to train the muscles to work with highest efficiency with the expenditure of minimum energy, the prana.
Pranayama has a special place in improving senior health as they enable the elderly to breathe more freely and deeply. A fuller and deep breath enhances the efficiency of the respiratory and cardiac systems. This makes the elderly feel fit, fresh, and elated. Apart from improving the health of the respiratory apparatus pranayamas benefit by uplifting the practitioner's mental and physical efficiencies as well.
We at our Yoga center in Shahzadpur, near Chandigarh, advocate the practice of pranayamas in the early morning, though asana - exercise -can be done at any time of the day. We teach the best postures, recommended by yoga, for the practice of paranayams: Padmasana , Sukhasana, or Sidhasana. These postures fulfill the requirement of keeping the spine and head vertically straight, and the eyes closed for extracting maximum benefits from doing pranayamas.
Pranayamas must be done at a calm and peaceful place, the ambience at our yoga center at Shahzadpur, near Chandigarh is perfect for the same. An untrained Mind while breathing normally follows a three step rhythm; inhalation, exhalation , and pause. With the practice of pranayama we train the mind to breathe with the proper natural breathing rhythm of four stages: Puraka ( Inhalation) - Kumbhaka ( Retention)-- Rechaka ( Exhalation ) - Sunyaka ( suspension of breath).
We give great stress on the tone of the diaphragm and the involvement of the pelvic floor while doing the pranayamas. Many are unaware of role of pelvis beyond supporting the thoracic and abdominal viscera. Without the involvement of the pelvic floor, or the pelvic diaphragm as it is also called, complete exhalation, no residual air left behind in the lungs, is ever possible. Pranayama is not merely inhaling of oxygen and exhalation of carbondioxide, instead it is aimed at manipulating the intrapulmonic, intrathoracic , and abdominal pressures in order to gain control over the mechanisms that govern the act of respiration.
We recommend certain rules to be followed during the practice of pranayama for extracting maximum benefits from doing them. Dangers of doing pranayama unmethodically and unsystematically are clearly drawn attention to in our yoga classes held at our yoga center at Shahzadpur. Regular practice of pranayama at our yoga center has been found to substantially enhance the vital capacity of lungs of the practitioners. Apart from the improvement of the respiratory functions, practice of pranayama has also shown the improvement in the grip strength.
Additional benefits yoga for older people can offer
Orthopaedic issues like Sciatica, the pain caused by the pinching of the sciatica nerve by the spinal vertebrae in the lower back region, are common in old age. Their are no standard tests available today for diagnosing sciatica specifically. We recommend bed rest and general stretching as customized for seniors from our yoga techniques for relieving sciatica program. The persons suffering from this radiating pain are also taught to walk, work, sit, bend, sleep, and lift the right way.
We recommend least possible use of sugar in the diet of the elderly. Intake of sugar has a clear link with the accelerated ageing process and cataract. Sugar is metabolized into glucose, its more use able form to the body, access of which in the blood stream can cause diabetes. Anyways, even if we avoid proper sugar intake the whole of carbon dioxide, 50% of proteins and 10 % of fat taken in one's diet end up as sugar, or glucose in the blood stream. We recommend a balanced diet with proper interspersing of water, minerals , and all the essential vitamins as these three dietary ingredients do not turn into sugar during digestion.
One of the common diseases of old age related loss of neuron density in the brain is the Parkinsons disease. We encourage, and aid our seniors to keep their life busy and active, Neurons loss has been recorded to be lesser in a well exercised brain than otherwise. Yoga for seniors benefit by keeping the body weight, and blood pressure low which helps boost the health of the brain. Another of the cause of Parkinsons disease is prevalence of the modern world created chemicals in the diet. Our yoga center at Shahzadpur grows it own , as well as advocate eating organic food in order to do away with the possibility of Parkinsons disease taking hold via this route.
Feelings of self control and self determination are central to the over all health of the seniors, these two aspects are the first casualties of a personality whose body is gradually weakening with age. People with high degree of control feel more potent at keeping themselves healthy and happy by varying their life styles as and when required than the one's who have weak determination. Being in self control also cuts off unnecessary stress, which can be very harmful in old age, from impaling the person as a strong sense of determination can shut the mental doors to any external stressors.
We also train our Seniors in being more assertive and how to say " NO" where they don't want to sat "yes". The bone mass in humans begins to reduce after the age of 35 years. Loss of bone mass can cause fractures, disfigurement, and pain in the joints. Ingesting adequate amounts of calcium and proper exercise has been known to counter this age related loss of bone mass in older people. Our Yoga techniques for preventing and curing Osteoporosis, which form a essential part of our yoga for seniors immensely benefit their lives in advanced years.
Senior years not to be dreaded for they being notoriously connected to diseases, pain, and the impending death. Yoga for seniors can benefit by doing away with a lot of these concerns and helping the older people to lead a happy and fulfilling life till their last breath. Our Yoga Center st Shahzadpur train our students on healthy living, yoga diet, Yoga techniques like asana, pranayama, and kriyas for helping them preserve their bodies as they were in youth for a pain free elder years.