We have a guest blogger this week. Mr. Harry Cline. Mr Cline is a caregiver who also is the creator of NewCaregiver.org and author of the upcoming book, The A-Z Home Care Handbook: Health Management How-Tos for Senior Caregivers.
As a retired nursing home administrator, father of three, and caregiver to his ninety-year-old uncle, Harry knows how challenging and rewarding caregiving can be. He also understands that caregiving is often overwhelming for those just starting out. He created his website and is writing his new book to offer new caregivers everywhere help and support.
Thank you Harry, for being willing to share with our readers your sage advice on Yoga and how it can benefit our health, not only throughout our lives, but especially for our Seniors:
“According to the AARP, the number of people over the age of 50 who are practicing yoga has gone up to 14 million. That’s a huge leap from 4 million in 2012. More seniors than ever are embracing yoga as a lifestyle choice, with many also practicing meditation for relaxation and focus. The combination of yoga and meditation is an extremely powerful one, boosting both physical and mental health in various interconnected ways. If you are still to be convinced, we have compiled the top five reasons you should be practicing yoga and meditation as a senior.
It’s Good For You
The health benefits of yoga and meditation are extensive and well-documented. On a physical level, yoga improves balance, flexibility, and strength, making it a very well-rounded workout for seniors suffering from weakened joints, bones, and muscles. In terms of mental health, both yoga and meditation have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and they can also improve focus and concentration.
It’s Open to All Levels
Both yoga and meditation are extremely accessible for all levels. There is a common misconception that yoga is only for slim, supple, and bendy young people, but it is actually one of the easiest forms of exercise for seniors. In fact, even simple stretches have been proven to ease physical pain and reduce stress. So don’t hesitate to start off very gently, and build up to more complicated poses. The risk of injury is minimal if you follow some key advice.
As for meditation, many people try it once, fail to focus their mind, and assume it’s not for them. It’s important to realize that it’s a practice, and that no one gets it perfect the first time. The benefits of meditation are available to everyone, you just have to give it some time.
You Can Practice at Home
At-home yoga is a huge market and a great option for people who feel self-conscious about trying it in public. The biggest name in the business is the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene, which has thousands of free routines, including some gentle ones specifically designed for seniors. Meditation apps are also very popular these days, allowing you to meditate anywhere, anytime. There are quite a few to choose from, so check online reviews to find the one for you.
You Can Do It with Company
If you are nervous about starting yoga or meditation by yourself, you can always recruit a friend or family member to do it with you. Both practices are individual and involve focusing on your own body, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious. And if your human friends aren’t available, why about the furry ones? There are many ways to incorporate your dog into your yoga routine, which brings an element of levity and companionship to the practice.
It Can Help You Meet New People
Finally, yoga and meditation offer amazing opportunities to make new friends. With many seniors struggling to socialize, any activity that gets you out of the house and interacting with new people is a positive one. Unless you feel quite confident in your practice, it’s best to look for a senior yoga or gentle yoga class, as some standard yoga classes can get quite intense. If in doubt, ask the instructor ahead of time whether they feel the class would be appropriate for you.
You don’t have to worry about fitness levels for meditation, only about which style of meditation works best for you. Most meditation centers offer a few options, so try a couple out before deciding on one. Many yoga studios also offer meditation classes so you can group your sessions depending on the schedule.
As yoga and meditation have “gone mainstream,” they have increasingly been distanced from their origins as spiritual practices. This is a shame, as this ignores their history and legacy, which is over a thousand years old. However, the increasing popularity of both yoga and meditation do have one significant benefit, which is that more people of all ages and walks of life are getting involved. Now is the best time to get started, especially if you are an older adult.